613 Seconds with Chief Melissa Hyatt, Baltimore County Police Department.

What made you decide to become a police officer?

My father was a police officer in the Baltimore City Police Department for 31 years. I can remember as a young child, watching him in his uniform getting ready to leave the house for work. I was always interested in law enforcement and knew that was the career path I wanted to follow.

Tell us about your career and how you ended up as Chief?

I joined the Baltimore City Police Department after graduating from the University of Delaware. I retired as a Colonel after a more than 20-year career. I then went to work in the private sector as the Vice President of Security for Johns Hopkins Medicine and Johns Hopkins University. I really enjoyed this new role and learned a lot, but I missed police work. When I heard about the opportunity to become Chief of Police in the county where I grew up, I jumped at the opportunity and a little more than three years later, here I am.

What part of Baltimore County are you from?

I grew up in Randallstown and I am a proud graduate of Randallstown High School. Go Rams!

With the upcoming High Holidays approaching, what is the police department doing to keep people safe?

Since becoming Chief in 2019, we identified several areas where a more robust and intentional deployment would increase the safety and security of the community during the high holidays. This includes increasing patrols and bringing in additional resources.

We are very fortunate that in our region, law enforcement works collaboratively throughout the course of the year with our local, state, and federal law enforcement partners. In addition to our deployment, we will continue to share information and work closely with our public safety partners within the community.

What is the most rewarding thing about your role as police chief?

I am incredibly proud of the work our police officers do on a daily basis.  What is most rewarding to me is seeing their efforts paying off in such positive ways throughout all of Baltimore County.  Whether it’s crime prevention, dealing with quality of life issues, or spending time engaging with the community, the men and women of our Department truly care about making Baltimore County a better place to live, work, and visit.     

What has been the most difficult challenge during your time as Chief?

The pandemic really changed things for us as an agency. In addition to adjusting our daily operations, our police officers provided support at food sites, testing sites and later, vaccination sites. We also had to adjust how we traditionally engaged with members of the community. All of those changes and so many others from the pandemic were really challenging for our police officers, who care tremendously about the community and thrive on engagement in the neighborhoods they serve. Throughout the pandemic, our officers continued to come to work each day, putting themselves and their families at great risk. I am extremely proud of each member of our Department. 

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