Skip Navigation

Image of the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse

Baltimore County News

Stay informed of what's happening in Baltimore County.
Keyword: police

Plan includes acceleration of body camera implementation, independent review of sexual assault procedures, and task force to study cultural-competency training, de-escalation policies

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this morning announced a Police Action Plan that will address policies and practices of the Baltimore County Police Department:

Acceleration of the County’s body camera program

The County’s implementation of police body cameras began this past July.  Currently 128 officers are wearing cameras in each of our precincts, with the original goal of full implementation by December 2018.  Effective immediately, the County will increase overtime expense to triple the rate of training, so that by September 2017, 1,435 police officers will be equipped with body cameras in Baltimore County.

Independent review of the police department’s Sexual Assault policies and procedures

Baltimore County has requested the Maryland Coalition against Sexual Assault (MCASA) and Judge Barbara Howe to conduct an independent review of the County’s response to sexual assault allegations and make recommendations.  As part of their analysis, they will review three years of sexual assault investigations that did not lead to prosecution.

“MCASA looks forward to working with Baltimore County to review existing cases as well as policies and practices in the area of sexual assault,” said Lisae C. Jordan, Executive Director of the Maryland Coalition against Sexual Assault. “We are particularly interested in working to strengthen the County’s Sexual Assault Response Team (SART) which is an essential component of effective practices in this area. A strong SART is essential to ensuring that all sexual assault survivors in the County receive an expert, trauma-informed, and respectful response."

“I thank County Executive Kamenetz for the opportunity to review prior cases as well as Baltimore County’s response to sexual assault crimes,” said retired Judge Barbara Howe. “As a judge for thirty-one years, I know how complex these cases can be and how important it is that victims be treated with dignity and respect throughout the entire process.”

Immediate change to sexual assault investigatory policy

As a result of internal reviews by the County Attorney and the State’s Attorney, Police Chief Johnson has implemented an immediate policy change.  While officers on the street always confer with specialized detectives in the sexual assault unit while investigating these crimes, effective immediately every individual reporting a 2nd degree assault charge, as well as the suspect, will be personally interviewed by a detective in the sex crime unit.

Task Force to examine cultural-competency training, de-escalation strategies, and responses to citizens with behavioral health issues

The County Executive announced that a task force comprised of Police Chief Jim Johnson, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Baltimore County’s Director of the Department of Health and Human Services and The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center will collaborate to explore the police department’s de-escalation training options, examine officers’ responses to citizens with behavioral health issues, and also review cultural-competency training.  

“Baltimore County has already demonstrated its commitment to appropriately responding to people with behavioral health needs, including advancing the pairing of mental health professionals with police officers to help navigate those delicate interactions,” said Suzanne Brown-McBride, deputy director of the CSG Justice Center. “Initiating this comprehensive task force review is further evidence of the county’s dedication to improving its approach, and we look forward to working with Baltimore County over the next year to review its policies and ultimately help enhance how police officers respond to people with behavioral health needs.”

“This is a forward-thinking agency, and we welcome the opportunity to partner with academic experts. Every police department can benefit from fresh perspectives about ways to enhance law enforcement policies and practices. I’m confident this comprehensive review will prove to be very valuable,” stated Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson.

“I am pleased that our County is taking strides to address issues where the paths of public safety and public health meet,” said Director of the Department of Health and Human Services, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch. “At the core of helping anyone who suffers from substance use or a mental health condition is understanding that these are diseases, and then providing adequate training for those who may encounter persons with them.”

"I have the utmost confidence in the Baltimore County Police Department, but it is always helpful to have someone from outside an organization come in with a fresh set of eyes to take a look at how you do business,” said Baltimore County Council Chair Vicki Almond. ”I look forward to the results of these reviews, and am very pleased to see the County Executive accelerating the implementation of the expanded body camera program.”

Below is the text of the County Executive’s remarks as prepared at today’s press conference:

These have been challenging times for police-community relations across the country.

Anytime a citizen or a police officer dies or is injured during a confrontation, our hearts are saddened. Our first thoughts are with the family dealing with the unthinkable. 

However, each event reinforces the need to build trust, emphasizing open communication and transparency.  Government must do all that it can to minimize situations of conflict that put our citizens and our officers in harm’s way.

I also recognize that we have an excellent police force here in Baltimore County, nationally accredited with a strong reputation, record-low crime rates, with officers carefully hired, well-trained, and well-led. In fact, we have worked hard over the last five years to increase the diversity of our rank and file, and of our command staff, to ensure that our police force reflects the full quality of the county residents that they are sworn to serve.

We also give our police officers the latest tools and technology to do their job even better. 

But a great police department never rests on its laurels.  It continually adjusts, and strives to improve, using past experiences as an opportunity to be even better.  That is the expectation I have given this department, and this County government.

With that in mind, today I announce the following actions:

1. Baltimore County will accelerate the implementation of its body camera program.

One year ago, I announced implementation of a police body-worn camera program with the strong belief that it would improve the level of communication between citizens and police. 

We began to deploy police body cameras this past July, training 10 officers a week. We currently have 128 officers wearing cameras in each of our precincts, with the original goal of full implementation by December 2018. 

Effective immediately, we will increase our overtime expense to triple the rate of training, so that by September 2017,

1,435 police officers will be equipped with body cameras in Baltimore County. 

I remain confident that body cameras will make our communities and our officers safer, and the faster implementation achieves that goal that much sooner.

2. Baltimore County will undertake an independent review of police response to Sexual Assault crimes, as well as immediately change investigatory policy. 

A recent news article examined police handling of sexual assault cases across the nation, and Baltimore County Police Department fully cooperated with the press inquiry.  While we strongly disagree with some of the specific conclusions about our department, we recognize the central thesis that our response procedures should be reviewed to identify opportunities for improvement.

We want to make sure that we are doing all that we can to be a national model in terms of our handling of these complex and sensitive cases.  I also recognize that an outside set of eyes can offer a fresh perspective.

Accordingly, I have requested that the Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault (MCASA), and retired Judge Barbara Howe, independently review policies and procedures in the area of sexual assault response, and make recommendations for further changes in our procedures.

MCASA serves all of Maryland’s jurisdictions “advocating for compassionate, accessible care for survivors of sexual crimes, and accountability for all offenders.”  It has extensive experience advocating law enforcement training to improve responses to sexual violence.  Judge Barbara Howe has a distinguished judicial career in Baltimore County, since her first appointment in 1985.  In addition to her service as president of the Baltimore County Bar Association and the Maryland State Bar Association, she has served as Chair of the Board of Trustees for the Community College of Baltimore County, chair of the Standing Committee on Professional Discipline for the Maryland Bar Association, and past chair of the Judicial Disabilities Commission in Maryland.  She currently serves as a Circuit Court settlement judge. 

I am confident that MCASA and Judge Howe can successfully review past police practices and procedures to identify recommendations for significant improvements to police responses to sexual violence. 

In addition to this outside review, I have asked Chief Johnson to review the past three years of reported sexual assault cases that were not referred for prosecution.  In addition, I asked the County Attorney and the State’s Attorney to also conduct a review of those same files.

As a result of those reviews, we have already identified one policy change that we can, and will, make immediately.  While officers on the street always confer with specialized detectives in the sexual assault unit while investigating these crimes, and in most cases, the victims and suspects are interviewed by a detective in this unit, effective immediately, Chief Johnson has ordered that every individual reporting a 2nd degree assault charge, as well as the suspect, will be personally interviewed by a detective in the sex crime unit.

3. Baltimore County will undertake an independent review of police training procedures in areas of behavioral health response, cultural competency training, and de-escalation strategies. 

One of the most pressing issues facing police across the nation is how to de-escalate emotional encounters, particularly involving individuals with behavioral health issues.  Nearly 8 million Americans suffer from a serious mental illness that disorders their thinking, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder. On any given day, half of these patients are not taking medications or receiving other care.  About one in 10 police encounters involve someone with mental illness.  Recent reports indicate that people with mental illness are 16 times more likely than others to be killed by police.

We see this trend across the nation, and we see it right here in Baltimore County.

In order to improve the way our police respond to these situations, I have asked the non-profit Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center to work with the Baltimore County Police Department and our County Department of Health and Human Services to evaluate policies and procedures in three major areas:

Cultural competency training, De-escalation strategies, and Best practices on how to respond to individuals with behavioral health issues.

The Council of State Governments Justice Center is a national nonprofit organization that works with policymakers in local, state, and federal government to provide practical, nonpartisan review and advice based upon evidenced-based best practices to increase public safety and strengthen communities.

Presently, our County Department of Health and Human Services has in place a comprehensive effort to help those in need. They manage Crisis Response Teams that work closely with the police department. They have hotlines like 88-REACH, offer community resources and events, coordinate inpatient and outpatient treatment, and secure residential treatment for individuals.

But Dr. Branch and Chief Johnson would be the first to tell you that we can always do better. Over the next six months, they will work with the Justice Center to conduct a comprehensive review of best practices in these areas and recommend changes to current practice that will benefit the public and the police officer on the front lines.

While we are unable to publicly discuss the specific details surrounding the Korryn Gaines case due to pending litigation, it is my expectation that this comprehensive review by the Justice Center will lead to recommendations that may help us avoid these kind of tragic incidents in the future.

The success of a police department is wholly dependent upon the cooperation and the trust of the communities it serves.  We hold this principle of utmost importance in Baltimore County.  The actions we take today will promote trust, transparency and accountability, making our citizens and our officers safer.

The BCPD action plan includes accelerated body camera program, sexual assault policy review, and training review.

Latest program is part of County Executive Kamenetz’s “Operation Connect” initiative

Towson, MD – For the next three Saturdays, Baltimore County police officers will host youth basketball clinics for children, offering kids the opportunity to sharpen their basketball skills and interact with law enforcement officers in a positive setting.

“In today’s world, it is more important than ever for our young people to see the human side of law enforcement and for officers to interact with kids in a positive setting,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. “Chief Johnson and I have talked at length about finding ways to expand our existing outreach efforts and officers’ reach into the community in innovative and non-traditional ways; this is one great example. I am really delighted that Chief Johnson and his team are making Operation Connect a reality.”

The Baltimore County Police Department basketball clinics will run from 9 a.m. to noon on the following Saturdays:

  • May 7: Liberty Road Resource Center, 3505 Resource Drive, Randallstown 21133
  • May 14: Cockeysville PAL Center, 9836 Greenside Drive, Cockeysville 21030
  • May 21: Sollers Point Multi-Purpose Center, 323 Sollers Point Road, Dundalk 21222 

“This is really great news,” said 2nd District Council Woman and Council Chair Vicki Almond. “Having our police officers interact with young people all across the county is good for everyone. I am confident that these types of programs improve public safety.”

“I am delighted that County Executive Kamenetz and Chief Johnson are moving forward with efforts to connect police officers with the young people in our community. It is this type of outreach that will make our streets and communities safer,” said Vicar Reginald Price of St. Andrews Lutheran Church of Parkville.

Space is still available in the clinics and parents may download and submit the Basketball Clinic permission slip/waiver (PDF) to register. Free water bottles and snacks will be provided.

Operation Connect is an effort on the part of the county police department to engage county stakeholders in a number of outreach activities. Members of the police department are reaching out through activities like Bike with a Cop, community cleanups, meetings with faith based leaders, participation in community barbecues and many other events. The purpose of the program is to allow community members, particularly young people, to interact with police officers in a positive setting. “Our police officers are safer and our communities are safer when officers and citizens know and trust one another,” said Kamenetz.

“The County Executive has asked us to foster understanding with citizens of all backgrounds, especially those who might not be involved in traditional police community relations groups,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson. “We want our officers to reach out to the people they serve through faith communities and other groups.”

Click the image below to see Officer Don Bridges invite young people in the community to the basketball courts.


$76.7 million included for social safety net

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz presented the Fiscal Year 2017 Budget Message and State of the County Address to the County Council this morning.

The County’s General Fund Operating Budget for FY 2017 is $1.99 billion, an increase of 1.27% above the previous year. The budget is within the Council’s spending affordability guidelines.

This year’s capital budget totals more than $383 million, including $127 million in PAYGO funds. $195.7 million, or 51% of the total, is dedicated to school renovation and construction projects for Baltimore County Public Schools.

Budget holds line on taxes and maintains bond rating

  • No increase in property tax rate – 28th year in a row
  • No increase in income tax rate – 24th year in a row
  • Maintains Triple AAA bond rating – one of only 42 counties in the nation to achieve top rating from all three Wall Street agencies

Labor Agreements

  • 2% COLA for general government and Baltimore County Public Schools, CCBC and BCPL employees

Education highlights:

  • $195.7 million for school renovation and construction projects
  • $66.4 million in PAYGO (general funds and debt premium) for BCPS capital projects

$1.3 billion Schools for our Future

  • 15 new schools
  • 11 additions
  • Every Baltimore County Public School will have central air conditioning
  • Providing central air conditioning for an additional 50,563 students
  • 12,289 new seats built
  • Net gain of 7,925 new seats

New Schools

Bedford Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Berkshire Elementary, funded July 1, 2018

Catonsville Elementary, opens August 2016

Chadwick Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Colgate Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Dundalk Elementary, funded July 1, 2017

Lansdowne Elementary, opens August 2018

Lyons Mill Elementary School, opened August 2015

Mays Chapel Elementary School, opened August 2014

NE area- Joppa Road site, opens August 2018

NE area- Ridge Road site, funded July 1, 2019

Relay Elementary, opens August 2017

Summit Park Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Victory Villa Elementary, opens August 2018

Westowne Elementary, opens August 2016


Deer Park Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Fort Garrison Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Hampton Elementary School, opened August 2013

Hereford High School, opened August 2015

Padonia International Elementary, opens August 2017

Pikesville High School, complete August 2016

Red House Run Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Scotts Branch Elementary, funded July 1, 2019

Sparks Elementary School, opened August 2015

Stoneleigh Elementary School, opened August 2013

Westchester Elementary, opens August 2016

Central Air Conditioning Project Installation Schedule

August 2016

August 2017

August 2018

August 2019

Carney ES
Chase ES
Halstead ES
Hawthorne ES
Joppa View ES
Villa Cresta ES

Baltimore Highlands ES
Bear Creek ES
Chapel Hill ES
Edmondson Heights ES
Franklin MS
Grange ES
Kingsville ES
Oakleigh ES
Overlea HS
Pleasant Plains ES
Pot Spring ES

Arbutus MS
Battle Grove ES
Charlesmont ES
Church Lane ES
Dumbarton MS
Reisterstown ES
Orems ES

Dulaney HS
Franklin HS
Golden Ring MS
Kenwood HS
Lansdowne HS
Middle River MS
Patapsco Center for the Arts
Southwest Academy
Stemmers Run MS
Woodlawn HS

Other education highlights:

  • 130 new teaching positions for BCPS (below)
  • 76.6 teachers to support enrollment growth
  • 4 teachers to support foreign language in 4th grade
  • 26.6 additional ESOL teachers
  • 20 additional teachers for special education and teachers of at-risk youth
  • 2.5 positions for pre-kindergarten

"One constant during my time with Baltimore County has been the incredible support of Team BCPS partners and two of the strongest examples are County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and the members of the County Council.  Their commitment to not only our academic initiatives but also to modernizing existing schools and building new schools to accommodate our growing student population has been unwavering and deliberate.  I applaud our County's unwavering commitment to education, and I look forward to our continued collaboration on behalf of our 111,000 plus students,” said Dr. S. Dallas Dance, Baltimore County Public School Superintendent.

Budget Highlights

  • $349 million for public safety (Police, Fire, Corrections and 911) – 18% of general fund budget
  • $76.8 million to support social safety net programs to support Health and Human Services, homeless programs, support for seniors, housing opportunities and assistance to victims of domestic violence
  • $52.8 million to support culture and leisure in Baltimore County and the region
    • $32.8 million Baltimore County Public Library
    • $11 million Recreation and Parks            
    • $9 million in grants for nonprofits supporting the arts, entrepreneurship, and health and human services

Budget Description






General Fund Operating Budget (Including one-time expenditures and pending FY16 $9.75M snow removal supplemental appropriation.)






Capital Budget Highlights

  • $26.5 million for road resurfacing
  • $12.9 million for technology upgrades
  • $2.7 million to:
    • Replace turf at Catonsville High School and CCBC Essex
    • Install turf fields at Milford Mill Academy and Sparrows Point High School
    • Light an additional all-purpose field at Spring Grove
  • $1.7 million for renovation of the Health and Career Technology Center at CCBC Essex
  • $1 million for capital improvements to the Catonsville, Randallstown and Reisterstown libraries

Below are direct excerpts from the County Executive’s speech:

Role of Government

During a year of increasingly divisive politics, we ask the fundamental question: what is the role of government? Is it the narrow path of providing basic services, filling potholes, perhaps picking up the trash? Or is it broader, where government can be fiscally responsible, offer reliable and even innovative services, but also establish an ascending moral vision of our duty as fellow citizens? I believe that in Baltimore County, guided by our sound values and principles, we must pursue our responsibilities with even greater vigor. 

Responsible Fiscal Management

Fiscal responsibility is the cornerstone of any well-managed government. Once again, our proposed budget is within the County Council’s spending affordability guidelines, with no increase in the tax rates. With this budget, it will be 28 years since we last raised the property tax rate and 24 years since we last raised the income tax rate. This commitment to fiscal stewardship has earned us the coveted AAA bond rating from all three rating agencies, and we are just one of only 42 counties, out of more than 3,000 nationwide, to earn this mark of fiscal excellence. This allows us to pay the lowest interest rates possible when we borrow money. In fact, since 2010, our Triple AAA rating has saved taxpayers $38 million in interest.

The Priority of Education

We are now more than halfway through our unprecedented $1.3 billion Schools for our Future initiative, and with the passage of this budget and the funding request for the next three referenda, we will have built 15 new schools and 11 additions, adding more than 8,500 new classroom seats to accommodate future growth. 

This budget will also reduce the number of schools without central air conditioning to just 10 — down from 90 only six years ago — and those final 10 schools are on track to have central air conditioning installed by 2019, completing our mission to ensure comfortable learning environments for every single student in Baltimore County. In the near future, hot classrooms will be a thing of the past, and it would not have happened without the support of our County Council and state delegation in Annapolis. We also recognize that a responsible government plans for future enrollment growth, and over the next year, Dr. Dance and I will be working together to address our high school enrollment needs for the coming decades.

A Safe Community

Whether our loved ones are at school, work, or out and about in our neighborhoods, we want to know they are safe. Communities cannot thrive unless parents feel good about letting their children walk to the store or ride their bikes to the park. Each of us wants to wake up in the morning knowing Baltimore County is a place that promotes positive values and welcomes diverse opinion.

The crime rate in Baltimore County is at historic lows, with clearance rates exceeding both state and national standards. Our fire and medic service is one of the best in the country.  I am proud of our esteemed public safety officials, Police Chief James Johnson and Fire Chief John Hohman, both of whom are doing an outstanding job.  I thank all our public safety employees for their unwavering dedication to safeguarding our county.

The success of public safety, however, goes far beyond statistics. As leaders of the region, we must acknowledge the national conversation that is taking place about law enforcement policies and police-community relations. The past 18 months have been particularly challenging for police departments and neighborhoods in almost every state in the union.

There is no doubt that families of all backgrounds are increasingly worried when their teenagers go outside to spend time with friends. There is also no doubt that every family of a police officer worries more than ever when their loved one leaves the house to protect us on a daily basis.

With the need to protect both our citizens and our police officers, we recognized that our forward-looking county would benefit from a police body camera program to improve public safety, enhance transparency and trust, reduce complaints and make prosecutions more effective. This program, using speed camera revenue, will be initiated in every Baltimore County precinct starting July 1 and fully implemented over the next two years.

We are also strengthening our already robust outreach efforts. In addition to our longstanding partnerships with the Police Community Relations Councils and other groups, department outreach personnel are increasing their efforts to build relationships among communities that have not traditionally interacted with police.

To help emergency care reach citizens faster, our fire department placed four additional medic units in service and opened the new Towson Fire Station. We also supplied all career and volunteer firefighters with $5 million in new breathing apparatus to better protect them from the dangerous conditions they so often encounter.

We are also grateful for the service provided by our volunteer fire and EMS companies, and we are pleased to provide them with a 9.2% increase in funding. We also propose a $350,000 increase for our volunteer companies’ most successful initiative, the attended medic program, which increases citizen access to medic services at peak hours of demand.

We also recognize that if we want people to have confidence in the decisions made by our public safety personnel, our rank and file must reflect the diversity of the people that they protect. Chiefs Johnson and Hohman have done an excellent work in this endeavor. As a result, our police and fire recruit classes have averaged 40% non-white male, better reflecting an increasingly diverse Baltimore County. Our diversity is represented not only in the rank and file of our police department, but also in its highest levels of command.  And the percentage of female fire fighters in Baltimore County is among the highest in the nation. Working together with our communities, we are one county.  

A Strong Local Economy

A critical role of our county government is to grow jobs and strengthen our local economy. When I first took office, we were in the midst of the worst economic downturn since 1929. The unemployment rate in the county stood at 8.1%. Today that rate has been driven down to 5%, and we’ve added 33,251 jobs.

This type of recovery has not occurred everywhere though, and while there are certainly macro-economic forces at play, Baltimore County has continued to support those fundamental drivers that allow us to maintain a strong and robust economy. This budget is a reflection of our understanding of what it takes to grow jobs, maintain business and create new ones.

We know that businesses require stable tax rates, an educated work force, and a high quality of life for their employees. We’re achieving that in Baltimore County with an unprecedented commitment to education and public safety and investments in our aging infrastructure, parks and green space, all while keeping our property and income tax rates flat. 

And it’s working. This commitment to the fundamentals of job growth and a strong economy have led to more than $1 billion of private investment in Towson, more than $750 million in Owings Mills, and a Sparrows Point with a real and tangible future — a future with 10,000 family-supporting jobs. Major employers want to stay here, too. McCormick Spice, Care First and Social Security all chose to remain in Baltimore County after investigating potential moves.  When companies expand and jobs are created, the dollars to invest in our county also grow. 

Keeping our County Clean, Green and Strong

Pope Francis did an extraordinary thing last year when he released an encyclical on the environment, calling on us all to work together to take “good care of our common home” – the Earth. Simply put, citizens, businesses and government must collaborate to become better stewards of our beloved home.

Almost 50 years ago, the County adopted the Urban-Rural Demarcation Line, which, along with conservative land use and environmental practices, has helped our Department of Planning preserve vital natural and agricultural resources in our rural areas. Indeed, two-thirds of our county remains rural. Baltimore County has placed more than 63,000 acres under easement, including 726 acres this past year. Our county is ranked first among counties for Maryland Environmental Trust donated easements, third for Rural Legacy and fourth for agricultural easements.

When it comes to planting trees, Baltimore County is a leader among Maryland counties through our Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability’s aggressive reforestation program, which planted 71 acres of trees this past year, helping us earn our 12th Tree City USA designation just last week from the National Arbor Day Foundation.

Ask any Baltimore County resident what their favorite summertime activity is, and there is a good chance that it involves water. With 200 miles of waterfront and more than 2,000 miles of streams and rivers, our connection to the Bay is personal. It’s catching that first rockfish off the pier. It’s boating at Marshy Point, and it’s watching the sunset over the Key Bridge in Eastern Baltimore County.

It is easy to understand why we’re working hard to protect our natural treasure. Our Department of Environment Protection and Sustainability, led by Director Vince Gardina, has completed more than $60 million in stream restoration, shoreline stabilization, reforestation and other water-quality projects since 2011 to preserve and restore our natural infrastructure, with more than $77 million in additional projects planned.

Regional Partner

The aspiring goal of our county government is to formulate policies that keep us heading in the right direction. We can’t look to the future without building on the principles that have guided us in the past.  Just as we tend to our families, we also care for our neighbors down the street. This requires us to examine not just the needs of our residents, but also those who live within our shared region. If we are to create the kind of Baltimore County that we want our children to be proud of, we must recognize the important role that Baltimore City plays in our county, in our region and in our state.

That is why we continue to dedicate nearly $3 million in this budget to support regional arts and cultural institutions in the city. And that is why we were there last spring to lend a helping hand, and not with a bill in our hand, when the City needed it most. It also requires us to invest in new strategies in the coming year that are designed to encourage employment training and growth for our entire region. I am also proud that, after years of negotiation, the County resolved a longstanding housing discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which allows us to move forward with a reasonable plan to encourage affordable housing be made available to people who share the values of low crime, quality education and access to jobs. I thank County Attorney Mike Field, Planning Director Andrea Van Arsdale and their teams for reaching this agreement with the federal government.

Living Up to our Values

Government will ultimately be judged by how it treats the least fortunate among us. Knowing there are many for whom life’s challenges seem insurmountable, our values demand that we take action to care for the homeless, look after our senior citizens, help people find quality housing and assist those struggling with substance abuse and domestic violence. The work performed each day by Andrea Van Arsdale, Dr. Gregory Branch, Barry Williams, Deborah Richardson, Joanne Williams and their departments reflect this aspirational view of government.

Whether it be through new substance abuse initiatives, a modern homeless shelter replacing trailers, a transitional housing facility for battered women and children, a new PAL center, educational programs for our inmates, or even outreach to homebound seniors, we are committed to leaving no one behind on our watch. With that in mind, this budget includes more than $76 million to provide crucial services so our friends and neighbors can get back on their feet and live life to the fullest.

I often note that Baltimore County is more populous than four states, yet we continue to operate with the finer principles of a small town, where we know our neighbors’ names and look out for one another. We are proud of what we have done to make our county a more accessible and inviting place for all.

State of the County

Looking around this room, I feel an incredible sense of pride when I think about what we have accomplished since 2010. Working together, we helped mitigate the effects of the Great Recession. We made our streets safe and our schools strong. We faced the challenge of rebuilding our aging infrastructure. We protected our environment and the vulnerable among us while growing our economy. As a result, the state of our county is strong.

Message Link

The County Executive’s Budget Message and State of the County address is available on the County website at

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the budget May 26, 2016.


Revised September 26, 2016