Ex-state police official wins confirmation as county chief

March 19, 1996|By Liz Atwood | Liz Atwood,SUN STAFF

Terrence B. Sheridan, a former state police official, was unanimously confirmed last night as head of Baltimore County's 1,535-officer Police Department.

Mr. Sheridan, 52, will take over the department April 5, replacing Michael D. Gambrill, who is leaving for a private security job.

County Executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III, who worked with both men in the 1970s when he was an assistant state's attorney and they were police investigators, picked Mr. Sheridan a few weeks ago, saying he wanted a new chief quickly for several reasons.

He said he wanted a quick transition, not a long national search. He had few choices within the department because of recent high-level retirements. And Mr. Sheridan already lives in the county, in Lutherville.

Chief Gambrill, 53, will become national security director for Dunbar Armored Inc., a Dundalk-based armored car company with 2,300 workers and 50 branches in 18 states. The company plans to build a new headquarters in Hunt Valley this year.

Mr. Sheridan headed the state police drug enforcement bureau until last year, when Mr. Ruppersberger appointed him as executive assistant for student safety in the county school system.

Mr. Sheridan, described as a "by-the-book" law enforcement officer, has said he wants to take aim at armed robberies, which he regards as the county's biggest crime problem.

"We've got a rising crime rate in Baltimore County. Something has to be done about that," he said after his confirmation by the County Council.

Mr. Sheridan said he had already been meeting with police officers and administrators in preparing to take over the department. "We're expecting the transition to be almost seamless," he said.

He said he would be looking at whether there are adequate numbers of police officers on the street and will be working with other agencies to try to curb juvenile crime.

Council Chairman Kevin Kamenetz, a Pikesville Democrat, said before the vote that "the council will be following Mr. Sheridan quite closely."

In other action last night, the council approved a bill that would permit an early retirement program to eliminate 34 school administration jobs by July 1 and save more than $1 million annually.

The council also heard testimony on the service of Comcast Cablevision, which is upgrading its system and seeking a 15-year extension of its franchise agreement, which is due to expire in April 1998. Most of the people who testified, including members of several nonprofit agencies, spoke in support of Comcast.

Pub Date: 3/19/96

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