Following a months-long internal investigation of the actions of a volunteer auxiliary police officer in Towson, Police Chief Jim Johnson has decided that this auxiliary officer will not return to patrol duties.
The auxiliary officer, Matthew S. Betz, 44, who has volunteered for BCoPD for 22 years, will be allowed to continue to perform administrative work for the department. (Johnson restricted him to administrative duties immediately after the February 23 incident.) His arrest powers have been suspended, meaning he cannot work in the field as an auxiliary officer.
The investigation by the Internal Affairs Division involved a crowd disturbance in the 400 block of York Road at about 1:45 a.m. in which two women were arrested on charges of resisting arrest, disturbing the peace, second-degree assault and drug charges. The auxiliary officer was assisting on-duty BCoPD officers when he became involved with a college student who was filming the incident.
The internal investigation found that the auxiliary officer behaved inappropriately. “The language he used was incorrect, unnecessary and not helpful in bringing the incident to closure,” Chief Johnson said.
About the Auxiliary Program
BCoPD’s Auxiliary Police Officer program, established by the Baltimore County Code, currently includes 88 trained volunteers. The Code specifies the qualifications, conditions of service and scope of duties for auxiliary officers.
Volunteer auxiliary officers must complete about 115 hours of training in order to be certified by the Police Chief to assist BCoPD officers. They do not carry firearms. Under the Code, all certified auxiliary officers have extremely limited powers of arrest.
Chief Johnson will require enhanced re-training of all existing volunteer auxiliary officers that exceeds the training they currently receive yearly.
“These volunteers make a huge commitment to this department and to this County. They contribute thousands of dollars worth of manpower each year – an asset we value and want to preserve,” Chief Johnson said. “At the same time, this recent incident highlighted the need to make sure volunteer auxiliary members are thoroughly trained and properly assigned, both for their own safety and for the good of our citizens.”