Howard County Has a New Sheriff in Town

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Gov. Larry Hogan has picked former Howard County police chief Bill McMahon as his replacement for James Fitzgerald.

McMahon is filling the shoes of an embattled former sheriff who was pushed to resign this fall after he was accused in a report by the county’s Office of Human Rights of racist, sexist and retaliatory behavior in his department. After being pressed by county leaders, state legislators, Maryland congressmen and Gov. Hogan, Fitzgerald agreed to step down on Oct. 11.

Hogan was in charge of appointing a replacement, as Fitzgerald was an elected official. Today, he announced McMahon as his choice. The new sheriff previously led the Howard County Police Department from 2006 to 2014. According to the governor’s office, programs implemented during McMahon’s tenure helped reduce most crime categories, boosted traffic and officer safety and helped police better address domestic violence, mental health issues, child abuse and other issues.

The governor gave this statement about his pick: “Bill McMahon’s distinguished service and extensive law enforcement experience make him the best choice to serve and protect the citizens of Howard County. Bill has a keen understanding of law enforcement at every level, and I am confident he will be a strong leader for Howard County. I offer him my sincere congratulations.”

County Executive Allan Kittleman appreciated Gov. Hogan’s pick. “I applaud the Governor for moving quickly with this appointment and making such an appropriate and thoughtful choice,” said Kittleman in a statement. “Bill McMahon has demonstrated he has the temperament, dedication and leadership qualities to lead the Sheriff’s Office and will help restore confidence to both that Office and the residents of Howard County.”

McMahon is currently serving as acting executive director of the Maryland Police & Correctional Training Commissions and the director of the commissions’ Leadership Development Institute. He’ll take over for Fitzgerald to finish out the next two years of his term.

“As a 30-year resident of the county, I am deeply committed to upholding our laws and working to ensure the safety of all citizens of our county and our great state,” said McMahon in a statement.

Ethan McLeod
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