- The Washington Times - Thursday, May 31, 2007

PIKESVILLE, Md. — Baltimore County Police Chief Terrence B. Sheridan’s 42 years of law-enforcement experience made him the best person to lead the Maryland State Police “especially for the times ahead,” Gov. Martin O’Malley said yesterday in announcing the appointment.

Mr. O’Malley cited Chief Sheridan’s 30 years of experience with the state police and 10 years leading a county police department as key qualifications for protecting the state.

“He understands that as our population has changed, that the roles of the county and state police have to constantly be adjusted in order to serve the people to their greatest effectiveness and greatest ability,” Mr. O’Malley said.

Chief Sheridan, 63, worked in the agency’s bureau of drug enforcement, the special operations bureau and internal affairs. He also commanded barracks in Easton and Westminster.

In his new job, he will lead a department with about 2,500 employees and a budget of more than $300 million.

Chief Sheridan said homeland security, highway safety and a rising gang problem will be important areas to address.

Of the gang problem, he said the state has to make sure it has intelligence bases throughout the state that are connected to local, state and federal authorities.

“I think we need to, as a state police organization, work very closely with all other law-enforcement agencies to ensure we’re doing all we can to address this emerging problem,” Chief Sheridan said.

Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith announced that Col. James W. Johnson, a career Baltimore County police officer, will be the new police chief in the county.

Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, also thanked Col. Thomas Hutchins, who was appointed to the top state police post in 2003 by then-Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican.

Col. Hutchins, who was elected as a Republican delegate from Charles County in 1994 after retiring from the state police, was appointed by Mr. Ehrlich after Superintendent Edward Norris resigned after his indictment on public corruption charges in December 2003.

Mr. O’Malley said Col. Hutchins “has done a very capable and able and admirable job” in leading the force over the years, a period when stability was needed after Norris’ departure. Mr. O’Malley described Col. Hutchins as “that bridge to this new future for the state police.”

Mr. O’Malley said he decided on a change in leadership, because “every department and every aspect of government needs to change from time to time in order to deliver what the public expects from their government, given the new and emerging challenges of our times.”

“There are different challenges now affecting the state of Maryland than there were, say, even four or five years ago,” he said, adding that the decision was “in no way casting aspersions on Colonel Hutchins.”

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