BALTIMORE (WJZ) — Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. reaffirmed his support for Police Chief Melissa Hyatt on Wednesday following a vote of “no confidence” by the county’s police union.

Olszewski said he’s “100% behind” Hyatt, whom he appointed to lead the department three years ago.

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“She has been leading incredible efforts here in Baltimore County to make our department more community-oriented, data-driven, and thinking about issues of equity across Baltimore County,” he said. “We brought her in to drive important changes. Sometimes there are people who don’t buy into those changes, but we are fully behind her.”

Homicides in the county are down by 50% compared to this time last year and violent crime has remained flat following a drop of 18% in 2021, he said.

About 125 members of the Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police held the vote Monday night during a meeting at the Holiday Inn at Timonium. Among the group’s grievances: The chief is inaccessible and has failed to take action on five cases of sexual harassment and hostile work environment in her executive corps. The union also claimed Chief Hyatt has not addressed a rise in violent crime.

The final straw, according to the union, was he reading of disgraced former sergeant Tia Bynum’s name at the Baltimore County Police Department Memorial Service.

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Bynum was accused of helping a friend and former officer in a multi-state crime spree that ended, police said, with him murdering her and his two children.

Union president David Folderauer called the vote “disheartening” and told WJZ: “This is our police department. We care about it, and we don’t want division like this. We care about the citizens. We care about protecting the citizens. To have to do something like this is not in our nature but the members clearly were not feeling heard. This is the only way that they could be heard.“

Hyatt has said addressing officers’ concerns is among her top priorities.

“The things they need, the tools to do their jobs better, concerts they have, recommendations that they have,” is all information the chief said she is getting and is making sure she continues to receive, unfiltered.

Olszewski said he’s “open to any productive dialogue” about funding additional support for officers. In the upcoming budget, the county has increased funding for school resource officers, is piloting a take-home car program for police and included incentives to attract and retain officers.

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The county executive has also proposed a Wellness Director for the department and a new liaison for community engagement.

CBS Baltimore Staff