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Councilmember Will Jawando initiates letter to County Executive Marc Elrich calling for transparency and community involvement when selecting the next police chief

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 19, 2019

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 19, 2019—Montgomery Councilmember Will Jawando, who is a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee and the Education and Culture committee, has written to County Executive Marc Elrich calling for transparency and community involvement when selecting the next Montgomery County police chief. Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger announced in January that he will retire in April after 15 years of service in Montgomery County, the culmination of 42 years as a police officer.

“Choosing a new police chief will set the tone and culture for the men and women in uniform who protect and serve our residents,” said Councilmember Jawando. “As Councilmembers we do not usually weigh in on the executive’s process for hiring director level appointments, but we feel that given the current discussion about policing throughout Maryland and here in Montgomery County, we want to encourage the kind of transparency and community input that will help build bridges and create the relationships needed to move us forward together.”

The full text of the letter is below and attached.

Dear County Executive Elrich,

We are writing today regarding the search for a new Montgomery County Police Chief. For the past 15 years, Chief Manger has been a dedicated leader and served our community with distinction. As he moves on, we believe there is a unique opportunity to strengthen the relationship between county residents and the Montgomery County Police Department.

Currently, we are all cosponsors of bill 1-19, the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act (LETT Act), calling for greater transparency with our police department and practices under the worst of circumstances. As members of the community have weighed in on the LETT Act, it has become clear that transparency is key to building stronger police-community relations. An open and inclusive search for a new police chief is an important first step as we usher in a new era here in Montgomery County.

Baltimore County’s current police chief search is one example of the kind of inclusion that would improve transparency. While we are not calling on an exact replication, it provides a good model that will lead to better relationships, especially with communities of color who disproportionately make up over 70% of the arrests here in Montgomery County. County Executive John Olszewski has opened the process up by allowing community input with two public town hall events and making sure the public is aware of the steps by publishing information, including a detailed timeline on a public website. Finally, Baltimore County also created an interview panel that includes:

• two people from the County Executive’s staff,

• one representative from Baltimore County Council,

• the Baltimore County State’s Attorney (or designee),

• three members of the community,

• and a representative of a victim’s rights group that serves Baltimore County.

Choosing a new police chief will set the tone and culture for the men and women in uniform who protect and serve our residents. As Councilmembers we do not usually weigh in on the executive’s process for hiring director level appointments, but we feel that given the current discussion about policing throughout Maryland and here in Montgomery County, we want to encourage the kind of transparency and community input that will help build bridges and create the relationships needed to move us forward together.

Sincerely,

Will Jawando

Councilmember At-Large

Nancy Navarro

Council President

Sidney Katz

Council Vice President

Craig Rice

Councilmember, District 2

Gabe Albornoz

Councilmember At-large

Hans Riemer

Councilmember At-large

Tom Hucker

Councilmember, District 5

Andrew Friedson

Councilmember, District 1

Evan Glass

Councilmember At-large

 

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Release ID: 19-103
Media Contact: Cecily Thorne , 240-777-7972 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931