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Baltimore County Police and Fire News

Official News Blog of Baltimore County police, fire, homeland security and emergency management. Call 911 to report crimes in progress and emergencies.

The Baltimore County Fire Department’s 107th Recruit Class graduates tonight, June 30, at 7 p.m. The ceremony will take place at George Washington Carver Center for Arts and Technology, 938 York Road, Towson 21204.

Fire Chief John J. Hohman will present the certificates to the graduates. The Honorable Julie Ensor, Clerk of the Circuit Court, will administer the oath of office and Cantor Nancy Ginsberg will deliver the invocation and benediction.

The recruit class represents diverse backgrounds, including some trained as volunteer firefighters as well as active and retired military. The recruits trained for 19 weeks and will spend the next two years as Probationary Firefighters (PFF). They will continue their training in the field as they apply the skills learned in the classroom.

The following is a list of the recruits and their assignments:

PFF Tyler J. Abshagen – Station 16/Golden Ring
PFF Cassandra R. Anderson – Station 13/Westview
PFF Michael R. Beebe – Station 19/Garrison
PFF Carlos A. Boucaud Jr. – Station 7/Essex
PFF Megan S. Clester – Station 5/Halethorpe
PFF Joshua L. Colbourn – Station 10/Parkville
*PFF Thomas R. Cook Jr. – Station 6/Dundalk
PFF Daniel M. Dubbs – Station 17/ Texas
PFF Jeremy R. Edmondson – Station 12/Middle River
PFF James F. Gallo – Station 1/Towson
PFF Keith B. Hardesty Jr. – Station 10/Parkville
*PFF Emma L. Hartline – Station 3/Woodlawn
PFF Thomas B. Heaver – Station 1/Towson
PFF Timothy T. Jilinski – Station 10/Parkville
PFF Robert C. Jones – Station 18/Randallstown
PFF Rebecca L. Karwacki – Station 8/Fullerton
PFF Kevin I. Little – Station 8/Fullerton
PFF Cody I. Manley – Station 56/Franklin
PFF Casey M. McDonald – Station 1/Towson
PFF Demitri D. McFarlane – Station 5/Halethorpe
PFF Christopher C. Merk – Station 11/Hillendale
PFF Zachary T. Miller – Station 17/Texas
PFF Jamel A. Nesbit – Station 18/Randallstown
PFF Alexander M. Ongay – Station 5/Halethorpe
PFF William A. Packo – Station 17/Texas
PFF Dondre L. Phillips – Station 4/Catonsville
PFF Jason S. Robertson – Station 15/Eastview
PFF Matthew T. Roseborough – Station 15/Eastview
PFF Jason E. Schwalm – Station 55/Perry Hall
PFF Kevin B. Summers – Station 1/Towson
PFF Stephen T. Ventura – Station 5/Halethorpe
PFF Daniel J. Webster – Station 1/Towson
PFF Brandon R. Wilson – Station 4/Catonsville

*PFF Thomas R. Cook Jr. and PFF Emma L. Hartline were promoted to Probationary Paramedics during the ceremony.

Original release (June 30, 2016  8:20 a.m.):

The Baltimore County Police Department is seeking the public’s assistance in identifying a suspect involved in the street robbery of a 71-year-old man in Reisterstown on May 22.

The investigation has indicated that around 9:40 p.m., the man was followed by a suspect from the Mars store on Reisterstown Road to an Exxon gas station on Franklin Boulevard where he cashed a winning lottery ticket for $50. The man left the store and when he reached Tarragon Road and Salony Drive he was approached by the suspect and a second person. One of the suspects produced a handgun and announced a robbery. When the man resisted the two suspects trying to rob him, they threw him to the ground and took money from a pocket.

This incident remains under investigation by the Precinct 3 Investigative Services Team.

Anyone with information on this incident is asked to call police at 410-887-6979 or Metro Crime Stoppers at 1-866-7LOCKUP.

Callers to Metro Crime Stoppers

If your tip to the Metro Crime Stoppers hotline leads to the arrest and/or indictment of a suspect, for a felony crime, you may be eligible for a cash reward of up to $2,000 from Metro Crime Stoppers.

If you have information on the above crime/suspect please call, text, or e-mail: Metro Crime Stoppers hotline available 24-hours a day toll free.

You can remain anonymous.

Phone: 1-866-7LOCKUP

Text message: Text "MCS" plus your message to "CRIMES" (274637)

Web tip:

The Baltimore County Police Department's body-worn camera program is set to begin Wednesday, July 6.

The first 10 cameras will be deployed that day to one officer in each of the county's 10 precincts. After that, BCoPD will train 10 officers a week for 15 weeks, until 150 cameras are deployed. These 150 cameras will be distributed throughout the 10 precincts and in other units where the Chief of Police has deemed camera use appropriate. This comprises the first phase of BCoPD's body camera initiative.

The second and final phase of the program, involving 1,285 cameras, is scheduled to begin in July 2017. The program will be fully phased in by December 2018. When complete, 1,435 of the county's 1,900 police officers will wear cameras.

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Chief Jim Johnson, along with Baltimore County State's Attorney Scott Shellenberger, conducted a press briefing this afternoon at the Public Safety Building in Towson providing details about how the cameras will be used, how footage will be managed, limitations of BWCs and the anticipated benefits.
"We're investing in this program for one reason," Kamenetz said. "We believe it will improve public safety by enhancing transparency, by reducing complaints against officers, by improving behavior of all parties involved in police activity and by making prosecutions more effective and efficient."

Regarding prosecutions, Shellenberger said footage from citizen-operated and surveillance cameras already plays an important role in prosecutions; BWC footage – which shows police activity from the officer's perspective – promises to be another valuable prosecutorial tool.

Use Policy

At today's briefing, Chief Johnson highlighted the most important components of the body camera Use Policy.

"My biggest concern was the potential for the cameras to strip officers of their autonomy," Johnson said, turning officers into robotic enforcers of the law. "This policy is specifically designed to preserve the autonomy and discretion of the police officer."

Key points in the Use Policy:

  • Officers assigned body cameras will activate them as soon as possible unless it is unsafe, impractical or impossible to do so.
  • Officers have discretion to activate the camera during any legitimate law enforcement activity if they believe recording may be appropriate. They have discretion to de-activate the camera in places or situations where there’s a heightened expectation of privacy (e.g., locker rooms or rest rooms). They also have the discretion to de-activate in order to secure statements from witnesses and victims.
  • Officers will notify people as soon as possible that they are being recorded unless it’s unsafe, impractical or impossible to do so. Civilians cannot choose whether or not they are recorded.
  • Retention periods for footage depend on the type of incident. For the least serious incidents, the retention period is 18 months. For the most serious felonies, the footage is kept permanently.
  • BWC footage is a public record subject to release under the Maryland Public Information Act and other relevant laws to the public, including media. Baltimore County will treat requests for footage the same as requests for any other police record. The same exceptions apply. Footage of incidents in which there is a compelling public interest may be posted to official Police Department platforms.

Johnson, who has been a law enforcement officer for nearly 40 years, called development of a body-worn camera program "the most challenging project I've ever been involved with. Cameras are part of our world. It's the right time for Baltimore County Police to develop consistent policies, procedures and practices for the use of cameras as a tool to enhance public safety. I'm confident our program will accomplish that."

Program Cost

An eight-year, $12.5 million contract with Taser International, Inc. includes purchase of the Axon Flex camera (BCoPD offers officers a choice of camera mounts), maintenance, unlimited data storage, licenses and other expenses. These costs will be paid with revenue from the County's speed camera program.

When fully implemented in FY2019, the ongoing annual cost of operating the program will be an estimated $1.6 million. This includes 19 additional, full-time people needed to run the program. The County's speed camera program will cover all but a small portion of these annual costs. The remainder will be covered by the Office of Information Technology and the State's Attorney's Office.


Revised June 28, 2016