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  1. Read our blog on keeping your home safe if you plan to be away for the holidays.

    Read our blog on keeping your home safe if you plan to be away for the holidays.


    Not home for the holidays? Check this list twice.
    www.baltimorecountymd.gov
    If you’re planning to take a vacation this holiday season, it’s important for you to add home security to your travel safety checklist. There are simple precautions you can take to keep your home protected from both theft and damage. Just a few extra
    2014-12-19T21:19:23+00:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/904927722850693
  2. As you deck the halls this season, #BCoFD offers these tips to be fire smart. ^NL

    As you deck the halls this season, #BCoFD offers these tips to be fire smart. ^NL


    2014-12-19T16:37:07+00:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/photos/a.597717780238357.1073741828.583947594948709/904826072860858/?type=1

  3. Unidentified homicide victim found in Maryland may have ties to Massachusetts

    It was a gruesome discovery on an access road near a Maryland cemetery: A young female had been beaten, sexually assaulted and strangled. Her body was wrapped in a white sheet, her hands tied behind h
    2014-12-18T15:04:26+00:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/904326492910816
  4. Have you seen this man? Baltimore County detectives are seeking the public’s as...

    Have you seen this man?

    Baltimore County detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the suspect responsible for a December 1 robbery at a Royal Farms store on Edmonson Avenue.

    The full release is available on our news blog:
    http://www.baltimorecountymd.gov/News/PoliceNews/iWatch/PoliceLookingForSuspectinDecember1RobberyofRoyalFarmsStore


    2014-12-18T14:36:36+00:00http://www.facebook.com/BaltimoreCountyPoliceandFire/posts/904316182911847

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Police and Fire News

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.
Keyword: chief

Image of Chief Johnson from the Baltimore County Police Department.Police Chief Jim Johnson is one of nine “Gun Violence Champions of Change” – chosen from across the nation – who will be honored by the White House Thursday, April 3, in ceremonies at The White House. The Champions of Change award presentation is scheduled from 10 a.m. to noon.

The event will be live streamed at 10 a.m. on April 3 at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

Additional information about the Champions of Change program is available at www.whitehouse.gov/champions.

"Chief Jim Johnson is truly one of the finest and most effective law enforcement professionals ever to wear the badge," said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. "I congratulate him on this most prestigious honor and am very glad that he calls Baltimore County home."

White House Announcement

Here is the text of the White House’s announcement:

WASHINGTON – On Thursday, April 3, the White House will honor 9 grassroots leaders taking critical steps in their communities to reduce gun violence. Although a minority of the Senate voted down common-sense legislation, the Administration is continuing to take key steps to reduce gun violence by implementing more than 23 executive actions and elevating successful local efforts. This week, the Administration will highlight the critical work some of these local leaders have spearheaded to make their neighborhoods safer and to keep firearms out of the wrong hands.

In his State of the Union Address, President Obama declared, “Citizenship means standing up for the lives that gun violence steals from us each day. I have seen the courage of parents, students, pastors, and police officers all over this country who say ‘we are not afraid,’ and I intend to keep trying, with or without Congress, to help stop more tragedies from visiting innocent Americans in our movie theaters, shopping malls, or schools like Sandy Hook.”

The White House created the Champions of Change program to feature individuals doing extraordinary things to empower, inspire and support members of their communities …

  • James Johnson, Chief of Police, Baltimore County; Chair, National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence

Baltimore, MD

Baltimore County, MD, Police Chief Jim Johnson began his career with the Baltimore County Police Department in 1979 as a Cadet in the 911 Center and served in every sworn rank in the Department before being named Chief of Police in June 2007. Chief Johnson holds memberships in several professional organizations, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association (MCCA). He is MCCA’s representative to and Chairs the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence (the Partnership), a coalition of nine national law enforcement leadership organizations.

Chief Johnson works daily in his own jurisdiction to reduce incidents of gun violence and make his community safer. A highly respected leader in his state and at the national level, Chief Johnson is an active voice for law enforcement on the policies and practices that will help reduce gun violence. A gun owner and hunter, Chief Johnson has been an effective advocate for sensible policies that protect the rights of law abiding gun owners while keeping guns out of dangerous hands and excessive firepower off our streets. In 2013 Chief Johnson testified before Congress in support of expanding background checks to all purchasers, and was instrumental in changing Maryland’s law prohibiting assault weapons and limiting high-capacity ammunition magazines. He holds a Masters Degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore. ...

Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson has announced a number of new command assignments that take effect tomorrow, April 1.

  • Woodland M. Wilson III will be promoted from the rank of Captain to the rank of Major. Captain Wilson oversees BCoPD’s Operations Support Section, including K-9 and the Tactical Unit. As a Major, he will oversee Support Operations Division, including the Tactical Unit and K-9 as well as Aviation, the Hostage Negotiation Team, the Behavioral Assessment Unit, the Marine Team and Traffic.
  • Major Daniel Kaliszak will command BCoPD’s Technical Services Division. Major Kaliszak currently is assigned to Support Operations.
  • Captain Gordon Skinner, currently commander of Precinct 8/Parkville, will command the Vice/Narcotics Section.
  • Captain Jay Landsman Jr., currently assigned to the Vice/Narcotics Section, will command Precinct 6/Towson.
  • Captain Lisa Hannon, currently assigned to the Operations Bureau, will command Precinct 8/Parkville.
  • Captain Richard Howard, currently commander of Precinct 6/Towson, will be assigned to the Operations Bureau.

The changes follow the retirement last month of Major Karen Johnson.

Today Baltimore County Police Chief Jim Johnson reaffirmed that Caitlyn Virts is safe and that Baltimore County Police, Baltimore County's Department of Health and Human Services and the FBI will provide all available resources to help her and her siblings.

Caitlyn's mother, Bobbie Jo Cortez, 36, was found murdered Thursday morning in her bedroom in the 3100 block of Ardee Way in Dundalk. Caitlyn's father, Timothy Virts -- who fled with Caitlyn after the killing and was found in South Carolina last night -- is charged with first-degree murder. He will be extradited to face prosecution in Maryland; the extradition process can take weeks.

At a press briefing this morning, Chief Johnson said that the FBI Baltimore Division's participation in the investigation was pivotal in locating Timothy and Caitlyn Virtz. Representatives of FBI's Baltimore Division, including Special Agent in Charge Steve Vogt, participated in this morning's briefing.

Johnson said he was "incredibly relieved" that Caitlyn has been found safe, and credited citizen "keyboard crimefighters" with paying attention to the search and helping law enforcement by calling in "thousands" of tips.

Here is a summary of the information Chief Johnson provided:

Caitlyn Virtz

Police in Florence, South Carolina found Caitlyn last night, with her father, at the Colonial Motel, just off of I-95. She appears to be unharmed.

"Of course," Johnson said, "this child and her siblings have endured a terrible trauma and a terrible tragedy. Baltimore County Government and other agencies will provide all the resources possible to help them deal with the aftermath."

Baltimore County social services personnel are working with social services personnel in South Carolina, and Caitlyn will return to Maryland in the near future. State agencies will be involved in helping with decisions about the children's future.

Sequence of Events

Police responded just after 9 a.m. Thursday to the home on Ardee Way, where Bobbie Jo Cortez was found, murdered, in her bedroom. Bobbie Jo's daughter, Caitlyn was missing. Police quickly determined that Timothy Virts, Caitlyn’s father, had taken her and fled in a 1999 Dodge Durango. An Amber Alert was issued Thursday morning.

Between Thursday morning and the time Virts was found in South Carolina last night, BCoPD detectives worked round the clock fielding and tracking down hundreds of tips and leads.  None of these tips and leads panned out until yesterday afternoon.  A critical turning point, Johnson said, was the FBI’s entrance into this case. The FBI helped broaden this search and extend the reach of the Amber Alert and other notification tools.

Late yesterday afternoon, we received credible information that Virts was in North Carolina. This gave BCoPD for the first time an idea that he was headed south.

Last night, BCoPD received notification from the Florence (SC) Police Dept that the Dodge Durango driven by Virtz had been located at the Colonial Motel. Johnson referred inquiries about the apprehension of Timothy Virts to Florence Police and thanked them for the crucial role they played in this case. Johnson noted that Florence police reported that Virts was arrested without incident.

The investigation into Bobbie Jo Cortez' murder remains active, and BCoPD are not providing additional details at this time.

FBI officials said that a charge of unlawful flight against Virts likely will be dropped; an unlawful flight warrant primarily is a tool allowing the FBI to arrest a wanted suspect anywhere in the U.S.

Notification Tools

"This was a situation whose successful outcome is a direct result of the emergency notification tools that helped the public and other law enforcement agencies identify Timothy Virts and the Dodge Durango," Johnson said.

Johnson said BCoPD was told by police in Florence that a clerk at the Colonial Motel had seen notification about Caitlyn Virts’ disappearance on Facebook and contacted the authorities..

"This case really illustrates the value of multiple platforms for notifying people of emergency situations – in this case, the Amber Alert, mainstream media, social media, the billboards and posters distributed by the FBI," Johnson said. " Citizens who follow these notifications and call in tips truly are keyboard crime fighters, and we are immensely grateful for their participation in this crisis."

Johnson also thanked the many law enforcement partners who assisted with this case: the  FBI, Florence (SC) Police Department, Maryland State Police and other law enforcement agencies throughout the region.

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