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Baltimore Co. Council confirms Sheridan as police chief, OKs charter commission over Kach objections

Baltimore Co. Council votes to expand party crackdown near Towson University

The Baltimore County Council on Tuesday unanimously confirmed Terrence Sheridan as county police chief, marking the second time he will take the helm of the county Police Department.

Sheridan, who's been acting chief since January, served in the post from 1996 to 2007 before becoming superintendent of the Maryland State Police until 2011. County Executive Kevin Kamenetz announced last month he had picked Sheridan to replace James Johnson, who was chief for about a decade.

"I know you're really a great crime fighter," Council Chairman Tom Quirk, a Catonsville Democrat, told Sheridan.

In addition, the council voted 5-2 — after debate — to establish a county charter review commission. Councilmen Wade Kach, of Cockeysville and Todd Crandell of Dundalk, both Republicans, voted against the resolution.

Kach said he believes some appointees of the commission, who were picked by council members and Kamenetz, have conflicts of interest because they have lobbied county government on development issues, or work for law firms that represent county contractors.

"How can we guarantee that all members of the commission will be working with the public interest in mind?" Kach asked.

But other members took issue with Kach's objections, saying the process will provide checks and balance because recommendations made by the commission ultimately will go before voters for approval.

Councilwoman Vicki Almond, a Reisterstown Democrat, said Kach had "spread misinformation and fear about a commission that hasn't even met yet and hasn't made one single recommendation."

"Let's give this commission a chance," she said.

County voters approved a ballot question in November authorizing a review of the charter.

In other business, the council unanimously approved expansion of a program meant to crack down on unruly parties near Towson University and University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

The ordinance applies to gatherings of four or more people that cause "substantial disturbance of the peace." Violators could face fines and community service. Landlords can be fined and lose their rental license if their tenants are repeat offenders.

Last year the county enacted a pilot program with those provisions for some neighborhoods near the university, as well in areas of Arbutus near UMBC. The bill approved Tuesday will expand the areas covered to West Towson, Rodgers Forge, Loch Raven Village and Knettishall.

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