Message From the County Executive: How We Are Recruiting Women to Join the Police Department

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:

Dear Friends,

We were delighted to welcome Governor Wes Moore to Montgomery County twice this week. I joined him in Bethesda as he recorded a “Coffee with Ken” podcast. As he talked about economic assets around the State, I was pleased to hear him talk about the importance of life sciences in Montgomery County and the need to support it.

Later in the week, I joined the Governor on a walk with Councilmember Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Maryland Transportation Secretary Paul Wiedefeld, Commerce Secretary Kevin Anderson and many other elected officials and community leaders. We discussed some of the challenges residents face on state-owned roads like Georgia Avenue. We discussed ways we can work together to improve pedestrian and bike safety through quick and inexpensive improvements like bollards.

I told him the County is willing to help make this a safer route for all users, we just need coordination with MDOT and permission to begin some of these projects. The Governor expressed his willingness and commitment to working with us.

State transportation leaders recently lowered the speed limit on portions of Georgia Avenue to 25 miles per hour. We need to get drivers to understand that slowing down creates a safer community – and we will be enforcing speed laws to ensure that our roads do become safer.

I look forward to making improvements that will get more people walking, biking and rolling into the Wheaton area for years to come.

June is Pride Month

On Thursday I joined County Council President Evan Glass, Maryland Secretary of Veterans Affairs Anthony Woods, members of the Montgomery Delegation to the General Assembly and LGBTQ community leaders to commemorate Pride Month.

We raised the Progress Pride Flag outside of the Executive Office Building in Rockville. It also was also the first opportunity for everyone to see the county’s Pride Bus wrapped with the colors of the Progress Flag in honor of Pride Month. Here is a behind the scenes look at how crews put it together. Our group arrived to the flag raising on board the bus that will be serving our community throughout the month.

The Progress Pride Flag is an inclusive and powerful symbol that celebrates diversity. The flag includes black and brown stripes to represent marginalized LGBTQ+ communities of color and pink, light blue, and white stripes, which make up the Transgender Pride Flag.

This is the fifth year a flag raising ceremony kicked off our Pride Month celebrations. It recognizes the many contributions that our LGBTQ residents make every day and help shape who we are as a County. Other events include Takoma Park Pride Day on June 11, Glen Echo Park Family Day on June 17, Rockville Pride on June 24 and Pride in the Plaza on June 25.

June is an important month to recognize the LGBTQ fight for equality and an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of our LGBTQ residents. We must recognize that the community continues to deal with discrimination, isolation, threats of violence and assaults on their freedoms. One of our County’s greatest attributes is our commitment to inclusion. When I was a City Councilmember in Takoma Park passing new legislation which for the first time allowed partners to visit loved ones in the hospital is something that still makes me proud 30 years later. Our diversity makes us stronger as a County and as a community. I encourage all residents to participate in Pride Month events. We remain committed to protecting and uplifting the LGBTQ community in a positive way. We will continue to use this month to increase awareness and help people understand that at the end of the day we are all people. The more we accept each other as human, the stronger we will be as a County and community.

30×30 Women in Policing Initiative

Just as a new public safety academy class begins, the Montgomery County Police Department is launching a new initiative to bring more women into policing. Diversity within the police force is an important part of effective public safety.

This week Assistant Chief Darren Francke, Commander Amy Daum and Captain Michael Pratt joined my weekly media briefing to talk about the 30 x 30 initiative, a national program meant to raise the percentage of women in police departments to 30 percent by 2030. The commitment is a pledge and a process that the department will follow even as it deals with the challenges of hiring and retention that all police departments nationwide currently face.

In Montgomery County, we are proud to be above the national average of women in policing at 23 percent, but we can do better. On average only 13 percent of full-time law enforcement employees are women, just one percent higher than what was reported in 2010.

Commander Daum has been with MCPD for 20 years. She has seen many changes for women since she was first hired in 2003 including the department’s adoption of new policies and the procedures that help women like better fitting uniforms and structured scheduling to help with daycare for parents.

Commander Daum said she is more likely to be asked to collaborate with community partners or mediate a conflict during her shift than what the public thinks police typically do. She thinks if more women realized how highly valued those skills are more women would apply for a job in MCPD.

She also thinks it is important to dispel the myth that police departments are only looking for the biggest and strongest people who apply.

Our conversation, including a question-and-answer portion from local media, continued for around 30 minutes. I have asked our video editors to save the segment and share it on the Montgomery County website because of the frank conversations we were having about policing. It is a glimpse of how change occurs, why it’s needed and why the impact on policing will be greater than simply changing the gender ratios. I think it shows a human side of what goes on within the department, and I want to thank the employees who participated. You can find a link to the video on the Montgomery County Government home page. You can also listen to excerpts from Assistant Chief Francke and Commander Daum in my weekly video.

2023 NACO Award Winners

I am constantly impressed by the remarkable performance of so many of our employees and I was pleased to have some of our efforts recognized with national awards.

The National Association of Counties (NACo) is an organization that represents county governments in the United States. Its annual awards represent national recognition for the incredible work done by county employees and departments.

This year, our County award winners include:

I want to thank all the winners who showed judges on a national level how Montgomery County goes above and beyond for its residents. Since I first became County Executive, the County has collected more than 175 NACo awards for its outstanding community service, programs and educational efforts.

Memorial Day Events

Speaking of educational efforts, on Memorial Day, I went to the Button Farm Living History Center to commemorate Harriet Tubman: Journey to Freedom Day. A statue of Harriet Tubman has been on display there for the last two months. Remembering who she was and what she did is a crucial part of our history and I want to thank Button Farm, the Menare Foundation, Heritage Montgomery, Montgomery History and our Office of Human Rights for this event.

We are seeing too many places across the country put restrictions in place on teaching history and banning books to appease those afraid of facing painful and disturbing truths. I am glad that here in Montgomery County we embrace our past. This is not about feeling guilty, but understanding what happened and learning what we can do to move forward for a better future for everyone.

The same day I also caught the train in Silver Spring for a commemorative ride to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the B&O rail line. I boarded a MARC train in Silver Spring and rode with the approximately 700 other riders for part of the journey that had 11 stations in Montgomery County and ended in Brunswick. Many of our towns along the line developed in conjunction with the railroad because of the role trains played in advancing commerce and facilitating travel long before there were cars, trucks and airplanes. Train travel has been and continues to be an important part of so many of our communities and it was great to commemorate its importance.

Community Health Update

I am pleased that the threat to our community from COVID-19 continues to be low, though not non-existent. Around 1 year ago we saw a case rate of more than 400 per 100,000 people. This past week, we registered fewer than 13 cases per 100,000 people.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich

County Executive


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