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Howard County Executive Announces New Police Chief

Chief of Police William McMahon is retiring.

Major Gary Gardner (Credit: Howard County Police Department)
Major Gary Gardner (Credit: Howard County Police Department)
Howard County Executive Ken Ulman announced Thursday that Chief of Police William McMahon will be retiring and a 30-year veteran of the police department will fill the post this summer.

As of July 1, Major Gary Gardner, 55, will be Howard County's new police chief.

Currently, Gardner oversees patrol districts, operational preparedness and youth services as deputy chief for operations, according to a statement from Howard County government.

"Gary has been a driving force behind many of the initiatives and programs that have proven to be so effective in ensuring the safety of our community," McMahon said.

Gardner’s contributions have included the following, the statement said:

  • Improving response services by realigning beats
  • Increasing efficiency using crime analysis system to allocate resources
  • Developing Alpha Ridge Training Center as head of police planning team
  • Creating Police Memorial Courtyard and Garden at headquarters

Said McMahon: "I cannot be more pleased with County Executive Ulman’s selection of Gary Gardner as the next chief of police." McMahon's last day as chief will be June 30.

The command change was expected to happen sometime this year, according to Ulman, who said it would allow for a smooth transition before the change in administration this November, with the election of a new county executive; Ulman is term-limited.

In Gardner's 30 years with the Howard County Police Department, he has filled many roles, including deputy chief for administration, commander of the criminal investigations bureau, chief of staff, commander in the patrol division and public information officer. 

"Gary Gardner is a true leader who has the respect of his colleagues and the experience to provide the high level of public safety we come to expect in Howard County," County Executive Ken Ulman said.

Gardner has a master's degree from Eastern Kentucky University and is a graduate of the F.B.I.’s National Academy. In 2006, Gardner also graduated from Leadership Howard County

He is an active supporter of Maryland Special Olympics and other law enforcement-related charities, and he is a member of the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association, the International Chiefs of Police Association and the F.B.I. National Academy Associates.  

Related: Approaching Retirement, Howard County Police Chief Reflects on Career

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