Home | Careers | Font size A A A

Police: Chief of Police


A message from Chief William J. McMahon


Each year, the Howard County Police Department works tirelessly to protect and serve residents, ensuring the county remains a safe place to live, work and play.

In recent years, the department has focused on reorganizing and bolstering patrol operations, enhancing traffic safety, advancing technology, offering specialized training and partnering with the community through crime prevention, youth outreach and multi-cultural and senior outreach. All of these important activities contribute to our strong quality of life in Howard County. Police Chief William J. McMahon

In the coming years, the agency will continue to find new and innovative ways to police in partnership with residents. One new development is the department’s new Facebook page. Residents can now get frequent updates with news releases, daily crime bulletins, photos, event notices, feature stories about HCPD employees, general information and much more. Creating a social media presence will help the department build valuable relationships with community members and encourage more information sharing and partnership in preventing and fighting crime.

On the technology front, the department will soon implement automated enforcement to help combat speeding and reduce traffic-related injuries and deaths on county roads. It remains a fact that citizens are more likely to be seriously injured or die in a traffic collision than to be a victim of violent crime in the county. This can be another tool to change driver behavior and save lives.

Another technological innovation the department is exploring is the use of automated field reporting. HCPD is researching software that would allow for reports to be written, reviewed, recorded and accessed digitally without having to ever be printed. These advances will not only be beneficial to the environment; they will also save time and resources.

Finally, as budget and staffing allows, the department is looking forward to expanding bike patrol units, expanding multi-lingual capabilities, adding additional neighborhood community resource officers and staffing middle schools with school resource officers.

Thank you for your continued support of the Howard County Department of Police.



About the Chief


A 25-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department, Chief William J. McMahon was appointed by County Executive Jim Robey in June 2006 to serve in an acting capacity upon the retirement of then-Chief Wayne Livesay. County Executive Ken Ulman made the appointment permanent when he took office later that year.

McMahon joined the agency after spending two years as a police officer for the Maryland National Capital Park Police. Since then, he has held every sworn police rank and worked in almost every area of the department.

Early in his career, McMahon served as a patrol officer and K-9 officer. He was promoted to sergeant in 1990 and served in the tactical section, patrol operations and internal affairs. In 1996, McMahon was promoted to lieutenant and assigned to lead the special operations bureau. During this assignment, he was promoted to captain in 1998. In 2000, he took over the command of the management services bureau and then became the southern district patrol commander in 2001.

In 2002, McMahon was promoted to the rank of major and appointed deputy chief of police for operations. In that role, he was responsible for all operational components of the agency, including emergency preparedness, intelligence, patrol, special operations and criminal investigations. McMahon served as deputy chief until his appointment to acting chief in 2006.

McMahon holds a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in administrative science from Johns Hopkins University. He is a national assessor for the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies and performs site visits at police departments around the country. He is a certified instructor with the Maryland Police Training Commission and is a member of both the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the International Association of Chiefs of Police.

McMahon and his wife reside in Ellicott City with their three children.