Last week, County Executive John Olszewski announced 21-year Baltimore Police Department veteran Melissa Hyatt as his nominee for Baltimore County’s new police chief.
If approved, Hyatt will join the Baltimore County Police Department in mid-June.
“I feel honored to be chosen for the opportunity to serve the citizens and police officers of Baltimore County. I have dedicated my life to public safety and I am excited to continue to serve,” said Hyatt, a lifelong Baltimore County resident.
“This was an important decision for the residents of Baltimore County and the officers of the Baltimore County Police Department,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “We had an extremely talented pool of candidates to choose from, making the selection a difficult one, but Chief Hyatt stood out as the right candidate for this position. I am confident that she brings the leadership and vision necessary to continue to build a safer and better Baltimore County.”
She has previously served as the Vice President for Security for Johns Hopkins University and Medicine. Prior to that, she served for more than 20 years with the Baltimore Police Department, where she held senior leadership roles including Chief of Staff, Chief of Patrol, Chief of Special Operations & Development, and Chief of the Special Operations Division.
“Hyatt’s specialization was in incident management. She served as incident commander for Baltimore City’s Violence Reduction Initiative and many large scale public events to include the Star-Spangled Spectacular, Light City, the Baltimore Marathon, and the Baltimore Grand Prix,” stated the Johns Hopkins University description of Hyatt’s position.
Hyatt will be the first woman to serve as BCoPD chief.
Hyatt’s nomination is a culmination of a police search started in December of last year when it was announced that Chief Terry Sheridan, who had served since 2017, would be retiring.
“I’m thankful for Chief Sheridan’s steadfast leadership and dedication to public safety here in Baltimore County and across the state of Maryland,” Olszewski said. “He has been a lifetime public servant, dedicating more than 30 years to the Maryland State Police and a collective 14 years with the Baltimore County Police Department.”
In February, two policing town halls were held in order together input on what civilians wanted from a police chief.
During the east-side town hall, Olszewski’s office said they launched a comprehensive search, hoping to attract a wealth of applicants from around the nation. At that time, they received over 50 applicants from a mix of internal and external candidates from across the country and were in the process of whittling that down to their top 10.
These finalists were interviewed by a panel of members selected by Olszewski.
One member of the panel is Councilwoman Cathy Bevins (D-6), Drew Vetter, the former director of the Mayor Catherine Pugh’s Office of Criminal Justice and the current deputy administrative officer for Olszewski’s office, Baltimore County State’s Attorney Scott Shellenberger, and TJ Smith, former chief spokesperson and communications advisor for the Baltimore Police Department and current press secretary for the County Executive also were chosen.
Dorothy Lennig, the Director of the Marjorie Cook Legal Clinic at House of Ruth Maryland, will be representing the non-profit side, and Crystal Francis, a Dundalk native who currently serves a senior public policy analyst for a federal agency and has worked in civil service for 12 years, Valerie Fraling, a Afro-American columnist, and Wayne Brooks, a Community Service Officer and paralegal at Baltimore Police Department represented the civilian side.