New collaborative initiative aims to build future-focused pathways for law enforcement and public safety-focused careers in Baltimore County
TOWSON, MD — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced the Community Policing Partnership (CPP), a new joint-initiative that will build pathways for public safety-focused careers in Baltimore County and ensure the next generation of law enforcement reflects the diversity of communities and are trained in 21st-century policing skills and values.
The CPP initiative is a partnership between the Baltimore County Police Department (BCoPD), the Baltimore County Police Academy, the Community College of Baltimore County (CCBC), Baltimore County Public Schools (BCPS), and the Office of the County Executive.
“Baltimore County is committed to ensuring the next generation of law enforcement reflects the rich diversity of our communities and is provided with innovative and inclusive training to help prepare them to address the needs of our neighborhoods,” Olszewski said. “The Community Policing Partnership will coordinate efforts across County government to strategically develop pathways for modern public safety careers, continue strengthening the diversity of our workforce, and ensure Baltimore County builds a stronger future together.”
“The Community Policing Partnership Program aligns directly with our focus to recruit and hire service-minded individuals while increasing diversity within the Baltimore County Police Department,” said Chief Melissa Hyatt. “This partnership provides an opportunity to build upon our current efforts to ensure that our agency reflects the communities we serve throughout Baltimore County.”
“We are happy to serve as an educational partner in this initiative that relies on our collective strengths for recruiting and training ‘home grown’ law enforcement officials,” said CCBC President Sandra Kurtinitis. “We offer a 21st century education to fill 21st century jobs which includes a Criminal Justice program that addresses modern-day issues. We want to ensure our graduates are well equipped to effectively protect, serve and earn the trust of the communities they serve.”
“Baltimore County Public Schools is committed to providing students with access to programs and pathways that prepare them for careers in critical fields such as law enforcement and public safety,” Superintendent Darryl Williams said. “We are grateful for the partnership of the County Executive, BCPD and CCBC and their ongoing commitment to support and invest in BCPS students.”
Like most departments nationwide, the Baltimore County Police Department continues to face staffing shortages and a lack of diversity in its workforce. The National Police Foundation reports that 86 percent of police departments nationwide are experiencing officer shortages and face a lack of diversity in their ranks.
Under the leadership of Chief Hyatt, the Baltimore County Police Department has taken considerable steps to recruit and retain a diverse workforce, including hiring the department’s first Chief Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Officer; creating and expanding community-driven recruitment and hiring events; and signing the 30x30 pledge in support of ongoing work to increase women representation in law enforcement. However, disparities in representation remain, as 76 percent of the Department is currently White, compared to 60 percent of the County’s population.
In order to modernize current law enforcement instruction and training, attract diverse and non-traditional applicants, and strengthen the pipeline to public safety careers in Baltimore County, each of the CPP partners are implementing efforts within their respective organizations. For example:
- BCoPD is now offering a variety of professional development opportunities that reflects a commitment to community policing, including anti-bias training, de-escalation techniques, and supporting community members experiencing a behavioral health crisis.
- BCoPD will continue to support young learners through mentoring, guest lectures, and career exploration events.
- BCoPD is implementing a program to allow sworn police officers and cadets to enroll in an accelerated program to obtain their Associates degree in Criminal Justice from CCBC.
- CCBC is expanding new electives to provide opportunities for students in the Criminal Justice program, including courses on community policing, civil rights, restorative justice, interpersonal communication, and mental health.
- CCBC is updating course titles and content to better align with current practices (e.g. changing “Juvenile Delinquency” to “Juvenile Justice”)
- BCPS is expanding internship and apprenticeship opportunities with the Baltimore County Police Department and Baltimore County Public Safety Cadets; evaluating existing Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (HSEP) Career and Technical Education (CTE) curricula to better align with the necessary job skills; and expanding the HSEP career programs to new schools.
BCPS, CCBC, the Police Academy, and the Police Department will continue to evaluate cross-organizational data and identify opportunities to implement programs to support the future of community policing education and training programs in Baltimore County.
The Baltimore County Police Department is the 21st largest police department in the country, serving over 850,000 residents and protecting over 600 square miles of urban, suburban, rural, and waterfront communities.