We, the leaders of the law enforcement community of Montgomery County, are angry and outraged over the killing of George Floyd by police officers in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Their actions in Mr. Floyd’s tragic, senseless death is an abject failure of policing. While each of us has issued a statement to our respective communities, we felt compelled to speak to the people of Montgomery County at large with one, unified voice.
We unequivocally condemn the actions of the Minneapolis police officers. Here in Montgomery county, we are aware of the historical relationship and distrust that has existed between the police and many minority residents—especially within the black community. This must change. Each of us has shared our disgust and outrage over Mr. Floyd’s death within our organizations and have communicated that disparate treatment in any form is unacceptable, it will not be tolerated, and actions based on bias of any kind will receive swift disciplinary action. There is no place for racism in our profession. This is not a high standard; this is the right standard.
When police work is performed correctly—fairly, respectfully, with kindness, empathy, restraint and discretion—it demonstrates the selfless commitment to the service of others that is our shared philosophy and the fundamental purpose of policing. Collectively, we engage in tens of thousands of contacts every year with members of our communities. Our officers do an outstanding job in the vast majority of those contacts as evidenced by our resident satisfaction surveys, however, whenever we fail to perform as we should, it reflects poorly on our agencies and our profession, and it risks damaging the trust of our communities which is essential to our ability to function and to be viewed as legitimate.
We are constantly challenged each day to serve the residents of a growing and diverse county. Building and maintaining the public trust is an ongoing task that we work on daily. Every negative interaction hampers our ability to earn that trust. We are aware that law enforcement everywhere is under great scrutiny and calls for transparency and greater accountability are voiced by many residents in our community. We realize that we must work toward greater transparency and accountability in order to hold the public trust.
To that end, we hereby commit to the following:
- We will work to continually improve training in cultural competency for our officers to enable them to more effectively and positively engage an ever-changing diverse community.
- We will remind every member of our teams of their individual and collective responsibility to treat all persons fairly, respectfully, with kindness, empathy, restraint and discretion. This is what we expect of our officers, and this is what our communities expect and deserve.
- We will increase our efforts to recruit and hire women and men that reflect the communities we serve and to hire the right people for this critically important work.
- We will hold officers and employees accountable for misconduct so that the public trust built from the good work of the vast majority of our dedicated workforce will not be diminished by the misdeeds of the few.
We are listening to you and stand with you in this extremely difficult time. We are all in this together.
Marcus G. Jones, Chief – Montgomery County Department of Police
Victor Brito, Chief – Rockville City Police Department
Mark Sroka, Chief – Gaithersburg Police Department
Antonio DeVaul, Chief – Takoma Park Police Department
Darryl W. McSwain, Chief – M-NCPPC Park Police – Montgomery County Division
John Fitzgerald, Chief – Chevy Chase Village Police Department
Darren Popkin, Sheriff – Montgomery County Sheriff’s Department