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County Executive Jim Smith is expected to name Col. Jim Johnson the new chief of the Baltimore County Police Department.

Johnson will replace Chief Terrence Sheridan, who will leave his post to become the next superintendent of the Maryland State Police, according to sources familiar with both appointments.

Both announcements are expected to be made during a joint press conference May 31 at 1:30 p.m. at the Maryland State Police headquarters in Pikesville.

Don Mohler, a spokesman for Smith, did not return calls from a reporter seeking comment.

Rick Abbruzzese, a spokesman for Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, said he “could not confirm or deny” Sheridan’s appointment.

Sheridan has served as the county’s top cop since 1996. He joined the county force after retiring from the state police.

Sheridan will replace current state police Superintendent Thomas Hutchins, who was appointed to the position in 2004 by Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich.

Johnson joined the county police department in 1979 as a cadet and has worked his way up through the ranks.

Johnson currently is in charge of the police department’s Operations Bureau. The bureau is responsible for overseeing the Criminal Investigation Division and all patrol officers, as well as the county tactical, K-9 and traffic units. He has been in charge of the bureau since April 1, 2006. Prior to that, he was in charge of the department’s Human Resources Bureau.

E-mail political editor Bryan P. Sears at bsears@patuxent.com.

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