Chief James W. Johnson (Ret.)


James W. Johnson began his career with the Baltimore County Police Department in 1979 as a Cadet in the 911 Center, and has served in virtually every position in one of the largest police departments in the nation. In fact, Chief Johnson is only the second person in the nearly 140 year history of the agency to rise through the ranks from Cadet to Chief.

During his tenure as Chief of Police for the past ten years, overall violent crime in Baltimore County has dropped 26%, and total crime has decreased by 19%. The agency is recognized nationally for its progressive use of technology, high level of service, case clearance rates higher than national and local averages, and superior management practices. During his tenure as Chief, he has increased minority and female sworn workforce representation to historical levels. Chief Johnson possesses a keen awareness and stewardship of fiscal resources, managing an agency of 2,600 personnel with an operating budget exceeding $200 million per year. In fact, for the past nine fiscal years, the agency has come in under budget.

Chief Johnson holds a Master’s Degree in Applied Behavioral Science from Johns Hopkins University, a Bachelor of Science Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Baltimore, and is a graduate of the FBI’s National Executive Institute. Chief Johnson holds memberships in several professional organizations, including the Major Cities Chiefs Association for which he serves as representative and current Chair of the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence. As Chair, he has testified before Congress on gun violence issues, and was recently recognized by President Obama as a “Gun Violence Prevention Champion of Change.”

Chief Johnson has co-authored law enforcement research publications and taught law enforcement courses throughout the United States and internationally. He has been honored with numerous awards and citations, including the Department’s second highest award, the Silver Star.