Baltimore County

Baltimore Co. police spokesman Toohey lands job with state office

After almost 14 years as the voice of the Baltimore County police, Bill Toohey will leave the department on Friday, take a week off and start a new job on Feb. 1.

Toohey, a former radio reporter and spokesman for two U.S. senators, is to be the communications director for the Governor's Office of Crime Control and Prevention, which coordinates programs, grants and research for public safety and corrections agencies.

"It's a great expansion of my professional world and I'm really looking forward to that," said Toohey, 64, who was informed in November that he was being let go from the Police Department to make way for a uniformed officer. He has remained there since then to help with the transition.

His replacement, Lt. Robert McCullough, and Police Chief James W. Johnson plan to attend a gathering on Friday to bid Toohey farewell. Even so, they may be running into each other quite often, since Toohey's new office is just down the street from police headquarters in Towson.

His new boss, Kristen M. Mahoney, said Wednesday that she had labored without a full-time spokesman since her appointment as executive director in January 2007. When she heard that Toohey would be available, she said, "I just thought I should give him a call and see if he wanted to help me."

Mahoney said she has "some really good successes to talk about and share with prosecutors, police and the community," and that she wants Toohey to use his experience in the public eye and his news media contacts to help her do that.

Toohey, whose annual salary will be $90,000, said that when he learned he would no longer be working for the police, he had "a number of conversations with a number of people" about potential jobs, "and this surfaced, to my delight."

Retirement is not an option, said Toohey, who spent more than two decades at radio stations in New York and Baltimore before becoming a spokesman for Sens. Paul S. Sarbanes and Barbara A. Mikulski and the Baltimore housing department.

"I see no reason to stop what I'm doing," he said. "I'm going to have a chance to be involved in a wide array of criminal-justice programs and to learn about them at some depth."