Baltimore County News
Baltimore County now storing all rape specimen kits indefinitely
Following an announcement on Monday that effective immediately Baltimore County would store all rape specimen kits indefinitely, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz issued a statement today supporting Attorney General Brian Frosh’s call to create uniform state guidelines in handling these kits:
“While Baltimore County announced its change in policy yesterday, I strongly support the Attorney General’s effort to standardize state practices and procedures regarding the handling rape specimen kits, particularly in the areas of required testing and creating a fixed time for the retention of kits. It is clear that victims of sexual assault need a more consistent application of the law.”
Promotions Accompany Reorganization of Operations Bureau
Police Chief Jim Johnson has promoted two new colonels, one to supervise the Criminal Investigations Bureau and another to supervise the Operations Bureau.
The promotions accompany a reorganization of the Police Department's existing Operations Bureau, currently comprising Patrol, the Criminal Investigations Division and Support Operations, an 1,800-member bureau. The new structure approved last week by Chief Johnson will produce two commands of more manageable size, a change designed to improve efficiency and quality of supervision.
Evan M. Cohen, Criminal Investigations Bureau
Evan M. Cohen, 56, will serve as the Colonel in charge of the Criminal Investigations Bureau, supervising the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD) sections that investigate the most serious crimes. Cohen currently serves as the Major in charge of CID, a command to which he was appointed in 2012. A 33-year veteran of BCoPD, his career includes extensive command experience in both Patrol and Operations, as well as Internal Affairs and Human Resources.
Alexander D. Jones, Operations Bureau
Alexander D. Jones, 46, will serve as the Colonel in charge of the Operations Bureau, supervising the 10 precincts, patrol operations and all support operations. A 20-year BCoPD member, Jones currently serves as Major in charge of the Patrol Division, a command to which he was appointed in 2011. Jones has spent his career in Operations and Patrol.
Jones becomes the highest-ranking minority member in BCoPD and the second African American to hold the rank of Colonel, the second-highest rank in the police hierarchy.
Experience and Diversity
"We are fortunate in Baltimore County to have the opportunity to promote commanders of such experience and integrity," said Chief Johnson.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz expressed confidence in Cohen and Jones as leaders and noted that the promotions mark another step in the County's commitment to diversity at all ranks of its public safety agencies. "These promotions are an important move toward a police department that reflects and understands its citizenry."
Some Categories Have Fallen to 1980s Levels
The official statistics for 2014 show a 7.2 percent reduction in overall crime in Baltimore County, with a decline in almost every category of violent crime.
Police Chief Jim Johnson, along with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, announced this latest crime data at a press briefing this morning in Towson. (BCoPD releases crime statistics that have been certified as accurate under the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program. BCoPD uses the previous five-year average as a benchmark for comparison.)
“Our police department has surpassed my expectations when it comes to crime reduction,” said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Some categories of crime have fallen to levels not seen since the 1980s.”
Like overall crime, Part I Crime – which includes the most serious types of violent and property crime – decreased by 7.2 percent relative to the previous five-year average. All precincts saw a reduction in Part I Crime, with Essex experiencing the greatest decrease of 11.9 percent.
Part I Violent Crime – homicide, rape, robbery and aggravated assault – fell by 6.1 percent overall. Most notably, an 11.3 percent decrease was recorded in cases of aggravated assault. Aggravated assaults are the most serious types of assaults, often involving a weapon and often a barometer of a community’s overall safety.
All precincts experienced a decrease in Part I Property Crime, with the total decline recorded at 7.4 percent. This includes a 15.8 percent decrease in burglaries and a 17.1 decrease in motor vehicle theft.
Total crime – including total Part 1 and 2 Crime – also declined compared to the previous calendar year, 2013.
A Strategic Approach
Chief Johnson attributed the overall decline in crime largely to a strategic approach by Baltimore County Police that involves constant monitoring of crime trends and deciding how best to allocate resources.
“The other crucial factors,” Johnson said, “are the support of the County Executive in making sure resources are available and, of course, the talent and dedication of our detectives, patrol officers and community outreach officers.”