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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: police

The Baltimore County Police Department is now accepting applications for its Community Crime Prevention and Youth Activity Grants Program for fiscal year 2017 (July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017).

  • Community Crime Prevention grants are available for county Citizens On Patrol groups and other programs aimed at reducing crime.
  • Youth Activity grants are available for programs that provide ongoing, sustained efforts that focus on early intervention and long-term behavior modification of at-risk youth.

Only non-profit groups, community organizations and individuals that operate, or reside in Baltimore County are eligible to receive funding. An application packet that outlines program rules and requirements may be obtained by calling Mr. Sebastian Zito of the Police Department's Grants Management Team at 410-887-5637.

Completed applications must be received no later than 3 p.m. on Friday, December 11, 2015.

UPDATE: September 25, 2015

  • At 4:45 p.m., Chief Jim Johnson conducted a media briefing at which he provided some additional details about Wednesday's Shooting in Reisterstown and released a 50-second video of footage of the shooting; this video was obtained from a local business. The video is available on our Facebook page and on Twitter, @BACOPoliceFire.

     He confirmed that witnesses told police that they heard the officer repeatedly telling the suspect, "Don't do this!" and the suspect repeatedly telling the officer, "I'm going to kill you." Johnson said the officer had one second to make a life or death decision, and that the video shows the officer had every reason to believe the suspect was armed and that he was in danger. He said Officer Earomirski "is one of my finest officers."
  • The officer involved in the September 23, 2015 shooting in Reisterstown is Officer Earomirski, assigned to Precinct 3/Franklin. He began his service with the Baltimore County Police Department on December 10, 2005. This is the first time he has been involved in a shooting.
  • The suspect fatally shot by police on September 23, 2015 is Keith Harrison McLeod, 19. His last known address is the 1200 block of Faraday Place NE, Washington, D.C.

UPDATE: September 24, 2015:

Homicide detectives this morning identified the man who tried to obtain a prescription illegally at a Reisterstown pharmacy and was fatally shot during a subsequent confrontation with a BCoPD officer. The man's name will be released as soon as police notify next of kin.

Detectives obtained video evidence  from nearby businesses that captures the confrontation. The footage shows the suspect aggressively advancing on a single officer, who retreats with his gun drawn.  The footage shows the suspect reaching around to the small of his back and abruptly whipping his hand around and pointing it toward the officer, as if with a weapon. The officer fires his weapon as the suspect swiftly brings his hand forward from his waistband. On the ground, the suspect refuses to comply and keeps reaching into his waistband, as if for a weapon.

Witnesses told detectives that they heard the officer repeatedly giving the suspect commands to "stop," and that they heard the suspect shouting profanities at the officer.

The state Medical Examiner has confirmed that the suspect -- transported to Northwest Hospital, where he was declared deceased -- was shot three times. Three shots were fired, police have confirmed.

A weapon was not found.

Narcotics detectives confirm that the suspect tried to obtain Promethazine plus Codeine at the Nature Care pharmacy. This is a narcotic cough syrup, often combined with alcohol to produce a "high."

The officer has been placed on administrative leave, standard procedure following an officer-involved shooting. This is an ongoing Homicide investigation that will be reviewed by the Baltimore County State's Attorney.

Original release:

Police are investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting that occurred late this afternoon on Main Street in Reisterstown. 

The investigation, still in its early stages, shows that at about 4:50 p.m. a man walked into the Nature Care pharmacy in the unit block of Main Street, 21136 (Precinct 3/Franklin) and presented a forged prescription. The pharmacist notified police, and an officer promptly responded.

The officer located the suspect in the parking lot outside the pharmacy, and the suspect subsequently led the officer on a foot chase that continued across Main Street and behind businesses on the east side of the street.

A confrontation occurred between the officer and the suspect, and multiple shots were fired. The suspect is deceased, and the officer was not injured. The circumstances remain under investigation by the Homicide Unit. 

Police, who have not yet recovered a weapon, have not completed a search of the crime scene. Police also have not finished taking statements from several witnesses to the incident. 

The suspect has not yet been identified. 

The officer's last name, rank and assignment will be released in about 48 hours, per the terms of BCoPD's agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4.

The Baltimore County Police Department today begins a program to equip 1,435 officers with body-worn cameras. The first five years of the program will cost $7.1 million.

The first 150 body-worn cameras (BWCs) are scheduled for deployment in July 2016; they will be deployed equally throughout the 10 precincts to officers in a variety of assignments. The remainder is scheduled for deployment in July 2017.

"Body cameras", said County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, “have the potential to improve public safety. We expect both officer and citizen behavior to improve.” Reductions in complaints against officers and more efficient, effective prosecutions are other expected benefits, he said.

Kamenetz noted that this issue is “complex operationally and legally, and it requires a great deal of fiscal commitment and a commitment to officer training.”

“Enhancing Accountability, Trust”

Kamenetz and police Chief Jim Johnson jointly decided to implement the BWC program. After months of study, Chief Johnson concluded that the times call for police agencies to use tools with the potential to enhance accountability and strengthen a relationship of trust and understanding with communities.

“While cameras are not a panacea and while they pose significant challenges for police agencies, I believe that this technology is here to stay. We decided to work now to ensure an effective program,” Johnson said.

The most important elements of a healthy police-community relationship, Johnson said, will always be outreach and understanding, the free flow of information and commitment to a skilled and diverse workforce. But he said he believes cameras have a place. “I support cameras as a way to provide clarity and transparency in some controversial situations. The public’s trust is invaluable to us, and cameras are one tool that can help us maintain it.”

Last December, Kamenetz called for a comprehensive study of body-worn cameras for police. Johnson assigned an internal workgroup including BCoPD sworn and professional personnel, State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, the Office of Information Technology, Sheriff Jay Fisher, and the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4.

After months of study -- including input from the NAACP, ACLU, National Alliance on Mental Illness, a representative from the Latino community and other stakeholder groups --  the panel issued a 128-page report to Chief Johnson. The workgroup’s report – which Chief Johnson called “the best body of work I have read on this complicated topic” – recommended additional study rather than implementation of a body camera program at this time.

(The recommendations of the Body-worn Camera Workgroup are available online (PDF) in their entirety.)

Program Costs

The cost of establishing the program is $7.1 million.

That includes $1.25 million for the cameras and related equipment and $5.9 million for maintenance and storage. It also includes the cost of hiring at least 21 additional full-time personnel in several departments to manage the program.

The annual cost of running the BWC program is estimated at $1.6 million.

Program Details

BCoPD standard operating procedures for use of the cameras will not be finalized until after the General Assembly session and any subsequent action by the legislature pursuant to the recommendations of  a state commission on body cameras. These state standards likely will apply to all Maryland police agencies that decide to use body cameras.

BCoPD employs about 1,900 officers and is the 21st largest local police department in the U.S.

Officer training will be essential. One of the concerns about body cameras, Kamenetz and Johnson agree, is their potential to produce robotic officers, wary and unwilling to exercise professional judgment or to interact freely.

Based on the study and the experiences of other agencies that have begun using body-worn cameras, storage and maintenance of massive amounts of video and handling public information requests are challenges requiring additional human resources. Baltimore County’s three-phase implementation program calls for the hiring of additional IT support, evidence specialists, criminal records processors, forensic specialists, attorneys, training personnel and public information specialists.

Noting that body-worn camera programs remain a work in progress, Johnson said BCoPD will continue to monitor programs in other agencies and to participate in the national conversation on body cameras. BCoPD will adapt its program as best practices and problems evolve.

Public Information Laws

Body camera video will be treated the same as any other public record, subject to release under the Maryland Public Information Act and other relevant laws.

The implementation plan will include public outreach to ensure that citizens are aware that these videos are public records, and that citizens as well as police will be portrayed.

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