© 2014 Howard County Police Foundation.

Former HCPD Chiefs, 1969-1991

by Pfc. Allen Hafner (Retired)


Chief of Police, 1969 - 1975

Chief G. Russell Walters, a retired Sergeant Major from Maryland State Police, was sworn in as Chief of Police on February 5, 1969.


Under Chief Walters' command, the emergency light systems on the patrol cars were changed from a single rotating red light to a roof rack. Chief Walters also changed the uniforms, adopting the campaign hat, blue shirts, and a short Eisenhower-style jacket.

Chief Walters' appointment also closely followed the opening of Merriweather-Post Pavilion, a concert venue which opened in 1967 in Columbia. When the Pavilion initially opened, the large crowds overwhelmed its small security team. Hundreds of people without tickets would storm the perimeter fence; following close of a concert, attendees would often refuse to leave the grounds until officers in riot gear were summoned. County officials met with pavilion representatives and agreed to limit the number of such concerts and mandate a larger security force. By 1975, the concert riots had ended.


Hurricane Agnes also struck during Chief Walters' time in office; in June 1972, the storm caused the worst flooding the county had seen since 1868. Many county roads were flooded, bridges were washed away, and several lives were lost. After the initial rescue operations, police work continued, but with the added responsibility of patrolling flooded areas to prevent looting and providing security for visiting politicians.


1974 saw the addition of female officers to the Patrol Division, the dedication of a new police headquarters, and the opening of HCPD's own training academy. During this period the Police Department continued to grow, reaching just over 100 officers by the end of Chief Walters' term.


Chief of Police, 1975 - 1979

Robert O. Mathews became a Howard County officer and came up through the ranks. He was the Department's first Captain in 1972, and was the natural choice following Chief Walters' resignation. On April 15, 1975, Chief Mathews became Howard County's sixth Chief of Police.


Shortly after rising to the position of Chief, Mathews created specialty units to address specific community and departmental needs.  

The first tactical unit was formed in May 1975, named SST, or Special Suppression Team. The unit name has changed several times since then.


Other programs initiated under Chief Mathews include:

  • Target: Burglar crime prevention;

  • a ride-along program for civilians;

  • the creation of the Youth Division;

  • the creation of the Traffic Section; and

  • the start of the 911 emergency call system.


Chief of Police, 1979 - 1987

Paul H. Rappaport, a retired Major from Maryland State Police, was sworn in as Chief on January 2, 1979. Under Chief Rappaport, the Department saw the start of the PVSP, or Police Vehicle Saturation Program, wherein officers are allowed take-home cars.


In 1980, the first Mobile Command Post was placed in service, the Community Liaison Program was established, and the Public Information Office was made a full-time office with an assigned Corporal.

By 1983, the Department had grown to 193 officers. In the mid-1980s, computers were integrated into police operations, and were used for crime analysis and tracking reports. 1986 marked the first use of a drug detection K-9.


Other highlights from Chief Rappaport's term include:

  • the beginning of Camp Bear Trax;

  • the establishment of the position of County Liquor Inspector;

  • the approval of off-duty security work; and

  • the formation of the Howard County Police Officers Association.


Chief of Police, 1987 - 1991

Fredrick W. Chaney, a retired Deputy Chief from Montgomery County Police, was sworn in as Chief on August 1, 1987.  Soon after taking command, Chief Chaney approved the permanent night shift, which prevented officers from having to rotate through different shifts.


In 1988, money was budgeted for a new, upgraded radio system.  This was also the year the Department began the process for national accreditation

In 1990, HCPD successfully completed the CALEA accreditation process, becoming the third accredited agency in the state of Maryland.


Between 1990 and 1991, the School Liaison Program was started, the Crime Lab was converted from sworn officers to an all-civilian staff, and HCPD received the first remote terminal for the State's MAFIS fingerprint search system.




8267 Main Street
Ellicott City, MD 21043



(410) 313-1447


April thru September

Saturday 11 AM - 6 PM

Sunday 11 AM - 4 PM


October thru March

 Saturday & Sunday

11 AM - 4 PM

*Group tours and special visits can be arranged upon request.


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