Robert McCullough Sworn In As Baltimore County's First African American Police Chief


Baltimore County Council members pose with newly confirmed chief of police Robert McCullough on Monday. (McCullough is the tallest pictured, left of center) (Credit: Baltimore County Councilman Mike Ertel/ Facebook)

BALTIMORE COUNTY - Robert McCullough, a retired Baltimore County Police colonel, was confirmed on Monday evening as the county’s first African American police chief.

County Executive Johnny Olszewski nominated McCullough on April 7, and he was sworn in on Tuesday during a ceremony at the Randallstown Community Center.

The new chief was confirmed unanimously by the Baltimore County Council. At the meeting, council members spoke highly of the retired colonel, citing his experience and connections within the police department.

“Colonel McCullough received praise from law enforcement and community stakeholders alike. He brings more than three decades of service to this critical position. I look forward to working with him to replenish, grow, and improve our police force,” Baltimore County Councilman David Marks said in a statement.

“The chief started as a cadet with BaCo Police at age 18 and rose through the ranks. We look forward to his leadership,” Councilman Mike Ertel added.

McCullough will take over from interim chief Dennis Delp who withdrew his name from the pool of potential chiefs citing “personal reasons.” Delp will return to his previous role as a colonel and said he expects a “seamless transition” in a statement.

“When I stepped into the role, my priorities were to strengthen morale within the department, listen to our members’ concerns, and provide for the safety and well-being of our Baltimore County communities,” Delp said.

The department McCullough is taking over is very different from the one he joined in 1985. McCullough was one of only two African American members of his police graduating class. According to a Baltimore County Police spokesperson, 16.5% of the department’s current sworn members are black, and 18% are women.

County spokesperson Erica Palmisano noted that McCullough will be the highest-paid county employee earning $275,000 annually. Unlike former chief Melissa Hyatt, he will not have a contract with the county.

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