The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

The School Newspaper of Winston Churchill High School.

The Observer

    Police request more staff

    Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger requested Jan. 19 that more police officers be sent to the county to provide ample support for its growing population.

    Manger is working on a staffing plan that will outline the divisions and units which would most benefit from increased staff.

    “We want to be able to match the high standard in the level of police services that have been provided to the residents and visitors of Montgomery County,” Assistant Police Chief Wayne Jerman said. “By adding the additional officers, the community will feel a reduction in the fear of crime. It will improve public safety, and it will also improve the quality of life.”

    According to Jerman, Manger’s staffing plan is nearly complete. Upon completion, Manger will submit the plan to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, who will then make a recommendation about it to the Montgomery County Council.

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    “We are focusing on increasing the number of first control officers—the ones who respond to the 911 calls—but we haven’t ignored the other areas of responsibility that the police department is responsible for,” Jerman said.

    According to police employee data from the FBI website, county police departments nationwide average 2.7 officers per 1,000 residents. According to Jerman, the Montgomery County Police Department employs 1.19 officers per 1,000 residents.

    “Even though we are well aware that we are by no means in an economic waterfall of good prosperity, we’re trying to be reasonable and move cautiously to be able to attract, hire and train those that we hire,” Jerman said. “We’re not asking to double our [police force], but we are trying to move cautiously over the next few years to increase the size.”

    Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) recognizes the relevance of Manger’s staffing plan but also acknowledges the current financial situation.

    “There are going to be tradeoffs,” Berliner said. “There’s only so much money, and we can’t do everything we’d like to do, but public safety is local government’s most fundamental responsibility so my hope is that we will find a way to accommodate an increase in our police force.”

    Potomac residents may especially benefit from an increase in police department staff after the recent increase in burglaries in the area. According to recent crime summaries from the police department website, from Nov. 21 to Jan. 31, officials reported 51 residential and commercial burglaries in the police district serving Potomac, Rockville and part of Bethesda. 

    However, according to Jerman, the police identified two trends in these burglaries and identified and arrested the perpetrators based on those trends. Berliner does not believe that having more police officers in the areas where the burglaries took place would have prevented them.
    On the other hand, some students believe that additional police officers would be beneficial to the Potomac community.

    “With everything that has been going on, it would help,” senior Joanne Pan said. “Before the robberies, I felt safer. There was one a couple of years ago in my neighborhood.”

    Jerman encourages people to report all suspicious activity to the police.

    “Even one burglary or robbery is one too many,” Jerman said. “We’re never too busy to provide safety to the community.”

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