"I am delighted that Deborah Richardson is willing to accept this new responsibility," Kamenetz said in a statement. "She brings a wealth of experience combined with a firm but compassionate approach to public safety."
Richardson's appointment is pending approval from the county council.
Richardson, who has served as deputy director under the retiring Jim O'Neill for the last decade, has worked in corrections for 33 years. A graduate of UMBC with a master's degree in management from Johns Hopkins University, Richardson began working with the state Division of Corrections as a correctional officer/specialist/counselor in 1979.
According to the announcement, Richardson was key in the process of developing new policies and procedures for the county's detention center in Towson, and was responsible for both consolidating and expanding the facilities.
"I am very pleased and honored to take on this new leadership position," Richardson said in a statement. "Everything we do contributes to enhancing public safety and working to prepare offenders for release in a manner that reduces the likelihood of them re-offending.
"I'm especially eager to work with our excellent correctional staff to continue using technology to improve operations by implementing video arraignment procedures, establishing electronic medical records, and maximizing the benefits of computer-aided training," she said.
Richardson is a regional representative to the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission and tutors underprivileged children, volunteers at libraries, and directs her church's youth ministries.
Richardson will replace longtime administrator O'Neill, whom Kamenetz said in a statement "is an outstanding professional whose philosophy of collaboration and partnership has successfully led this important public safety agency through significant transitions and established the County's Detention Center as one of the most effective in the region."