Baltimore County Police Department

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Baltimore County Police Department
Abbreviation BCOPD
MD - Baltimore County Police.png
Patch of the Baltimore County Police Department.
Seal of Baltimore County, Maryland.png
Seal of Baltimore County, Maryland
Flag of Baltimore County, Maryland.png
Flag of Baltimore County, Maryland
Agency overview
Formed 1874
Employees 2492
Legal personality Governmental: Government agency
Jurisdictional structure
Operations jurisdiction* State of Maryland, United States
Map of Maryland highlighting Baltimore County.svg
Map of Baltimore County Police Department's jurisdiction.
Size 612 mi
Population 817,455 (2013)
General nature
Operational structure
Headquarters 700 E. Joppa Road
Towson, Maryland 21286
39°24′0.6″N 76°35′23″W / 39.400167°N 76.58972°W / 39.400167; -76.58972
Officers 1,824
Unsworn members 244
Agency executive James Johnson, Chief of Police
Detention Centers 1
Automobiles 860
Boats 3
Helicopter Eurocopter AS350s 3
Dogs 28
* Divisional agency: Division of the country, over which the agency has usual operational jurisdiction.

The Baltimore County Police Department is the primary law enforcement agency for Baltimore County, Maryland. They have been accredited by CALEA since 1984.

Police chief[edit]

The current Chief is James Johnson. Chief Johnson took over as Chief on May 31, 2007, Chief James Johnson's formal ceremony was held that July when Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley named Chief Terrence B. Sheridan as the new Superintendent of the Maryland State Police.

Baltimore County Executive, James T. Smith, Jr. nominated Johnson for the position of Police Chief upon the exit of Sheridan. Johnson was subsequently approved by the County Council. Chief James Johnson has held every sworn rank in the Baltimore County Police Department, and started his career as a cadet at the age of 18; he has a 30 plus years with the department.


1874 The Baltimore County Police Department was established by the Maryland State Legislature on April 11, 1874. The Maryland Legislature approved what became Chapter 374 of the Laws of Maryland. This authorized the Baltimore County Commissioners "to appoint such number of policemen as they may deem necessary, for the better protection of persons and property; the number not to exceed thirty at any one time, and to designate such number of said policemen as they may deem advisable, not exceeding five, as chief policemen."

A second provision stated that "the pay of each policeman shall be two dollars per day, except such police as may be mounted; and mounted policemen shall furnish their own horses, trappings, equipments and forage for horses, and the pay of the mounted policemen shall be three dollars per day." On June 17, 1874, the County Commissioners divided the two mile (3 km) portion of the county bordering the Baltimore City boundary into five districts and appointed the first police force. Officers were appointed to one year terms.

1878 County Commissioners were authorized to build a station house at Waverly. The Canton Station was added a year later.

1883 In 1883 a new position was created, Marshal of Police. Charles O. Kemp was appointed to this office. Kemp, a loyal Democrat, had been the Superintendent of the Baltimore County Almshouse. He had served as a trustee for one of the schools in the Fifth District. The new position consolidated the responsibility and control of the police force under one person instead of individual chiefs for each police district.

1885 The first call boxes were installed in the area around Huntington Ave., North Ave., Jones Falls., and 28th Street.

1886 A new station was built in Mount Winans.

1888 A 17-square-mile (44 km2) portion of Baltimore County was annexed by Baltimore City. The number of officers in the Baltimore County Police Department was cut from 33 to 10 as officers and station houses were absorbed into the Baltimore City Police Department.

1891 Stations were built at Govans and Arlington

1892 The Mount Washington Station opened.

1894 Terrence Doyle became the first county officer to be shot when he attempted to arrest two men for breaking into a barn. Doyle was shot six times, but none of the wounds proved serious and he recovered. The two suspects were apprehended.

1902 The Maryland General Assembly passed an act aimed at improving the background of those appointed to the Baltimore County Police force. The act stated: "all appointments hereafter made to the police force of Baltimore County shall be made from the qualified voters thereof, and all applications for such appointments shall be made upon printed blanks to be furnished free of charge by the County Commissioners, wherein the applicant shall set forth in his own handwriting his full name and age, the place and State of his birth, his occupation for two years preceding his application, and such other information as the Commissioners may require touching the merit and fitness of the applicant for the position for which he applies; such application shall be signed by the applicant, with his affidavit that the facts therein set forth are true to the best of his knowledge and belief, and shall contain blanks to be filled in by four reputable citizens of said County, certifying that the applicant is known to them for not less than one year and in character and habits, to the best of their knowledge and belief is in all respects fit for service which he wishes to enter. All appointments shall be hereafter made from applications filed not less than one month or more than two years previous to such appointments; such appointee shall not be less than 21 years nor more than 45 years of age; all officers shall be retired from service at an age not exceeding 58 years."

1903 Telephones were placed in the Arlington, Mount Winans, and Canton stations. County Commissioners approved the purchase of a patrol wagon not to exceed the cost $265.

1912 Officers were granted twelve days of leave per year. Prior to this, officers were on duty seven days a week.

1913 The first female was appointed to the police force as a matron. Two other women, Eva Aldridge and Ruth Jones were appointed to summer positions as Special Officers to protect young girls at the river resorts in the Eastern part of the county.

1916 The first automobile was purchased and the first motorcycle was put into service.

1918 Another 40 square miles (100 km2) of Baltimore County was annexed by Baltimore City. Baltimore County lost 34 of its 43 officers to the Baltimore City Police Department. The Canton, Arlington, Mount Winans, and Gardenville stations also became part of the city.

1920 New stations were built in Pikesville, Halethorpe, Dundalk, Essex, and Fullerton.

1927 A new Baltimore County Police Headquarters was built on Washington Ave. in Towson. The Bureau of Identification was established. Its main purpose was to classify fingerprints and photographs and to serve as an aid in solving crime.

1928 Catonsville Station was built.

1932 A Turnkey at the Pikesville Station was killed by an escaping prisoner. William Hunter, who was 74 at the time, was shot by one of the two prisoners who escaped. Both prisoners were later recaptured.

1939 Applicants were required to pass a written test before being hired as a Baltimore County Police Officer. A one week training program was established.

1940 A plain clothes unit was established and trained to handle criminal investigations.

1941 The police academy opened in Towson.

1942 A two way radio system was installed.

1943 The Edgemere Station was built.

1945 Teletype machines were installed.

1947 A fire at the Towson Station killed two prisoners being held in the lockup despite efforts by officers to pull the bars out of the windows using a tow truck.

1949 The pistol range was opened in Texas, Maryland, next to the County Almshouse. Baltimore County motorcycles became the first in the state to be equipped with two way radios.

1951 The Training Division was formed.

1952 The Traffic Division was formed. Armond Elliott, Frances Jackson, and James Johnson became the first three black officers appointed to the Baltimore County Police Department.

1954 Virginia Weed and Leah Perry became the first two women to be appointed to the Juvenile Protection Bureau with the rank of Sergeant. Parkville Station was opened.

1955 The new Woodlawn Station opened replacing the 20 year old sub-station.

1957 The Accident Investigation Unit was created. The first department manual was distributed.

1958 A mandatory police promotional test was instituted. The first polygraph machine was purchased.

1960 Cadet program instituted

1961 The new Headquarters building opens on Kenilworth Drive. The K9 Unit was formed.

1962 A new station on Wilkens Avenue replaces the Halethorpe and Catonsville stations.

1965 Garrison Station opens on Reisterstown Road.

1966 The new pistol range opens on Dulaney Valley Road.

1969 The new Cockeysville station opens on Wight Avenue.

1972 The Tactical Division was formed.

1973 A new Essex station was built. The Fraternal Order of Police was established.

1974 Precinct 11 Essex creates first mariachi band in county history shortly followed by PC-12 North Point.

1975 The Marine Unit was established.

1976 First female officer promoted to the rank of Major.

1978 Hostage Negotiations Team was created.

1979 Baltimore County Police Foundation was formed.

1981 First black officer promoted to the rank of Lieutenant.

1983 The Police Community Relations Council was established.

1984 Baltimore County officer designs the "McGruff Crime Prevention" stamp. Maryland's first Child Abuse Unit was established in Baltimore County. The Baltimore County Police Department became the first major department in the country to be awarded national accreditation.

1985 North Point Station opened on Wise Avenue.

1987 White Marsh Precinct opened replacing the Fullerton Station.

1990 The first helicopter was placed into service.

1991 The new Woodlawn Precinct opened replacing the one built in 1955.

1993 The Citizen's Police Academy was developed.

1995 First black officer promoted to the rank of Colonel. First female officer promoted to the rank of Colonel.

1996 The new Police Memorial was dedicated the Court House Plaza in Towson.

2001 The new Towson Precinct opened replacing the one built in 1927.


Baltimore County is divided into ten police precincts.  Number 5 is intentionally skipped and will be used if the department needs to expand at a later time.  Most recently, this happened in 2006 when Precinct 4 opened in Pikesville and Precinct 3 moved from Garrison to Franklin.  Former Precincts 10 (Fullerton) and 13 (Edgemere) were absorbed into Precincts 9 and 12, respectively.


  • Male: 87%
  • Female: 13%
  • White: 88%
  • African-American/Black: 10%
  • Hispanic: 1%
  • Asian: 1% [1]


Baltimore County Police Eurocopter AS350 at College Park 100th Anniversary.

The primary patrol vehicle used is the Ford Crown Victoria. Both Dodge and Chevrolet vans are used for prisoner transport. Motorcycle units ride Harley-Davidson Road Kings. The department recently placed 3 new Eurocopter AS350B3 helicopters into service.

In early 2014, the department announced that they would begin to phase out the aging & discontinued Ford Crown Victoria with new Ford Taurus police interceptors.


The primary duty firearms issued are the FNS-40LS[2] .40 caliber pistol, Remington 870 shotgun, Tasers, and Less Lethal beanbag shotguns. M16 patrol rifles are issued to some specifically trained officers. All officers are issued OC spray and an ASP baton.

Rank structure and insignia[edit]

The Baltimore County Police Department rank structure is as listed:

Rank Insignia
Chief Of Police
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US-O6 insignia.svg
US-O4 insignia.svg
US-O3 insignia.svg
US-O2 insignia.svg
Police Officer First Class
Police Officer
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See also[edit]


  1. ^ Law Enforcement Management and Administrative Statistics, 2000: Data for Individual State and Local Agencies with 100 or More Officers
  2. ^ Slowik, Max. "Baltimore County PD picks FNS-40LS for duty". Retrieved 21 January 2015. 

External links[edit]