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Retains Many in Key Leadership Positions

County Executive John Olszewski, Jr. announced today that he plans to retain a significant number of current County officials as members of his government leadership team. He has nominated the following individuals to serve as County department and office heads, subject to confirmation by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the County Council:

  • Laura D. Riley, Director, Department of Aging (currently serves as Deputy Director)
  • Keith A. Dorsey, Director, Office of Budget and Finance
  • Gail M. Watts, Director, Department of Corrections
  • Michael E. Field, County Attorney
  • William G. Anderson, Director, Department of Economic and Workforce Development
  • Gregory Wm. Branch, M.D., Director, Department of Health and Human Services, Department of Social Services and Health Officer
  • Robert W. O'Connor, Director, Office of Information Technology
  • Terrence B. Sheridan, Chief, Police Department
  • Steven A. Walsh, PE, Director, Department of Public Works
  • Barry F. Williams, Director, Department of Recreation and Parks

In addition, Olszewski announced that he has nominated David Lykens to serve as Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Protection and Sustainability, where Lykens currently serves as Deputy Director.

 “These individuals have been on the front lines of serving county residents, and they are well-qualified to help us build a better Baltimore County,” Olszewski said. “As we work together to make Baltimore County more innovative, transparent and responsive to county residents, they will be empowered to lead change and modernize our government.”

Police Chief Transition

Chief Sheridan has announced that he plans to retire in six months. He will remain on the job while the County conducts a national search for his successor. Sheridan has served a total of 13 years as the County’s police chief from January 2017 to the present, and previously from 1996 to 2007. He served as Maryland State Police Superintendent from 2007 to 2011, and prior to his role as County Police Chief, he served in the Maryland State Police for 30 years.

“Chief Sheridan is a first-class public safety professional who is well-respected by his officers and the community,” said Olszewski. “We are very grateful for his service and that he has agreed to continue in his role as we take the time to select someone to replace him who will maintain the same high standards of service to our constituents and will achieve the consistently positive results we have come to expect in Baltimore County."

Dori Henry to Serve as Director of Communications

Olszewski also named Dori Henry to lead his Office of Communications, which will play an integral role in his efforts to expand government transparency and foster open communication and collaborative decision-making with residents and other stakeholders. She will begin on December 17.

Henry now serves as Communications Director for the Bloomberg American Health Initiative. Previous positions include Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs at the U.S. Department of Labor and Director of Communications at the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, now known as the Maryland Department of Health. She worked in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice as a special assistant to the Assistant Attorney General, and has been a speechwriter and a reporter covering the Maryland General Assembly. She has a Master of Science degree in journalism from Boston University.


Funds More than $8 Million Increase to Add School Counselors, Social Workers, Psychologists, and 19 Police School Resource Officers

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz will propose 109.5 additional positions for school counselors, social workers, psychologists and Police School Resource Officers in his annual budget to be presented to the County Council on Thursday, April 12. Also included are additional health assistants and bus attendants. This investment is geared to addressing the ever growing mental health needs of County school students. The personnel additions further the significant $13.6 million of investments in school safety and security accelerated by Kamenetz after a 2012 County high school shooting.

“In Baltimore County, our budgets continually reflect a commitment to ensure that our schools are healthy learning environments,” said Kamenetz. “Since 2011, we invested $13.6 million to reinforce all school doors and windows, adding security cameras and controlled entry. With this budget, we add necessary personnel to ensure that we are reaching the mental health needs of every child to avoid incidents of disruption."

Increase in Student Services Personnel

The County Executive’s budget that he will present to the County Council next week includes an increase of more than $8 million to fund an additional 109.5 positions in the area of student support personnel and to expand Baltimore County’s Police School Resource Officer program.

Kamenetz is proposing two School Climate Support Teams to address students with complex needs and to assist schools with conflict management strategies — one for elementary schools and one for high schools. 

If adopted, the budget would add more than 22 social workers, 23 counselors, and 18 school psychologists to the Baltimore County Public Schools, while also funding additional pupil personnel workers, health assistants, and bus attendants.

“I am very appreciative that County Executive Kamenetz recognizes the important role that student service personnel play in creating a positive school climate, and that his budget proposal will fund these initiatives,” stated Interim School Superintendent Verletta White.  “The best way to prevent disciplinary and disruptive issues in our schools is to recognize and address the important role that mental health plays in student safety.”

“I believe in being proactive,” said Council Chair Julian Jones. “Doing everything that we can to ensure our school system has the resources it needs to help our children before they are in trouble is the appropriate thing to do.”

19 Additional Police School Resource Officers Added to Budget

The County Executive’s budget proposal will also include 19 additional Police School Resource Officers, increasing the County’s total from 65 officers to 84. With this proposal, one officer will be added to each of the County’s 10 police precincts and be assigned to work with the elementary schools in that area on school security issues. The additional 9 officers will be added to the current school allocation based upon review by Police Chief Sheridan and Superintendent White.

“School Resource Officers have proven to be a critical component in not only responding to incidents, but more importantly, to preventing incidents before they occur,” said Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan. “If approved by the County Council, we will have these additional officers in place before the beginning of school in the fall.”

 Baltimore County Has Invested $13.6 Million in School Security Since 2011

Since 2011, the Kamenetz administration has invested $13.6 million to safeguard schools by installing security cameras and card reader door locks in all Baltimore County elementary schools and enhancing these security measures in middle and high schools. This funding initiative increased the number of school cameras by 400%, from 1,150 to 4,600; newly installing them in all elementary schools, and enhancing existing cameras and adding them as needed in middle and high schools. In the same timeframe, the number of card reader door locks in schools more than doubled from 261 to 583, providing an important measure of security for routine schooldays as well as in emergencies.

The County is now completing the installation of video dashboard technology that provides public safety officials with instant access to video feeds from security cameras at schools, libraries and other public facilities; as well giving them direct access to live traffic cameras on state highways. GPS systems are now installed in County school buses through a partnership between County government and Baltimore County Public Schools.

“The events of the past few months have moved us all.  No community, no school, and no family is immune from the fear that takes place after every school shooting incident,” concluded Kamenetz. “As government officials we have no more important responsibility than to make sure we do all that we can to protect our students and our teachers each and every day.”


Police Department cleared 74% of cases

Baltimore County recorded 35 homicides in 2017, and the police department has cleared 74.2% of the cases. 74% of the County homicides were determined as domestic or associate related, meaning that the victims were known to the assailant, and were not random in nature. 

“One homicide is one too many,” said Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, “but I am very proud of our police officers, who work closely with our residents, keeping our neighborhoods safe.”

Per capita, the county’s homicide rate equates to four per 100,000 residents. By comparison, in 1992 the county's homicide rate stood at 6 per 100,000 residents.  Last year there were also 35 homicides committed in Baltimore County.   The County’s 74.2% clearance rate exceeds national clearance rates, which averaged 59.4%, according to the latest 2016 FBI data.

“The men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department work day and night to secure our safety,” said Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan.  “Homicides are very difficult to predict from year to year, and it takes well-trained officers working tirelessly in neighborhoods to build relationships to try and prevent these crimes from happening.”

 “We will continue to make public safety our number one priority,” concluded Baltimore County Executive Kamenetz.  “Nothing is more important to the well-being of our County residents.”


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017