ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — Montgomery County officials are looking for better ways of policing in the community.
This comes after multiple instances of police misconduct all caught on camera. Montgomery County Police Acting Chief Marcus Jones briefed the council about recent issues of police misconduct. Most recently a video surfaced of an undercover officer slamming a suspect’s head to the ground while he was handcuffed, and in May, an officer was caught on camera using a racial slur. “As a member of the African-American community, I have been aware and engaged with issues surrounding interactions with our residents with Montgomery County Police for 33 years,” Jones said.
Chief Jones shared some of his strategies for community policing, which includes de-escalation training strategies. Some at the briefing had a different idea on what community policing really is. “Really deeply people they patrol, knowing the issues, knowing assets and the problem-solving abilities in those communities,” said Katie Stauss of Silver Spring Justice Coalition. Members of the organization became very active after the death of Robert White, who was killed by an MCPD officer. That officer was found not guilty. Many questioned the officer’s use of excessive force and policies that would prevent another occurrence.
Overall, the department was praised for the work they have been doing. Chief Jones, who says he would love the role as the permanent chief, says community policing is a philosophy that he knows his officers can follow. He says there are three components of community policing: community partnerships, organizational transformation, and problem solving and implicit bias and cultural sensitivity training. “One is to strengthen and enhance our community policing policies and practices,” Jones stated.
Montgomery County Police held over 1,300 community events over the past year. Reports show crime is down nearly 3 times the national average in Montgomery County.