Huff told to return $4,000 public-safety radio following DUI arrest

Baltimore County Councilman Todd Huff has returned a $4,000 public-safety radio he was given by the county fire chief last year following his arrest last weekend on drunken-driving charges,

County Executive Kevin Kamenetz told Huff to return the device Saturday after the county executive was briefed by the police chief on Huff's arrest, according to county public-safety spokeswoman Elise Armacost. No other County Council members have similar radios issued by the county, she said.

Armacost said Huff asked Fire Chief John Hohman for the radio about a year ago. She said he had cited his involvement in the Towsontown Spring Festival, an annual two-day event sponsored by the Towson Chamber of Commerce, as well as other Towson-area events, as the reason for the request.

Huff, a Lutherville Republican, is a longtime organizer of the spring festival and has served as its chairman. He did not return a phone call Thursday seeking comment about the radio.

Kamenetz's chief of staff, Don Mohler, referred all questions about the radio to Armacost.

A public-safety radio allows a user to monitor police and fire communications.

Armacost said Huff could access only those channels that are available to any private citizen who owns a scanner. Huff was not able to communicate with police or fire personnel on the radio because that capability had been disabled, she said. The sheriff and the directors of public works and the health department have radios similar to the one Huff had.

Huff said Monday he would give up his county-owned Jeep Grand Cherokee, which he was driving Saturday when he was stopped by police on York Road.

According to charging documents in the case, Huff called Police Chief Jim Johnson after he was taken to the Towson precinct and left a message asking him to call him back. He called Johnson twice more that night but did not leave messages, officials said this week.

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