Montgomery County officials are exploring adding a new police district and increasing staffing to address crime in downtown Silver Spring.
An investigation is underway to determine whether a seventh police district in the county, focusing on downtown Silver Spring, is necessary, County Executive Marc Elrich said during a press conference on Wednesday.
The remarks were made one week after 62-year-old Charles Reynolds was fatally shot in the Wayne Ave. Garage as he took leftovers to his car following a family dinner.
“We are caught in a situation where every time we have incidents like this and we heavy up in a particular geographic area, those resources are coming from other geographic areas,” Elrich said. “So, it creates a challenge, which is why we need to get the police department back to being fully staffed as soon as we can accomplish that.”
Third District Commander David McBain told the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board in June that the district was down 26 officers, with some officers leaving law enforcement entirely, and others moving to another district in Maryland. The high cost of living here resulted in 45 percent of officers from the Third District living outside Montgomery County, according to McBain.
Elrich said that efforts are being made to recruit more police officers given the decrease in recruiting classes in recent years. The County Council and Elrich have agreed to raise officer pay so that the county can offer its officers a more competitive compensation package.
The county is exploring other measures in addition to adding a downtown Silver Spring police district, including increasing the number of cameras, Elrich said. Police have increased their patrols of county garages in the wake of last week’s fatal shooting.
A workload analysis is currently being conducted for the proposed police station; the proposal will be phased in over the next fiscal year if funding permits.
Montgomery County Graphic