The city and Baltimore County have moved a step closer to an agreement that would give their police officers full police powers in both jurisdictions.
The city Board of Estimates, yesterday approved a police mutual aid agreement which expands the limited police authority granted by the state legislature for drug investigations and hot pursuit of suspects across jurisdictional lines. County officials must now act on the agreement before it can take effect.
"To our knowledge this is the first police mutual aid agreement between jurisdictions in Maryland with this kind of full police powers," said city Deputy Police Commissioner Michael C. Zotos, who presented the agreement to the board.
The agreement would allow, for example, an off-duty city police officer who witnesses a crime in the county to make an arrest with full police authority.
Currently, under the same circumstances, the city police officer would be able only to make a citizen's arrest, said Zotos.
The agreement also means that the two jurisdictions could share personnel and equipment upon request.
Further, the agreement would allow a police officer from the county, for example, to go before a judge in the city to swear to a warrant. Currently, the county police officer would need the assistance of a city police officer who would swear to the warrant.
Also, in the case of a homicide investigation, a city police officer could arrest a murder suspect living in the county. Currently, the arresting officer would have to be a member of the county police department, Zotos said.
"The agreement doesn't mean that a county police officer can come into the city and begin routine police work," said Zotos. "Unless it is a case of hot pursuit, notification must be given by either police department that their personnel would be operating in the other jurisdiction."
Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke said yesterday he initiated discussions about a police mutual aid agreement over a year ago with then-Baltimore County Executive Dennis Rassmussen.
"Earlier this year County Executive [Roger B.] Hayden came to me and said he would like to get started on this thing," Schmoke said.