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Keyword: diversity

Workgroup to Offer Recommendations, Bring Greater Transparency and Accountability to Law Enforcement

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today issued an executive order announcing the formation of the Baltimore County Workgroup on Equitable Policing, which will examine policing policies and practices and make recommendations for ensuring equitable policing in Baltimore County.  

The Baltimore County Police Department collects and reports data related to traffic stops annually to the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center (MSAC). A review of 2018 data (PDF) shows that African-American individuals were issued citations at a rate higher than other individuals. While the data does not necessarily indicate bias or discrimination, the County Executive and Police Chief Melissa Hyatt believe the data merit thorough examination.

First-of-its-Kind Workgroup

The first-of-its-kind workgroup will examine current policies, practices, and training related to equitable policing in Baltimore County and offer recommendations to ensure equitable policing practices and bring greater transparency and accountability to law enforcement.

“Our law enforcement officers work tirelessly day in and day out to keep our communities safe, and I am grateful for their dedicated service. We also have a moral obligation to ensure accountable, equitable, and just law enforcement that serves all residents,” said County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “Today we are taking steps to provide a closer look at our data, promote fairness, improve accountability and build a safer, stronger county.”

“This work group is an opportunity for us to increase communication and transparency in Baltimore County.  Every day and every night our officers are out in our communities patrolling in an effort to keep everyone safe,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt. “We owe it to the members of our community to ensure that we are utilizing our resources in the most effective way.  I look forward to being a part of this important discussion.”

Responsibilities of the Workgroup

The newly announced workgroup will:

  • Review and analyze data provided to the Maryland Statistical Analysis Center;
  • Collect and analyze additional data from the Baltimore County Police Department;
  • Analyze benchmarking data from other political subdivisions and comparable jurisdictions across the country;
  • Review current written orders and manuals relevant to traffic and person stops;
  • Meet with command staff and officers in the Police Department to examine how current policing practices and principles may be influencing the data;
  • Review training and supervision that Police Officers receive with respect to implicit bias in policing; and
  • Review national best practices with respect to equitable policing, traffic and person stop practices and policies, training and supervision.

Workgroup Members

Chaired by Baltimore County’s newly-named Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Troy Williams, the workgroup consists of a diverse array of talented and knowledgeable individuals, including: 

  • Crystal Francis, Community Representative
  • Tony Fugett, Baltimore County NAACP
  • Councilman Julian Jones, Baltimore County Council, District 4
  • Omer Reshid, Student Member of the Baltimore County Board of Education, Youth Representative
  • Colonel Robert McCullough, Baltimore County Police Department
  • Anthony Russell, President, Blue Guardians
  •  Scott Shellenberger, State’s Attorney
  • John Skinner, Professor of Criminal Justice, Towson University
  • Delegate Charles Sydnor
  • Cole Weston, Fraternal Order of Police
  • Chief Melissa Hyatt, Baltimore County Police Department (ex-officio)
  • Drew Vetter, Baltimore County Deputy Administrative Officer (ex-officio)

”I am honored to help lead this work group and committed to taking swift action to carry out the County Executive’s charge to review the data and identify actionable recommendations that will ensure equitable policing across Baltimore County,” said Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer Troy Williams.

Workgroup Tasks

The Baltimore County Workgroup on Equitable Policing will host two public input sessions to receive public comment. Dates and times for these public input sessions will be forthcoming.

The Workgroup will issue a draft report and recommendations no later than July 2020, which shall be posted online for public comment. Following public input, the Workgroup will issue a final report no later than August 2020.

“Communities are safest when police and residents can trust each other,” Delegate Charles Sydnor said. “I’m thankful County Executive Olszewski is leading on this issue and convening this workgroup to thoroughly investigate these concerns and to affirm that trust.”

“We have a responsibility to do whatever we can to ensure Baltimore County is safe for all of our residents,” Councilman Jones said. “I’m looking forward to serving on this workgroup and working collaboratively and ensure equitable policing in every community across Baltimore County.”

The full text of Executive Order 2019-001 (Baltimore County Workgroup on Equitable Policing) is available for review.


We Continue To Stand With Our Immigrant Communities     

"Baltimore County has long been committed to welcoming our immigrant neighbors, and I want to assure all County residents that our commitment stands. The Executive Order signed by County Executive Kamenetz in 2017 remains in effect, ensuring that County agencies will not discriminate against any person based on their national origin, that no police officer will inquire about an individual’s immigration status for the purpose of initiating immigration proceedings and that individuals in our criminal justice system will not be detained beyond their court ordered release date. Our police department will not provide any assistance during immigration enforcement raids, nor will the department assist with any civil or administrative actions. Our diversity is our greatest strength and Baltimore County continues to stand with our immigrant communities.”


Education, Public Safety Top Priorities in $3.285 Billion FY19 Budget

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz delivered his State of the County address and introduced a $3.285 billion budget for fiscal year 2019 in remarks presented to the Baltimore County Council April 12, 2018. Below are highlights from the speech.

Eight Years of Progress

“Together, we’ve made tremendous progress toward a more innovative, responsible and efficient local government.”

  • 15,821 new jobs have been added in the County since I became County Executive.
  • There’s been more than $5 billion in new private investment.
  • The County has invested $1.8 billion to modernize and maintain our aging water and sewer infrastructure, plus $129 million for roads and bridges.
  • We deployed new technology that improves service to our citizens and achieves significant cost savings. Baltimore County is now ranked fourth in the nation for use of technology in government.
  • We have made an historic $1.3 billion investment to upgrade and modernize our schools.

Good Governance

The fiscal year 2019 budget does not increase property tax or income tax rates. The budget stays within spending affordability limits, and funds our schools above maintenance of effort level. The budget includes a 3% cost of living adjustment for employees, effective next January.

#1 Priority: Education

Fifty one percent of next year’s total Baltimore County operating budget is dedicated to our schools, more than $1.67 billion.

Teacher salaries have increased by 12% over the past eight years.

Schools for Our Future is a groundbreaking capital program to modernize our schools, not just for today, but to meet future enrollment needs as the County population continues to grow. This $1.3 billion initiative is building or rebuilding more than 90 schools.

Baltimore County Public Schools have one of the highest graduation rates in the State. There is no disparity in the graduation rates between African American and white students. County schools have earned national honors in music and arts education, digital learning, robotics, and more.

School Safety

Since 2011, Baltimore County has invested $13.6 million to reinforce all school doors and windows, adding security cameras and controlled entry.

“With this budget, we strengthen our school safety system by adding more professionals to help identify mental health issues that can lead to suicide and destructive behaviors.”

If adopted, the FY19 budget would add 22 social workers, 23 counselors and 18 school psychologists in Baltimore County Public Schools, plus additional pupil personnel workers, health assistants, and bus attendants. Nineteen more police School Resource Officers would be funded, increasing the County’s total to 84 officers.

Preparing our Workforce

Baltimore County College Promise

The FY19 budget includes $979,000 for the first year of Baltimore County College Promise – funding that will make college a reality for more than 1,100 students.

College opens up a lifetime of career opportunities. But the cost can mean a dead end for even the most motivated students. That’s why we launched Baltimore County College Promise, with full tuition and fees for qualified students to complete an associate’s degree or workplace certification at the Community College of Baltimore County.”

Job Connector

With low unemployment and a tight job market, companies are ready to hire today. But chronic shortages of qualified workers remain in many high-demand fields. Job Connector partners with employers, labor unions, colleges and universities to build a job-ready workforce.

“We listened to our employers and launched Job Connector, an innovative $2.5 million program that brings a supply-and-demand strategy to workforce development.”

Keeping and growing jobs

“These marquee firms chose to stay in Baltimore County because we’ve created a welcoming business climate, with a superb workforce and responsive local government.”

Stanley Black & Decker is adding 400 new jobs. Care First Blue Cross is keeping 2,200 jobs in the heart of Owings Mills. This summer, 900 McCormick & Company corporate employees will be moving to a new global headquarters in Hunt Valley. Bank of America is adding 900 jobs; 300 hired last year, with 600 more jobs on the way.

The Baltimore County Boost Loan Fund has loaned $4.3 million to small businesses in just four years, with a focus on firms owned by minorities, women, and veterans.

Over $5 billion in new private investment

Tradepoint Atlantic, the massive redevelopment of Sparrows Point, downtown Towson, Greenleigh at Crossroads in Middle River, and Foundry Row, Mill Station and Metro Centre in Owings Mills are leading new private investment and job creation.

“This is economic development that is transforming job prospects and economic opportunity for the entire region.”

Keeping communities healthy

Helping those in need

More than 98,000 people in Baltimore County are food insecure, including 30,000 children. The proposed FY19 budget includes $550,000 to support the Maryland Food Bank.

“In a time of overall prosperity, there are still too many who struggle to make ends meet. The true measure of a government is how we treat people who could use an outstretched hand to get by.”

The County has expanded services to people who experience homelessness. Three years ago the County opened a comprehensive Westside Men’s Shelter, replacing trailers. A new Eastern Family Resource Center opened last fall with expanded health services and shelter beds for men and women. Next year’s budget increases funding for all shelter services by 5%.

Reversing the Opioid Epidemic

Opioid overdoses killed 543 Baltimore County residents from 2016 through the first nine months of 2017. The County launched an aggressive program to make naloxone widely available. Our Department of Health and Human Services has already trained 3,200 residents on how to safely administer this life-saving drug.

The County also is fighting the opioid epidemic by working through the legal system to hold drug manufacturers more accountable.

Keeping communities safe

Baltimore County continues to be a very safe place to live. Since the beginning of 2018, there were five confirmed homicides in Baltimore County, down from thirteen over the same period last year.

“The early overall statistics for 2018 give us reason to be optimistic that crimes of all types will continue to decline in our county.” 

Fourteen hundred police officers have been fully trained and now wear body cameras.

Operation Connect focuses outreach by County police officers to local communities, particularly to youth. Police, firefighters and paramedics undergo rigorous training, with a renewed focus on mental health.

Fire and EMS

The FY19 budget increases funding for volunteer fire companies by 7.4%, bringing County support to $9.8 million next year.

Sustaining a Clean, Green County

“We protect the Bay through our Clean Green County initiative, restoring streambanks and shorelines, planting trees, and sweeping streets. Over eight years, the County has invested $1.8 billion to modernize and maintain our aging water and sewer systems.”

The FY2019 budget includes nearly $27 million to maintain and improve water and sewer infrastructure and reduce water main breaks and sewage spills.

Four years ago, the County opened a new single stream recycling facility to keep materials out of landfills. Sales of recycled materials have already brought the County over $30 million in revenue.

Enriching our quality of life

The County has funded a record $68 million in new parks, community centers and turf fields since 2010.

Next year’s budget includes $3.9 million to support arts, humanities and cultural organizations in Baltimore County and the region.

A $7 million state-of-the-art animal shelter in Baldwin, plus a spay/neuter program at new surgical sites across the county has led to all-time high dog and cat live release rates of 90%. The FY19 budget includes funding for a new animal cruelty investigation unit in the police department.

Respect and Diversity

Public Safety Diversity

The most recent Baltimore County police academy class was 40% women or minority. The class of EMTs and paramedics that graduated last month is 60% women or minority. The Fire Recruit Class now in session is 67% women or minority.

The Baltimore County Fire Department is recognized nationally as a leader in promoting gender diversity, with women now making up almost one quarter of its sworn members. The national average is just 4%.

Respect for All

“As a civil and moral society, we must acknowledge and respect everyone who lives here.”

“In 2017, as a result of our Executive Order, County employees, including police, may not ask a person’s immigration status. Three years ago, before Charlottesville, we removed a symbol of hate from our community, renaming Robert E. Lee Park as Lake Roland. In 2012, I proudly signed legislation that added gender identity and sexual orientation to the county's existing anti-discrimination laws.”

The County Council is scheduled to vote on the budget on May 24, 2018.

Read the full text of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s 2018 State of the County address and fiscal year 2019 Budget Message.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017