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

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.”

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.

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