Anne Arundel County Council confirms new police chief Amal Awad, passes agritourism legislation

The Anne Arundel County Council unanimously confirmed Amal Awad as the new police chief during Monday night’s meeting, making her the first woman, person of color and out member of the LGBTQ+ community to permanently serve in the role.

The confirmation was the council’s first, mandated by a charter amendment voters approved during the 2020 election.


Councilwoman Jessica Haire, R-Edgewater, who was part of County Executive Steuart Pittman’s interview panel, said, “her heart came through.”

All councilmembers spoke of her qualifications and apparent passion for the job as they cast their votes in support. During the hearing, they asked her about the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, her vision of a Civilian Review Board in Anne Arundel County, and her department plans. They spoke about the individual conversations many of them had with her before the hearing.


She joined the meeting via Zoom with a backdrop of a warmly lit Christmas tree. Answering a flurry of questions from councilmembers, she said she does not support the absolute repeal of the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. She also spoke about the need to build trust in the community now that she is chief of police.

“I know me, and I know my peers, and I know we are guided by the truth, the facts,” Awad said. “I think it’s important for the community... that they truly consider, ‘Who is my chief? What type of moral compass guides my chief?’”

Awad said she is looking forward to earning the trust of the community.

A 27-year law enforcement veteran, she spent much of her career at the Prince George’s County Police Department and most recently served as chief of the Hyattsville Police Department.

Anne Arundel’s chief position was vacated Aug. 1 when former Chief Timothy Altomare retired. Awad will take over from Acting Police Chief William Lowry on Dec. 17.

No members of the public submitted written testimony or signed up to provide audio testimony during the public hearing.

Awad’s approval comes three weeks after the council unanimously approved a resolution expressing support of local law enforcement.


Council business

The council also tackled a lengthy agenda of legislation, some familiar to routine attendees, and some new, under the leadership of newly named Chair Sarah Lacey, D-Jessup, and Vice-Chair Lisa Brannigan Rodvien, D-Annapolis.

After several rounds of amendments at previous meetings, the council passed agritourism legislation to change regulations for special events at county farms. The bill sets a limit of 30 events per year with up to 200 people per event on farms larger than 10 acres. Bill 69-20 also would expand the type of events allowed to include “historical and cultural” events. The bill adds a definition for “Farm or Agricultural Heritage Site Special Events” to include parties, receptions and weddings. The bill passed with six votes of support and one vote against by Councilman Nathan Volke, R-Pasadena.

The council also approved resolutions naming Laura Corby as the council’s new administrative officer and Kaley R. Schultze as the new assistant administrative officer. Corby currently serves as the assistant administrative officer, and Schultze currently serves as the county’s coordinator for boards and commissions. They will assume their new roles on Jan. 20.

The body also approved an extension for Acting Budget Director Chris Trumbauer through April 11. Trumbauer is the director of policy and communications and is a senior adviser to Pittman.

The council sought to amend Bill 86-20, subdivision and development legislation that changes the timelines and requirements for site development plans. Several successful amendments targeted exemptions for outdoor seating at restaurants, regulations related to impervious surfaces and the critical area, among other changes. The bill will be heard again on Dec. 21.


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The council also unanimously approved an amendment for Bill 93-20, an effort by Lacey to define “usual and customary constituent services.” If approved by the council, amendments would rewrite the definition and provide specific bounds for what these constituent services can and cannot entail. The amendment prevents councilmembers from exhibiting favoritism and from representing or advocating for residents or business entity in any judicial or quasi-judicial proceeding, or communicating with a decision-making employee of any such body off the record or out of the presence of the parties, among other specific actions.

The body was also set to consider amendments to Bill 94-20, a bill related to public safety sponsored by Councilman Andrew Pruski, D-Gambrills. The bill defines public nuisance properties. The body approved one amendment that would exempt properties under regulatory oversight by a state agency from this bill if they are required to report on crimes committed on the property.

The council also approved a bill that upgrades the fire prevention code; a bill that transfers a parcel of land to the county for the future development of a high school; a bill that relates to utilities in the Mayo Water Reclamation Subdistrict; and a bill that clarifies application uses allowed within the Glen Burnie Sustainable Community Overlay Area.

A bill that changes the name and procedures of the Veterans Affairs Commission was amended and will be heard at the next meeting.