Today marks the 146th anniversary of the Baltimore County Police Department. Established by the Maryland legislature on April 11, 1874, the Department has evolved into the 21st largest police agency in the United States.
The Maryland Legislature approved what became Chapter 374 of the Laws of Maryland, authorizing the Baltimore County Commissioners to “appoint such number of policemen as they may deem advisable…,” that number not to exceed thirty officers. Starting pay was two dollars per day, with the exception of mounted police officers, who received three dollars per day but had to supply and sustain their own horse and riding equipment. They were expected to work seven days a week until 1912 when officers were finally given 12 days off per year. There was no formal training for police officers until 1939 when a one week training program was instituted. According to historical census data from the Maryland State Department of Planning the population of Baltimore County was around 25,000 in 1870.
Today, Baltimore County Police Department is the 21st largest police department in the nation, with more than 1900 sworn officers serving a population of over 828,000 and growing (per 2018 estimated census data). Starting pay for a sworn officer today is $54,037. Officers must pass a rigorous 27-week training program. They’ve also been given a few additional days off since its inception.
In recognition of the Department’s anniversary, and in an effort to memorialize all of the changes that policing and the Department have undergone, the Department worked on an Anniversary Yearbook which was published earlier this year.