An inside job? Will there really be a nationwide search for the next police chief?
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 9th February 2019
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Sources inside the BCPD say that Col. Robert McCullough will become the next chief of police. (Photo credit/The Baltimore Sun)

The Baltimore Post has been in contact with sources deep inside the Baltimore County Police Department. They revealed that the next chief of police will be Robert McCullough, who was recently promoted to the rank of Colonel. Col. McCullough is one of four colonels serving under current Chief of Police Terry Sheridan, who is expected to retire sometime in June.

In Baltimore County, the police chief serves at the pleasure of the county executive.

Johnny O had announced a planned nationwide search for which he appointed a panel to interview possible candidates, according to this article from The Baltimore Sun.

On February 1, the Post attempted to obtain photos of the four current colonels in preparation for this column. Below is a response we received regarding our request:

Buzz,
I’m sorry, I missed your first email.

Employee photographs are personnel records which the department can’t release. There are four Colonels. Colonels Hlavach, McCollough, Jones and Folderauer.

There have been rumors for quite some time about the job being filled from inside the department, and our attempts to get more information via phone yielded no response. That was when we decided to dig a little deeper.

The Post even tried to contact the Baltimore County FOP President, Cole Weston, who also did not return our calls.

We can only speculate at this point, but in a department the size of Baltimore County’s, secrets are hard to keep. Our sources keep stating the same claim–Johnny O made the decision to consider outside candidates based upon who he believed the community wants as the next chief. He supposedly got that feedback while on the campaign trail.

In the world of politics, there is the standard of “quid pro quo” that is often in play. The Post believes that Johnny O made promises to community leaders that quite possibly could upset the proverbial apple cart now that the new county executive must stand behind his word.

This is very similar to the issue covered in our previous article on Johnny O’s promise to grant our county’s teachers a 20% raise. If the money is not available for teacher raises, there is not much Johnny O can do in the way of maneuvering.

The appointment of a new police chief is another matter. The Post also believes that this is a politically motivated attempt by Johnny O to undermine the panel that is supposed to interview candidates from outside the department.

There was one particular quote in the Sun article that drew our attention:

County officials say they will keep applicants’ names confidential throughout the search process.

Johnny O also announced that there will be two meetings in which the public can take part. One meeting will be held on the east side of Baltimore County, and another on the west side.

We wonder how the citizens can take an active role in this pivotal decision without having any background information on the candidates. We saw what happened in Baltimore City when the search for the next Police Commissioner went awry because of improper vetting.

In closing, we want to stress that, despite what we believe to be reliable sources, nothing is etched in stone until the prospective candidate for the position signs on the dotted line.

Time will tell if the old saying, “Where there is smoke, there is fire,” will apply to this political intrigue.

Hopefully, someone will step up and provide more insight into this very important issue.