On Monday, September 19th, the Baltimore County Council provided near unanimous consent to County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s nine nominees to the County’s first-ever Police Accountability Board (PAB).
As discussed in previous Conduit Street coverage, under the 2021 Police Accountability Act, each Maryland county must create several police oversight bodies, including an administrative charging committee (ACC), PAB, and trial board. PABs review and oversee police misconduct complaints from the public and ACCs receive completed investigatory reports of police misconduct and determine levels of discipline. Trial boards hear appeals of any recommended discipline.
County Executive Olszewski first announced his PAB nominees on Tuesday, September 13th. According to the Baltimore County law governing its PAB, “[s]even of the members shall reside in each of the County’s 7 councilmanic districts, and two members shall be at-large representatives of the County.” Moreover, the Police Accountability Act requires that members “reflect the racial, gender, and cultural diversity of the county.” Likewise, the following members were nominated:
District 1 – Peter Fitzpatrick is a registered nurse with Children’s National Hospital where he supervises operations of the air and ground pediatric 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 an assistant city solicitor assigned to the Baltimore Police Department’s Internal Affairs and Public Integrity Division. Prior to practicing law, Ms. Shields worked for the Social Security Administration. She resides 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 also worked in the private sector over 30 years with companies including Exxon/Mobile, Frito Lay, Inc. and Hanes DSD. Bishop Dennis served for 19 years on the Executive Board and vice president of fiscal affairs of the Joint College of African American Pentecostal Bishops Congress. He resides in Sparks.
District 4 – John Chambers has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and training. He began his career with the Baltimore City Police Department where he served in various capacities including patrol, neighborhood services as a community liaison, water patrol and TAC special operations. He is the current Senior Operations Supervisor for External Public Safety at Johns Hopkins Medicine. Mr. Chambers is a Woodlawn native and resides in Randallstown.
District 5 – Francis Ward spent nearly 30 years as a 9-1-1 police dispatcher with Baltimore County Government. He currently serves as a District Court Constable. Francis has been active with numerous volunteer fire companies including Providence Volunteer Fire and White Marsh Volunteer Fire Department where he served as First Lieutenant. Mr. Ward resides in Nottingham.
District 6 – Clare Petersberger has served as minister with the Towson Unitarian Universalist Church since 1999. Reverend Petersberger spent over 10 years as a volunteer Chaplain for the Baltimore County Fire and Police Departments and is a former board member of Planned Parenthood of Maryland. Rev. Petersberger resides in Towson.
District 7 – Dawn Dishon-Feuer is currently an office manager and personal assistant for Santoro Psychological Services in Howard County. She has more than 20 years of administrative and clerical experience. Ms. Dishon-Feuer is an active volunteer who serves on the board of the Essex Day Festival, Holabird Middle School PTSA, Dundalk Independence Day Parade Committee, Treasurer of the Eastern Regional Lions Club, and board member of the Dundalk Renaissance Corporation. She resides in Dundalk.
Kara White (District 6 resident) – Kara White is a social worker with five years post-graduate experience in State services and homeless services. Prior to joining Baltimore County Adult Protective Services, Ms. White served as a case manager for AIRS and behavioral health therapist at Healthcare for the Homeless, both located in Baltimore. She received a Master’s Degree in social work from Widener University in 2017 and has experience leading DEI and LGBT elder trainings. She resides in Parkville.
Nigeria Rolling-Ford (District 4 resident) – Nigeria Rolling-Ford is a paralegal with nearly 20 years of experience in the private sector. Prior to joining Ballard Spahr, Nigeria served as a legal secretary in the intellectual property division at McDermott Will & Emery LLP. She is the current president of the Kings Park Homeowners Association and serves as the communications chair of the Randallstown NAACP. She is also active with the Deer Park Middle PTA. Ms. Rolling-Ford resides in Randallstown.
According to the Baltimore Sun, of the members nominated to the PAB, only Reverend Petersberger, “who spoke about her desire to evaluate issues of racial justice in policing as a member of the board,” received a “no” vote. Also, Mr. Francis Ward’s nomination remains pending due to a family emergency.
The County’s PAB has not yet set a first meeting date, at which time it will likely deliberate over nominees to the County’s ACC and Trial Board.