The Howard County Police Department was founded in 1952. Its mission is to provide a sense of safety and security for everyone by protecting life and property, reducing the opportunity for crime and disorder, enforcing criminal and traffic laws, assisting victims and promoting positive community engagement and effective partnerships.
As of 2020, the Howard County Police Department has 480 sworn officers, 227 full-time civilians, and 43 contingent employees, 15 auxiliary officers, and six volunteer mounted patrols. The 911 communications division and Animal Control also fall under the police department.
Police Chief Lisa D. Myers is a 29-year veteran of the Howard County Police Department. She was appointed Chief in February 2019, one year after her retirement from the agency as a Captain. At that time, she was the commander of the Human Resources Bureau, overseeing Employment Services and the Education and Training Division.
Chief Myers began her career with HCPD in 1990 as a civilian crime lab technician. She entered the police academy in 1994 and worked in various components of the police department, including as the Chief of Staff, Patrol Division Watch Commander, supervisor of Youth Services, Public Information Officer and Community Officer. She is an exceptional communicator with notable success in management of operations focused on lowering crime and building community partnerships.
Chief Myers has represented the police department in labor management negotiations and on multiple boards to include the Howard County Police Foundation, Citizens Advisory Council, African American Community Roundtable, Human Trafficking Prevention Council, Local Children’s Board and selection committee for the Anti-Defamation League SHIELD awards.
Chief Myers holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Coppin State University and is a member of Leadership Howard County, a premier program for business leaders. She is a member of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, Maryland Chiefs of Police Association and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
Since her appointment, Chief Myers has implemented new initiatives to better serve the community and police department. She launched a one-year field test to use drones in police operations; a realignment of patrol beats to improve response times and create a more equitable workload for officers; a reorganization of the police department’s structure to increase the efficiency of operations; and a partnership with local non-profit Fidos For Freedom, to bring comfort dogs to the 911 dispatch center.
Our core values at the Howard County Police Department are Integrity, Pride and Community. You’ll see those words on our patch logo displayed throughout the agency. You’ll also see them in our actions day in and day out.
It is the mission of the Howard County Police Department to provide a secure environment for the citizens of Howard County by protecting life and property, reducing the opportunity for crime and disorder, enforcing the law, assisting victims and providing other police-related services as required by the community in a manner consistent with the values of a free society. HCPD embraces the historic tradition that the police are the public and the public are the police. We are committed to resolving problems collaboratively through a partnership between the department and our community.
Integrity: The department and its personnel can only succeed in their mission if we maintain our integrity. Our authority to deprive people of their life, freedom and property comes from the trust bestowed upon us. Once this trust is broken, by an individual or by the department, our actions are rightfully called into question. The department and its employees must hold themselves to a standard that is beyond reproach.
Pride: The department is a proud institution and works to develop this pride in its sworn, civilian and volunteer personnel. We are proud of our rich tradition of providing quality police services to the residents and visitors of Howard County. We are proud to be a part of a noble profession that is called upon to maintain order in a free society. We are proud of the real partnerships we have with the people we serve. We are proud of the highly motivated, highly trained, and highly respected personnel we have.
Community: The cornerstone of this department is the relationship we have with the community we serve. Our ability to be effective in carrying out our mission is based on the credibility we have with the community. Understanding that we are a part of, and not separate from, the community is critical. Although we are granted full-time responsibility for policing the community, we cannot do it without the approval and cooperation of the public. The department strives to enhance this relationship in several ways: By ensuring that each police contact is carried out fairly and with respect; by seeking input from the public on our programs, procedures and priorities; and by being active in community programs and charities.
A note about community-oriented policing: The paradigm of community-oriented policing began to evolve within law enforcement communities during the 1970s in response to increasing crime rates throughout the nation; the failure of other, more traditional, police programs; and the rapid deterioration of many neighborhoods. Community-oriented policing is an organizational philosophy with a decentralized approach aimed at reducing crime and improving the quality of life within a community. It is a team-oriented approach to problem solving with the police and members of the community working together, on an equal basis, toward a common goal. The Howard County Department of Police is committed to this philosophy and supports programs that reflect these values.
The Howard County Department of Police obtained national accreditation from The Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies Inc., known as CALEA, on July 28, 1990. Re-accreditation has since been earned eight times, without lapse or conditions. The department had the honor of being named a Flagship Agency in both 2006 and 2009, a prestigious designation when the Commission offered this category. The agency was last recognized on July 28, 2018 when the HCPD earned Advanced Meritorious Accreditation, the “Gold Standard” within law enforcement.
It is an honor to achieve this status within the law enforcement community and we proudly display the CALEA emblem. The standards established by CALEA help law enforcement agencies strengthen crime prevention and control capabilities, formalize essential management procedures, establish fair and nondiscriminatory personnel practices, improve service-delivery, solidify interagency cooperation and coordination, and boost citizen and staff confidence in the agency.
In between on-site Assessment, the department submits an annual compliance report and undergoes off-site review of standards by the Commission.
The “Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act of 2004,” allows qualified active and retired law enforcement officers to carry a concealed firearm nationwide. It is the intent of the Howard County Police Department to offer its retirees the opportunity to certify under the parameters of the law. Retirees must follow the process outlined in the documents below and reapply annually.
During the early morning hours of June 18, 2007, the Howard County Police Department lost a dedicated officer and friend. Cpl. Scott Wheeler was working a speed enforcement detail and was struck by a vehicle he was attempting to stop for a speeding violation. Wheeler was dedicated to the profession. He received a Commendation Certificate at the 2007 Awards Ceremony for his work in alcohol enforcement during the 2006 Merriweather Post Pavilion concert season. During his six and a half year career, Wheeler was named Police Officer of the Month on three occasions, received a unit citation and was named one of the agency’s Top DUI Enforcers in 2002. Wheeler graduated from the HCPD special weapons and tactics school and served as a member of the decentralized tactical team. Wheeler was equally dedicated to his favorite football team, the Oakland Raiders. Friends and family remembered him best for his infectious laugh and his black and silver painted face and Raiders costumes on game days.
On Nov. 2, 1994, Recruit Ofc. Roger Dale Cassell Jr. collapsed following a training exercise in the police academy. He was 28 years old. Cassell was a well respected, enthusiastic police recruit, and the department had very high expectations for this native son of Howard County. Cassell joined the Howard County Department of Police in September 1994 and was on the path to fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a police officer. His interest in law enforcement seemed to be a natural development: Both his father and brother work in law enforcement. Cassell was a decorated war veteran and received the Army Achievement Medal and Maryland Governor’s Citation for his accomplishments in the Persian Gulf War. He was an avid sports fan and an all-county football player in high school.
Ofc. Randolph “Randy” Brightwell was shot and killed on May 29, 1961. He was gunned down on Fels Lane in Ellicott City during a car stop following an armed robbery. Both suspects were apprehended a short time afterward. Brightwell was 33 years old and the father of two small children. Brightwell was one of the first K9 handlers for any county police agency in the state of Maryland. His K9 partner Prince was working with him when he was killed. In tribute to the ultimate sacrifice made by Brightwell, the police department posthumously awarded its highest commendation, the Medal of Honor, to Brightwell.
Shaft S. Hunter, Maryland State Police, End of Watch: May 21, 2011
Maryland State Police Trooper First Class Shaft S. Hunter was killed when his patrol car collided with the back of a tractor trailer that was parked on the shoulder of I-95 in Howard County. It is believed he was pursuing a speeding motorcycle when the collision occurred. Hunter had served with Maryland State Police for 11 years.
Theodore D. Wolfe Sr., Maryland State Police, End of Watch: March 29, 1990
Maryland State Police Cpl. Theodore "Ted" D. Wolf Sr. was shot and killed during a traffic stop on I-95 on March 29, 1990, by two suspects smuggling drugs in a stolen vehicle. Wolf was assigned to the MSP Waterloo barrack and worked closely with many Howard County police officers.
Frank J. Miller, Howard County Deputy Sheriff, End of Watch: June 7, 1946
Howard County Deputy Sheriff Frank J. Miller died of a heart attack after struggling with a prisoner on June 7, 1946. Miller had worked as a deputy sheriff for 29 years, often patrolling Ellicott City and Elkridge prior to the establishment of the county police.
Charles T. Weber, Howard County Constable, End of Watch: Nov. 10, 1924
Constable Charles T. Weber died on Nov. 10, 1924, from injuries sustained after being dragged alongside a vehicle. When Weber stepped up onto the running board of an occupied vehicle, the driver suddenly sped off. Weber suffered multiple injuries and died three days later as a result of the incident. He had served as a constable for the first district since 1915.