Skip Navigation
Print this page.
iWatch - You Inform Us, We Inform You.

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: jim johnson

Baltimore County has noted a recent increase in the number of serious pedestrian crashes -- and contrary to public perception, the pedestrian is at fault in about 80 percent of these incidents.
This Thursday, June 19 at 11:30 a.m.,  Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, Police Chief Jim Johnson and Fire Chief John Hohman will discuss the issue of pedestrian crashes along roadways in Baltimore County and announce a coordinated public awareness campaign for pedestrians. BCoPD and BCoFD handle about 420 pedestrian-vehicle crashes each year. The number of fatal pedestrian crashes increased in 2013 against each of the previous five years. 
The event will be held at the Randallstown Fire Station, 3610 Brenbrook Rd., 21133.
Attendees will include officers from BCoPD and BCoFD who have been working together on this issue; representatives from the Department of Public Works involved in engineering changes designed to improve pedestrian safety; and representatives from the Baltimore Metropolitan Council and MVA's Maryland Highway Safety Office.

Baltimore County Police continue to investigate two stabbing incidents that took place early Sunday morning outside the Towson Nights Hookah Lounge Cafe in downtown Towson. Meanwhile, a new law designed to reduce problems related to hookah lounges across the county took effect yesterday.

The law, introduced at the request of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz with the support of Police Chief Jim Johnson, requires hookah lounges to close at midnight. County Executive Kamenetz and Chief Johnson believe the earlier closing time -- some lounges have remained open as late as 4 a.m. -- will reduce the number of nuisance and criminal complaints associated with hookah establishments.

"The unfortunate incident in Towson outside of a hookah lounge this weekend once again shows why the recent legislation limiting hours at hookah and vapor lounges that I introduced and that was passed by the County Council is so important," Kamenetz said.  "Beginning yesterday, these places of business must close no later than midnight.  Should problematic behavior continue after the new law is implemented, I am fully prepared to go back to the Council and request that it reduce the hours even further. 

"I'm not going to tolerate this behavior in downtown Towson or anywhere else."

May 18 Stabbings

Police responded to two separate stabbing incidents near the Towson Nights hookah lounge early Sunday morning. The more serious of the two is a double stabbing that occurred just after 3:30 a.m., in which two young men -- both 22 years old -- were confronted by an unknown suspect or suspects who instigated a verbal argument that escalated to a stabbing. The victims -- who are not being identified at this time because the suspects remain at large -- had just left the hookah lounge when they were confronted by the suspects. It is unclear whether the suspects had been in the lounge.

Both victims were transported to local hospitals. One of the victims remains hospitalized with serious injuries; the other suffered non life-threatening injuries.

There is no description of the suspects at this time. An investigation by the Violent Crimes Unit is ongoing.

Earlier Sunday morning, police responded at about 2 a.m. to a fight at Burke Avenue and York Road, where they were told that a friend of one of the people involved in the fight had been stabbed earlier outside the Towson Nights hookah lounge. Investigation showed that the victim self-transported to a local hospital for treatment of non-life threatening injuries. No arrests have been made in this stabbing, and there is no suspect description at this time. The investigation by detectives at the Towson precinct is ongoing.

Police have investigated whether the two stabbing incidents might be related but have concluded that they are not connected.

New Restrictions

Under the new law, hookah lounges in existence yesterday -- the day the bill took effect -- have 45 days to comply with the new regulation. Any new lounges will be subject immediately to the earlier closing time.

Zoning violations are misdemeanors enforced by Code Enforcement as well as by police.

Chief Johnson lays a wreath at the Police Memorial in Patriot Plaza.This is the text of Police Chief Jim Johnson's Police Memorial Day message, "The Tip of the Spear," delivered this morning at the annual Police Memorial Day Ceremony at Patriot Plaza in Towson.


Good morning, everyone. As we do each year on the second Friday in May, we gather this morning to remember the members of the Baltimore County Police Department who gave their lives in service to our citizens.

This is always a somber and meaningful event, but especially so this year because the past 12 months have seen another name engraved on the monument here in Patriot Plaza: Tactical Officer Jason Schneider.

As we know too well, on August 28, 2013, Officer Schneider was shot and killed while serving a warrant in Catonsville. He was 36 years old, in his prime and one of the best officers I’ve known in my nearly four decades with this department. I am among the many who still find it difficult to believe that Jason – such a strong and vital man – is really gone. The loss of Jason has had a profound effect on this agency, me personally, and most importantly his family.

Our hearts continue to ache for Jason’s wife, Erica; his parents; his children and those who cared deeply for and depended upon Jason – including his Tactical Unit. This is an honorable day for them, but a difficult one. The loss is still fresh and keenly felt.

Jason has joined a noble group of dedicated officers, some of whom have been gone for many years.  Today, we remember with equal respect and sadness all nine of these fallen comrades: Edward Kuznar … Charles Huckeba … Samuel Snyder … Robert Zimmerman … Bruce Prothero … John Stem … Mark Parry … Michael Howe … and, now, Jason Schneider.

Each one of these peacemakers has earned his seat in heaven. Each one of their stories is a tragedy.

But Jason Schneider’s story – like Bruce Prothero’s before him, and Sam Snyder’s, John Stem’s and Charles Huckeba’s – is not just a tragedy. It is an outrage!

For these five did not just die in the line of duty. They were murdered in the line of duty.

They did not merely succumb to the risks and perils inherent to a dangerous line of work – a fate that by itself ensures a legacy of heroism, and a memorial on a plaza now and for generations.

They succumbed to something far worse: The darkness of the human heart.

These five died because of selfishness … because of cruelty … because of disregard for the rule of law. Consciously, knowingly, they put themselves face to face with people bent on breaking the contract that allows civilized societies to exist. They were the tip of the spear of justice. What more noble mission can there be? What higher calling in the human experience?

In his classic novel, “Heart of Darkness,” Joseph Conrad wrote of the potential savagery that exists in all men. There is, he wrote, a “fascination of the abomination” shared by us all; we can indulge this fascination and head down the path to evil, or step a safe distance from it.

For the police officer, however, it is not enough merely to step away from evil. We are asked to confront it and battle it, head on – to go into the darkness armed with guns and badges, yes, but also with the belief that most people are good, and that a safe and orderly world is worth fighting for and worth dying for.

We should feel more than grief today. The murder of officers of the law is an attack on civilized society.

It is outrageous, and we should feel an angry determination to avenge the deaths of our slain brethren by rededicating ourselves to the service of our citizens and the fight for right.

The darkness will never go away, no matter how good a job we do. Evil is a weed; as soon as we stamp it out, it sprouts up somewhere else. That is the human condition, the same now as it was at the beginning of time.

But I do not need to remind you that police work today demands that we face dangers specific to these times:

  • The proliferation of guns in the hands of criminals and the emotionally unstable or drug induced.

  • The complex problem of mental illness, and how to help those who suffer before they hurt themselves or others.

  • The economic stagnation and simple greed that plagues so many and that breeds a culture in which crime is both an act of desperation and a business.

And, of course, in these times we must take care of our own physical and emotional struggles, especially now as we continue to grapple with the trauma of last summer.

The nine noble men we remember today, I am certain, are grateful for our tributes and touched by our tears.

But if they could speak, they would admonish us to stay strong in the darkness, “a beacon on the road toward better things.” We have and will continue to do just that as we go into the future, protecting the life, property and peace of this great county and this state.


Was This Page Helpful?
Fields marked with * are required.
Page Rating*