Cornelius J. Behan

The Baltimore Sun

During his 17-year tenure as Baltimore County police chief, Cornelius J. Behan was credited with reorganizing and modernizing the 1,400- member department while stressing professionalism and discipline.

He urged greater cooperation between the city and county departments and established Community Oriented Police Enforcement units that became models of community policing. When officers asked for 9 mm semiautomatics to replace their existing revolvers, Behan made sure they got them, along with bulletproof vests.

Retired since 1993, Behan continues to maintain a busy schedule.

"For the first 10 years, I was liaison to Congress and state legislatures for the Major Cities Chiefs Association, and for the last 14 have been an executive in residence at Johns Hopkins University, where I lecture on police matters, leadership and management," said Behan.

"I'm also on the Cardinal's Independent Review Board, where my job is to make sure that investigations of pedophile priests are complete and get to the truth," he said.

"I try and play golf at least once a week and am a member of the Maryland Golf and Country Clubs in Bel Air. I have nine grandchildren and see them quite frequently. But, I miss being involved in major issues of law enforcement," he said. "What I don't miss is the aggravation and the pressures of being police chief. They are enormous, and they come from every quarter of the community. People are concerned about what we're responsible for."

Behan, who has been an outspoken champion of gun control for years, remains a critic of the National Rifle Association, which he says stands in the way of reasonable gun control legislation.

A former New Yorker, Behan has been married to his wife, Patricia, for 59 years, and has no plans to leave the state.

"I'm not interested in leaving Maryland. It's a great place to work and live," he said.

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