June 12, 2014 10:16 am ET
Financial Forms, other evidence indicate Police Chief violating County Code.
Source: Where Does Chief Johnson Live?
Writer’s note: For legal and ethical reasons, this blog post will take a different tone than my usual posts. However, I believe that this information needs to come to light.
On January 20, 2013, Chief Jim Johnson of the Baltimore County Police Department testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee about the need for federal action on conducting background checks, banning assault rifles, and limiting magazine sizes. Chief Johnson said in his testimony that he has seen “an explosion in firepower since the assault weapons ban expired”—words that briefly made him a darling among the liberal media.
Chief Johnson commented at the hearing that “background checks work.” But here in Baltimore County, it looks as though the Chief’s own disclosures may yield a blurry picture when it comes to his background information.
Nominated to the office on May 31, 2007, Chief Johnson purchased a home in Middle River the following August. According to state records, Johnson claimed the home as his primary residence. Johnson and his wife previously lived in Fallston, Harford County, and held on to their former residence. Another interesting fact is that the chief’s wife runs a business out of the Fallston address.
Presumably, the Chief purchased his new home to fulfill the Baltimore County Code requirement that he be a resident of the County. A review of Chief Johnson’s required financial disclosure form, his voter registration information, and his motor vehicle license all list his Middle River property as his primary address.
Yet, rumors have persisted within the police department for years that Chief Johnson has always maintained his residence in Fallston.
My observation of Chief Johnson’s Middle River house, made over the course of several months along with private investigators, has shown that his department issued car is almost never in the driveway. Investigators sent to his Fallston house took film footage and photographs of his police vehicle and private cars parked in front of his house. Investigators also did not find any evidence of the chief living at his Middle River address.
BGE records also indicate that the monthly average electricity use for the past year was $16.73 for the Middle River address. Based on that amount, the utility stated that the “property was probably vacant and no one lives there.” The monthly average use at the Fallston house was $222.95 a month, an amount that BGE customer service said “indicates a family is living at the address.”
All personal information was redacted to protect the Chief’s family privacy.
County Executive Kamanetz, most members of the County Council, and FOP President Cole Weston did not reply to my requests for comment on this article. Councilwoman Bevins, of Middle River, replied that she recently had fielded a comment on her Facebook account accusing the Chief of not living in Baltimore County, and that when asked he told her that he lived in Middle River.
Meanwhile, the Chief’s spokesperson—Ms. Armacost—sent the following reply:
Police Chief Jim Johnson lives in Baltimore County.
Thank for your interest,
Director of Media and Communications,
Baltimore County Public Safety
Baltimore County State’s Attorney, Scott Shellenberger, told me in person that he would comment on this article, but he has not yet forwarded any statements. Mr. Shellenberger’s thoughts are particularly interesting because violations of the County Code are misdemeanor crimes that carry a fine, as well as a separate civil fine of up to $1,000 per day. Making false statements or certifications in documents maintained in accordance with the County Code are criminal offenses as well.
And that is all that I have to say on this for now. I will write more on this matter when information becomes available, or when I believe it is appropriate. Until then, I will let the facts and the PDF files speak for themselves.