Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) has sent a letter to County Executive Marc Elrich asking him to seek community involvement in the search for a new police chief.
The letter, co-signed by the other eight councilmembers, suggests that, “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.”
Chief Thomas Manger recently announced that he would retire in April after 15 years serving as the head of the county police department.
“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 Jawando in a press release. “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.”
In the meantime, the county executive’s office circulated an online survey asking for input “about the qualities and character that we should seek in the candidates for this highly visible and responsible leadership role.”
The survey closes at 6 p.m. today (March 20).
Jawando’s letter suggests that one model the county executive could consider is Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski’s search for a new police chief.
The search includes an interview panel made up of:
- two people from the county executive’s staff
- one representative from Baltimore County Council
- the Baltimore County State’s Attorney
- three members of the community, and
- a representative of a victim’s rights group serving Baltimore County.
Olszewski’s process also will include two public safety community forums to collect input.
Earlier this year, Jawando introduced Bill 1-19, the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act, which would change the way investigations of county police-involved shootings would be handled.
Photo courtesy Will Jawando.