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About Sheriff Bill McMahon

In 1984, Bill McMahon began his law enforcement career with the Maryland National Capital Park Police. In 1986, he was hired by the Howard County Department of Police, where he served for the next 28 years.

After rising through the ranks, in 2006, Bill was appointed as the Chief of Police for Howard County. During his tenure as Chief, and with his strong experience and leadership skills, the County experienced unprecedented reductions in crime and in traffic related deaths.

He was also faced with every Chief's worst nightmare, learning one of his officers, Corporal Scott Wheeler, had been fatally injured in the line of duty while working a speed enforcement detail in Columbia. Cpl. Wheeler, 31 and a six-year, much decorated veteran of the police force, lived for two days after being struck by a speeding car on Route 32 in June 2007. His was the first death in the line of duty in the county in 46 years. Bill's great strength inspired others as they dealt with the overwhelming grief and loss. Still today he remains extremely close with the Wheeler family and forever values the ultimate sacrifice Corporal Wheeler made in trying to keep our roads and citizens safe.  

In January of 2014, he responded to and oversaw the response to the tragic shooting at the Mall in Columbia. This life changing event of the tragic deaths of 2 young adults impacted our entire community as well as the Police Department. He gives credit to the officers and offers the key to success during this response was the planning, training and equipment purchases that had been completed in anticipation of an active shooter event, although he hoped it would never truly occur. The Department led the way in the community’s recovery from that life changing incident through commitment to working with community members and the many community organizations in the County. The Police Department’s response to the incident drew praise near and far, even receiving national acclaim.


Bill McMahon was appointed to the position of Howard County Sheriff in the Fall of 2016, after the resignation of the incumbent Sheriff. Since being sworn in, Sheriff McMahon has worked to ensure that the public has confidence and trust in the Office, and that the deputies and other employees have the support they need.

Bill brings the lessons he learned and the partnerships he created over the past 33 years to his current role as the Howard County Sheriff

Professional Organizations

Recognizing the needs to stay abreast of current thinking and trends, Bill maintains active memberships in a number of organizations, including:

  • The International Association of Chiefs of Police
  • The National Sheriff’s Association
  • The Maryland Chiefs of Police Association
  • The Maryland Sheriffs association
  • The Police Executive Research Forum
  • Leadership Howard County


Community Involvement

Bill has been involved in a number of community programs over the years and is:

  • An active participant in Special Olympics Torch Run activities
  • An active Participant in the Police Unity Tour 
  • A regular Red Cross blood donor
  • A past coach for youth sport programs


Family Life

Bill and his wife Annette have 3 children, have been married for over 33 years and live in Ellicott City.


Committee to Elect Bill McMahon
Authority of Patrick Shurney, Treasurer to the Committee to Elect Bill McMahon
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