Baltimore County Appoints First Members To Police Accountability Board
Baltimore County Council approved eight members of its new nine-member police accountability board yesterday. The appointment of the ninth member was delayed because they missed their initial “job interview” hearing.
Towson will be represented by Clare Petersberger, a Unitarian minister and volunteer chaplain for Baltimore County police and fire departments.
Maryland passed the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 in May, which requires each county to nominate members to receive public comments on police actions and recommend policy changes.
County Executive Johnny Olszewski expressed his hopes for the board in a statement.
“I’m confident that these nominees will use their varied personal experience and unique perspectives to help shape a set of recommendations that will improve law enforcement and public safety countywide,” Olszewski said.
All counties are required to have a Police Accountability Board, but the specifics of how it is run are up to county governments. Unlike Baltimore County, Baltimore City’s board has subpoena power and allows convicted criminals to serve once they have completed their sentence.
Baltimore County’s board is comparatively toothless, lacking investigative powers, and it is required to use the County Attorney for legal counsel.
The nine members Olszewski nominated include one from each county district and two at large members. The nominees are:
- District 1: Peter Fitzpatrick is a registered nurse with Children’s National Hospital living in Catonsville.
- District 2: Linda Shields is an attorney residing in Pikesville.
- District 3: Bishop Ralph Dennis is a senior pastor living in Sparks-Glencoe.
- District 4: John Chambers, formerly with the Baltimore City Police Department, living in Randallstown.
- District 5: Francis Ward, a longtime 9-1-1 police dispatcher in Baltimore County, living in Nottingham. The County Council delayed his appointment.
- District 6: Clare Petersberger from Towson has been a volunteer chaplain for the Baltimore County Fire and Police Departments.
- District 7: Dawn Dishon-Feuer, an office manager, lives in Dundalk.
The two at-large members are:
- Kara White is a social worker who lives in Parkville.
- Nigeria Rolling-Ford is a paralegal who lives in Randallstown.