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Baltimore County Police union president defends vote asking to remove Chief Melissa Hyatt from position

Posted at 4:53 PM, May 24, 2022

BALTIMORE COUNTY — The Baltimore County Police union has voted and they want a new boss.

That was the unanimous vote of about 150 members of the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police.

A letter from the FOP to the Baltimore County Executive Johny Olszewski outlined what they call major leadership failures by Police Chief Melissa Hyatt.

It will be three years in June since Chief Hyatt has led the Baltimore County Police Department.

PAST: Melissa Hyatt's first day as Baltimore County Police chief today

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If the members of the union had their way, she wont make to the three-year mark.

"The rank and file cops out there are not happy with the Chief they have reasons,” said David Folderauer, the Lodge President of Baltimore County FOP No. 4

On Tuesday, Folderauer spoke out against Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt after a unanimous vote calling for her replacement.

“The fact that there were on No’s. You would expect if you're getting a cross section of the organization, you’re going to have some people speak up and again just the frustrations there,” he said.

FOP leadership stands by vote to remove police chief

Folderauer mentioned several issues outlined in the complaint.

However, there was one moment that served as the last straw, according to Folderauer.

"Based on what happened at our memorial service, that was the straw that broke the camels back and that’s why they brought this forward,” Folderauer said.

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Among the fallen officers honored was Tia Bynum who was identified as an accomplice in the kidnapping and murder of two young girls, Giana and Aaminah.

Bynum's name was read, alongside who the lodge president considers 'true heroes,’ even though she was stripped of her police powers just one day before the little girls’ deaths.

This isn’t a question whether Bynum was involved.

There’s video surveillance of her.

She had an opportunity to save those kids and she did not take it. The fact that it was read, it was absolutely shocking to our membership,” said Folderauer.

Folderauer said Chief Hyatt is responsible for Bynum's entry into the memorial.

“Was it an oversight? No, because we were told that Bynum’s name was not on the program and as of Thursday, the day before and there was discussion amongst the chief and the Colonels according to the chief and she made the decision to include her name and it was a horrible mistake,” Folderauer said.

Folderauer said it’s a mistake that could've been easily avoided.

“If she would’ve called this office we would’ve been able to direct her, we would’ve been able to give her coverage to say that its absolutely inappropriate for that to occur,” he said.

Officers' complaints also include Chief Hyatt's vote on the "police training and standards commission" in favor of a disciplinary process for internal complaints—ultimately eliminating 'due process trial boards' for police officers.

The letter also highlighted the rise in violent crime at the Towson Town Center among other complaints.

"I remain committed to leading the members of our police department and will not be deterred or distracted,” Chief Hyatt said in part in a statement.

Here is a list of the specific grievances written out by the union in their letter to Olszewski:

  • "On March 2, 2022, Chief Hyatt while serving on the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commissionvoted in the affirmative to establish a disciplinary process for internal complaints that would have eliminated due process trial boards for police officers in the state of Maryland."
  • "Chief Hyatt’s handling of at least five (5) sexual harassment and/or hostile work environment cases involving members of the Executive Corps. In all cases, the accused continued to work at their assignment without disruption."
  • "Chief Hyatt refuses to take questions at In-service Training. This is the one time per year that officers get to interact with the Chief and have open communication."
  • "Chief Hyatt’s hiring of leaders and directors from outside of Baltimore County has led to a lack of experience and knowledge concerning the history of the agency. For example, there are many errors in calculating pay and overtime. This has led to multiple Fair Labor Standard Act violations that still need to be addressed."
  • "Chief Hyatt’s lack of accessibility to the membership which is demonstrated by the installation of locks and a camera on the Chief’s Office outer suite door and minimal appointment times."
  • "Chief Hyatt is unwilling to deal directly with the FOP leadership to try and address underlying issues."
  • "Chief Hyatt has failed to adequately address the rise in crime in Baltimore County. Citizens groups have voiced safety concerns to the membership of the FOP. One example is the recent increase in violent crime at the Towson Town Center."
  • "Chief Hyatt made the decision to allow the name of Tia Bynum to be read at the Baltimore County Police Memorial Service. Tia Bynum is a disgraced member of [the] department that participated in the kidnapping and murder of two children, as well as the kidnapping and torture of the children’s mother. The act of honoring her at [the department's] memorial was the final blow to the morale of the women and men that serve Baltimore County."