GAITHERSBURG, Md. (WDVM) — It’s been a week since recent Montgomery County Police acting Chief Russell Hamill stepped away to take on a new role. With the permanent position still open, the department has tapped a new interim chief to lead the force while the search continues.
Marcus Jones has served Montgomery County since 1985. Now, he’s wearing a new hat as the acting chief, and already has a vision for his time in the position.
“I have always centered my career around community policing, as a philosophy”, said Acting Chief Marcus Jones, Montgomery County Police Department.
Jones worked on many high-profile cases in numerous departments, including the special investigative division and as drug enforcement commander. He served as chief of the investigative services bureau, then climbed the ranks to acting chief. He says safety is his top priority.
“People need to feel safe in the places where they live and where they work and where they visit”, Jones said. Meanwhile, Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich continues a national search for a permanent chief.
“I want to be able to take a better temperature of what people think about policing, and what are the biggest concerns that people have,” Marc Elrich, Montgomery County Executive.
Jones applied for the permanent position. If chosen, he would be the first African American who moved up the ranks to hold that title. Montgomery County has had two African-American police chiefs who were hired from outside agencies.
Jones said community policing is something he’s been focused on for decades, and believes communication and openness with the community is key to building trust. “Public safety is not just a policing issue, it’s a community issue. And therefore, we as the police department really need to be engaged with our community as partners,” Jones said. Jones makes the second interim chief to serve after former chief manger retired in April.