Baltimore County Confirms Police Accountability Board Members – Conduit Street

On Monday, September 19, Baltimore County Council nearly unanimously approved County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s nine nominees for the county’s first-ever Police Accountability Board (PAB).

Baltimore County Council – courtesy of the Maryland Manual Online Standing, left to right: A. Wade Kach; Todd K Crandell; Cathy Bevins; David S Marks. Seated, left to right: Julian E. Jones, Jr.; Thomas E Quirk; Israel C. (Izzy) Patoka.

As discussed in previous Conduit Street coverage, the Police Accountability Act of 2021 requires each Maryland county to establish multiple police regulatory agencies, including an Administrative Charging Committee (ACC), a PAB, and a Trial Board. PABs investigate and monitor complaints of police misconduct from the public, and ACCs receive full investigation reports into police misconduct and set disciplinary levels. Examination Boards hear appeals from each recommended discipline.

County Executive Olszewski first announced his PAB nominees on Tuesday, September 13. According to the Baltimore County statute governing its PAB, “[s]even members shall reside in each of the county’s 7 council boroughs, and two members shall be county general representatives.’ In addition, the Police Accountability Act requires members to ‘reflect the racial, gender and cultural diversity of the county’. The following members were also nominated:

District 1 – Peter Fitzpatrick is a registered nurse at Children’s National Hospital, where he oversees the operations of the pediatric air and ground team. Prior to his position at Children’s National Hospital, Mr. Fitzpatrick spent 10 years at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He also served as a paramedic and firefighter with the Mount Airy Volunteer Fire Company. Mr. Fitzpatrick resides in Catonsville.

District 2 – Linda Shields is an attorney with more than 22 years of experience, most recently serving as Assistant City Attorney in the Department of Internal Affairs and Public Integrity for the Baltimore Police Department. Before practicing law, Ms. Shields worked for the Social Security Administration. She lives in Pikesville.

District 3 – Bishop Ralph Dennis is Senior Pastor Emeritus at Kingdom Worship Center, where he served as senior pastor for 35 years before retiring. Bishop Dennis has also worked in the private sector for over 30 years at companies such as Exxon/Mobile, Frito Lay, Inc. and Hanes DSD. Bishop Dennis was a board member and vice president for financial affairs of the Joint College of African American Pentecostal Bishops Congress for 19 years. He lives in Sparks.

District 4 – John Chambers has over 30 years of law enforcement experience and training. He began his career with the Baltimore City Police Department, where he served in a variety of roles including patrol, neighborhood services as a community liaison, water patrol, and TAC special operations. He is currently Senior Operations Supervisor for External Public Safety at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Mr. Chambers is from Woodlawn and lives in Randallstown.

District 5—Francis Ward spent nearly 30 years as a 9-1-1 police officer with the Baltimore County government. He currently serves as a District Court Police Officer. Francis was active with numerous volunteer fire departments, including the Providence Volunteer Fire and White Marsh Volunteer Fire Department, where he served as a first lieutenant. Mr Ward resides in Nottingham.

District 6 – Clare Petersberger has been a minister of Towson Unitarian Universalist Church since 1999. Reverend Petersberger has served as a volunteer chaplain for the Baltimore County Fire and Police Departments for over 10 years and is a former Board Member of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Pastor Petersberger lives in Towson.

District 7 – Dawn Dishon Fire is currently the Office Manager and Personal Assistant for Santoro Psychological Services in Howard County. She has more than 20 years of administrative and office experience. Ms Dishon-Feuer is an active volunteer who serves on the Board of the Essex Day Festival, Holabird Middle School PTSA, the Dundalk Independence Day Parade Committee, Treasurer of the Eastern Regional Lions Club and Board Member of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation. She lives in Dundalk.

On the whole

Kara White (District 6 resident) – Kara White is a social worker with five years of postgraduate experience in government and homeless services. Before joining Baltimore County Adult Protective Services, Ms. White served as a case manager for AIRS and a behavioral therapist at Healthcare for the Homeless, both in Baltimore. She received a master’s degree in social work from Widener University in 2017 and has experience leading DEI and LGBT education for older people. She lives in Parkville.

Nigeria Rolling-Ford (District 4 residents) – Nigeria Rolling-Ford is a paralegal with almost 20 years of private sector experience. Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Nigeria was a legal secretary in the intellectual property practice of McDermott Will & Emery LLP. She is the current President of the Kings Park Homeowners Association and serves as Communications Chair of the Randallstown NAACP. She is also active with the Deer Park Middle PTA. Mrs Rolling-Ford lives in Randallstown.

According to the Baltimore Sun, of the members nominated for the PAB, only Reverend Petersberger, “who spoke of her desire to serve as a board member assessing racial justice issues in the police force,” received a “no.” Also, due to a family emergency, Mr. Francis Ward’s nomination is pending.

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The district PAB has not yet set an initial meeting date, at which time it will likely be considering candidates for the ACC and district process committee.

Read the full article from the Baltimore Sun.

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Read Baltimore County’s full press release.

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