Public Safety Committee Receives Update on Police Department Staffing

Today, legislative analyst Susan J. Farag of the Montgomery County Council’s Advisory Commission on Policing provided the Public Safety Committee with the following overview of the Montgomery County Police Department’s staffing:

• The Department’s sworn strength has dropped from 1,295 Officers in 2019 to 1,101 in 2024 – a loss of 194 Officers over the past five years.

• There are 179 sworn vacancies now (14% vacancy rate).

• There are also 137 professional staff vacancies (18% vacancy rate).

• The 911 Emergency Communication Center (ECC) has 64 vacant positions (43%
vacancy rate).

• Vacancies have operational impacts: patrol overtime jumped 54% and priority response times increased more than 17% from 2019 to 2023.

• Sworn Attrition slowed during 2023, but that may be as result of enhanced pension
multipliers and other benefits that will be effective January 1, 2025.

• This pension benefit change may also significantly increase sworn retirements in 2025.

• Recent recruit classes have averaged 23 recruits each, which remains too low to address
current attrition.

Overview: The police staffing shortage is not new, it is national, and it persists. Departments struggle
to adapt as they experience high numbers of retirements and resignations, and many younger
members of the workforce are not choosing policing as a profession. While the County has made significant progress shifting certain responsibilities away from police, such as its robust expansion of mobile crisis outreach teams (MCOTs)1 that respond and provide support and services for individuals experiencing behavioral health concerns, there will always been a need for Police Officers to respond to calls for service for crimes (particularly those of violence) and conduct
professional criminal investigations.

Police departments are examining innovative ways to meet community safety needs. Not only are departments faced with shrinking numbers of sworn staff, but the nature of crime and disorder continues to change as well. For example, social media has fueled an auto theft trend and has facilitated car meetups that take over entire streets and intersections. The internet also provides some individuals with an often-false sense of invisibility, who then call in bomb threats or swatting incidents, often from overseas.

This region has unique challenges as well, with a
growing number of protests and rallies that require event management such as traffic direction and
crowd control, to threats against high-profile public officials5 that require investigation and protection. Some of these events require large police responses that further diminish available staff to respond to more typical calls for service. These changes require departments to do more with less, while providing flexibility to address emerging public safety needs.
Against this challenging and changing landscape, MCPD is experiencing its highest sworn vacancy rate in the past 10 years, with most attrition occurring after 2019.

Overall, the Department has 194 fewer officers than it did that year, as filled positions have dropped from 1,295 to 1,101. The authorized sworn complement has also decreased since then, from 1,307 to 1,280. Today, the current vacancy rate is 14% and reflects 179 vacancies.

Charts and additional information available here.

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17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Now in its 17th year, the Kensington Day of the Book Festival is a family-friendly street festival featuring 150+ renowned authors, poets, and literary organizations. Enjoy live music on five stages, special guest speakers, military veteran writers and comedians, poetry readings, cookbook demos, children's program, and much more.

Admission is free, and attendees will also be able to explore a marketplace of books and food offerings from local vendors.

Not your average book festival! This festival offers something for everyone!

17th Annual Kensington Day of the Book Festival

Sunday, April 21, 2024, 11am-4pm (held rain or shine!)

Howard Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895

Instagram: @kensingtonbookfestival

Contact: Elisenda Sola-Sole, Festival Director

[email protected]

301-949-9416 (text preferred)

FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival

Get ready to experience the vibrant colors, tantalizing flavors, and infectious rhythms of the Caribbean at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival! Hosted by RHU LLC, this exciting festival is set to take place on May 18, 2024, at the picturesque 16700 Barnesville Rd in Boyds, MD.

Step into a world where the Caribbean spirit comes alive! From 12:00 PM onwards, immerse yourself in a sensory journey that celebrates the unique culture, cuisine, and music of the Caribbean. Whether you're an African American, a Reggae or Soca music enthusiast, a wine lover, or part of the vibrant Caribbean diaspora, this festival promises to delight and captivate you in every way.

Let the enticing aromas of mouthwatering Caribbean dishes tantalize your taste buds. Feast on traditional delicacies prepared by expert chefs, showcasing the rich and diverse culinary heritage of the Caribbean. Indulge in flavorful jerk chicken, succulent seafood, and delectable plantain dishes that will transport you straight to the islands.

Accompanying the culinary extravaganza is a carefully curated selection of premium wines, ensuring the perfect pairing for your palate. Sip on fine wines from renowned vineyards, each sip a reflection of the Caribbean's vibrant spirit. Discover new flavors, expand your wine knowledge, and savor unforgettable moments with every glass.

As the sun sets, get ready to groove to the infectious rhythms of Caribbean music. Feel the pulsating beats of reggae, soca, dancehall, and calypso, moving your body to the lively melodies. Live performances by talented musicians and performers will keep the energy high, ensuring a night of unforgettable entertainment.

Don't miss this opportunity to embrace the Caribbean spirit and celebrate the arrival of spring in style! Tickets are available on AllEvents, so secure your spot today. Join us at the FEST OF SPRING Caribbean Wine Food & Music Festival, where cultures collide and unforgettable memories are made.



2 NIGHT Camping packages available: RV/CAMPER $200 | TENTS $150 Starting on Friday May 17 @ 5pm | 30 RV SPACES | 30+ TENT SPACES



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