MDOT MTA Police Chief John E. Gavrilis Announces Retirement



Under Chief’s Leadership, MDOT MTA Recognized as
Safest Big-City Transit System for Seven Consecutive Years 

BALTIMORE, MD (November 22, 2021) – Maryland Department of Transportation Maryland Transit Administration (MDOT MTA) Police Chief Col. John E. Gavrilis, a respected law enforcement official credited with reducing crime and enhancing security in Baltimore’s transit system, announced his retirement effective December 1. Gavrilis, a recipient of numerous medals for bravery and letters of commendation during his 48 years as a law enforcement official, has led the 238-member MDOT MTA Police Force since 2009. 

“Chief Gavrilis has been one of MDOT MTA’s greatest champions and leaders, and I deeply appreciate the contributions that he has made during his tenure,” said MDOT MTA Administrator Holly Arnold. “We are a better agency thanks to his commitment to the safety of our riders and employees.”  

“Chief Gavrilis dedicated his career to the law enforcement community, to this city and to the men and women of the MTA Police Force. He has worked quietly and with great devotion to lead the best transit police force in the nation and the safest transit system,” MDOT Secretary Greg Slater said. “Through his efforts he has impacted people’s lives for the better, and he leaves for us his legacy and his mission to keep public safety as our number one priority.” 

Gavrilis has enjoyed a long record of distinguished service during his nearly half century in law enforcement. Heads of state, national leaders and everyday citizens of Maryland have been among the beneficiaries of his dedication, professionalism, and leadership. 

In his 17 years at MDOT MTA, including 12 as chief, Gavrilis made his greatest mark in crime reduction. For seven years in a row, MDOT MTA has been recognized for having the fewest Part I crimes among the largest 12 transit agencies in the country, according to an independent study conducted by the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority (MARTA). Part I crimes refer to serious offenses that are likely to be reported to police, and include aggravated assault, arson, criminal homicide, rape and robbery.

Gavrilis credits the dedication and hard work of MDOT MTA Police officers for his success, and also notes the CompStat Process, which he brought to the MDOT MTA Police Force after having helped to develop it while at the Baltimore City Police Department. CompStat helps police deploy resources where they are needed most, using data driven and predictive policing models.

Gavrilis also has a been a leader in fostering regional cooperation among police agencies. MDOT MTA has about 50 memoranda of agreement with federal, state and local agencies, which greatly enhances the agency’s ability to provide a coordinated police response across the state. He has also championed numerous community outreach efforts at the MDOT MTA Police Force, where officers and civilian staff have supported the Special Olympics, fed hungry residents, donated school supplies to the needy and made for joyous holiday seasons for hundreds of youngsters through toy giveaways.

Howard named Acting MDOT MTA Police Chief

Major Jerome E. Howard has been named Acting MDOT MTA Chief of Police. A 24-year veteran of the force, Major Howard rose from the rank of officer to major and currently serves as Operations Bureau Commander.

Howard is a U.S. Air Force veteran, a graduate of the Federal Bureau of Investigation National Academy, and has received multiple commendations, awards and unit citations for bravery and dedicated service. Major Howard is the first MDOT MTA police officer to rise through the ranks to be appointed chief.

MDOT MTA operates LocalLink and commuter buses, Light RailLink, Metro SubwayLink, MARC Train service and a comprehensive Mobility paratransit system. MDOT MTA’s goal is to provide safe, efficient and reliable transit across Maryland with world-class customer service. As a participating agency in APTA’s Health and Safety Commitment Program, MDOT MTA is dedicated to keeping our employees and passengers safe throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To learn more, visit or check us out on Facebook at, and follow us on Twitter @mtamaryland.

Media Contacts
Brittany Marshall
Office: 410-767-8367
Cell: 443-970-0424

Paul Shepard
Office: 410-767-3935
Cell: 443-622-4181

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