Acting Montgomery Co. police chief tapped to take on permanent role

The acting police chief in Montgomery County, Maryland, is the intended pick to become the permanent chief.

Marcus Jones, who has been acting chief since June, will be County Executive Marc Elrich’s pick to lead the department, the county said in a statement Monday afternoon.

Elrich said in the statement that he had spoken with residents and leaders from all over the community, and said, “They don’t want the status quo. They want to see changes that will make a good department even better and rebuild trust that has been shaken by some recent interactions between officers and members of the public.”

Though “it was important to look outside the department for new leadership,” Elrich said that after speaking with Jones and laying out his expectations, “I am confident that he shares my vision and will carry out the changes I want to see.”

“Throughout this process, the County Executive has made it very clear that he wants to see a change in the culture of this department,” Jones said in the statement. “I am committed to fulfilling his vision and will work diligently to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County Police Department and all the communities we serve and protect.”

“I know he’s up to the task,” Montgomery County Council member Sidney Katz said of Jones. “As public safety chair, I look forward to continue working with him.”

“He will certainly listen to the public, he will certainly work with all the community members. Community policing is something that we all want,” Katz said, adding that he expected Jones’ nomination to be approved.

Jones became the interim chief after Chief Tom Manger retired in April, and Assistant Chief Russ Hamill, the first interim chief, left to become the police chief in Laurel. He took over just as a controversy began over a police officer’s use of a racial slur while on a call, and while repercussions continued from the shooting of Robert White, an unarmed man, by a county police officer who was cleared of wrongdoing.

Two top candidates — Tonya Chapman, the former police chief of Portsmouth, Virginia; and Takoma Park police Chief Antonio DeVaul — removed their names from consideration over the summer.

Elrich will send Jones’ name to the Montgomery County Council for approval. Jones would become the county’s 17th police chief and the third African-American to hold the post.

Before becoming acting chief, Jones was the assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau, the statement said; he also served as the commander of the 3rd District, was director of major crimes and a drug-enforcement commander.

Jones also created an award-winning diversity training program, the statement said.

WTOP’s Dick Uliano contributed to this report. 

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