BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Baltimore County Police Union wants to oust Baltimore County Police Commissioner Melissa Hyatt, union officials say.
Hyatt is Baltimore County’s first female police chief. Hyatt, a graduate of the FBI National Academy, spent two decades working her way up the Baltimore City Police Department. She was also Vice President for Safety at Johns Hopkins University.
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On Monday night, the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police voted to remove Hyatt during a meeting at the Holiday Inn in Timonium, Maryland. The meeting was scheduled for 7:30 p.m
The union said in a letter to Baltimore County CEO John Olszewski that it had lost confidence in Hyatt’s ability to run the Baltimore County Police Department.
Olszewski responded to the union with a three-sentence statement.
“I remain fully confident in Chief Hyatt and their ability to lead the Baltimore County Police Department,” he said. “Under her leadership, the department has transitioned to a more data-driven, community-focused model of policing. Violent crime is down 16 percent last year and homicides are down more than 50 percent so far this year.”
Ahead of the meeting, union members said in a social media post that they would discuss grievances, local elections, staff, the Police Accountability Board and the Police Memorial/Fallen Heroes Ceremony during the meeting.
Topics for discussion include: Complaints, Local Elections, Staffing, the Police Accountability Board and the Police Memorial/Fallen Heroes Ceremony.
— Baltimore County FOP Lodge 4 (@BaltoCoFOP4) May 23, 2022
The letter lists a variety of grievances the union says it has against Hyatt, ranging from department disciplinary proceedings to a spike in violent crime at Towson.
- On March 2, 2022, while serving on the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission, Chief Hyatt voted to establish an Internal Complaints Disciplinary Procedure that would have eliminated the judicial procedures for Maryland police officers.
- Addressed by Chief Hyatt at least five (5) incidents of sexual harassment and/or hostile work environment involving members of the Executive Corps. In all cases, the accused continued to work undisturbed on their assignment.
- Chief Hyatt refuses to answer questions at in-service training. This is the only time of the year that officers can interact and openly communicate with the Chief.
- Chief Hyatt’s hiring of executives and directors outside of Baltimore County has resulted in a lack of experience and knowledge of the agency’s history. For example, there are many errors in calculating pay and overtime. This has resulted in several violations of the Fair Labor Standard Act that have yet to be addressed.
- Chief Hyatt’s lack of accessibility for membership, demonstrated by the installation of locks and a camera on the door of the Chief’s Office exterior suite, and minimal appointment times.
- Chief Hyatt is unwilling to negotiate directly with FOP leadership to try to address underlying issues.
- Chief Hyatt has failed to adequately address the rise in crime in Baltimore County. Citizen groups have raised safety concerns about members of the FOP. An example is the recent increase in violent crime at Towson Town Center.
- Chief Hyatt made the decision to have Tia Bynum’s name read at the Baltimore County Police Department’s memorial service. Tia Bynum is a disgraced member of our department who was implicated in the abduction and murder of two children and the abduction and torture of the children’s mother. The act of honoring her at our memorial was the final blow to the morale of the women and men who serve Baltimore County.
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A press release issued Monday said the union represents 1,760 sworn officers.
Hyatt responded to the union’s demand in a statement released late Monday. She said she treasures her three-year tenure as police chief and has enjoyed interacting with the county’s hard-working officers. She described her past relationship with the former union leadership as “productive.
“Unfortunately, within the current leadership of the police union, a small group of my critics have encouraged their members to seek my removal from office,” she said. “While I’m disappointed to hear about this effort, I’m not discouraged.”
Hyatt said she remains committed to leading the police department into the future and will not be distracted from that mission.
She noted that it is a challenging time to work in law enforcement and that she is proud of the officers who have navigated “through unprecedented police reform legislation and a global pandemic.”
“My work has been, and will continue to be, focused on our commitment to fighting crime, building and nurturing meaningful relationships within the community, increasing accountability, expanding our employee wellness program, and providing our members with the best training and equipment ‘ she called.
Baltimore County Police Union President David Folderauer spoke to WJZ after the unanimous vote.
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“These are our police. We’ll take care of it,” he told WJZ. “We don’t want a division like this. . . . It’s not in our nature to have to do something like that, but members clearly didn’t feel heard.”
https://baltimore.cbslocal.com/2022/05/23/baltimore-county-police-union-says-it-has-lost-confidence-in-leadership-of-bcpd-chief-melissa-hyatt/ The Baltimore County Police Union says it has lost confidence in the leadership of BCPD chief Melissa Hyatt – CBS Baltimore