Montgomery County police celebrate 100 years

Officials at the 100th anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. Chief Deputy Maxwell Uy (foreground) and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

Seated foreground in white T-shirts are descendants of Earl H. Burdine, one of the original six police officers in the Montgomery County Police Department, founded 100 years ago.

Two former heads of the Montgomery County Police Department — Tom Manger, who is the current U.S. Capitol Police Chief; Donald Brooks — attend the 100th anniversary commemoration of the department.

Montgomery County police celebrate their 100th Anniversary outside the Rockville red brick courthouse.

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From a rural county where a police force of six patrol on motorcycles to a modern department charged with policing a county of more than one million residents, Montgomery County, Maryland’s police department marked its 100th anniversary with a ceremony outside Rockville’s historic red brick courthouse.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan attended the ceremony, and he talked about the challenges that police across the state currently face.

“Three times in the last few weeks, members of our Maryland law enforcement community have been the target of violent assaults,” he said.

Hogan referred to the time a Montgomery County police cruiser was fired upon.

“These recent incidents are just the latest reminder that every single day, we call on our law enforcement officers and all of our first responders to stand on the front lines to protect the rest of us,” Hogan said.

Hogan said that’s why he “fought tooth and nail” to provide $500 million for law enforcement, including increasing state aid to local police for training, recruitment and retention.

Hogan congratulated the department and presented Montgomery County police Chief Marcus Jones with a citation to commemorate the department’s 100-year milestone.

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich also addressed the crowd of police officers, retired chiefs and family members. Elrich, a Democrat running for reelection, said that police face increasing challenges and demands. “Today, a police officer is expected to be a social worker, a mediator, a mentor, a lawyer, a teacher, a paramedic and a superhero all at the same time.”

And while Elrich said Hogan’s increased funding for policing would be put to good use in the county, he also said there must be a balance of funding for social services without eating into public safety budgets.

“We cannot turn our back on the needs of social services to try to put people on the right path,” Elrich said, adding that money should not come at the expense of efforts to protect the public. “We have the ability to do both, and I believe our budget allows us to do both.”



The perception of police within communities was mentioned several times, and when County Council President Gabe Albornoz spoke, he mentioned his own experience as a child of about 12 years old, when a neighbor in his Bethesda neighborhood was killed.

“I was scared,” Albornoz said. He sometimes mowed the neighbor’s lawn, and he said he was likely the last person to see her alive.

Albornoz said the detective who spoke to him was “truly remarkable.”

“I will never forget how that detective made me feel. That detective made me feel secure and safe, and that despite that evil, everything was going to be OK,” Albornoz said.

Jones said the police are in “as challenging an environment for law enforcement as I have ever seen,” and that the role of police demands they become “guardians, not warriors.”

“In our next 100 years we will not be successful if we do not mend the relationships between many in our community and our officers,” Jones said.

Jones said he’s optimistic about the future of policing. He likened Thursday’s event to a family reunion, where some focus on the past, and others on what lies ahead.

One of the items near the podium was a 75-year time capsule that was assembled 25 years ago, containing, among others, a patrol flashlight and a Polaroid camera.

Jones said he got a kick out of seeing the Polaroid, and recalled having to load the cameras with film to take photos for evidence at crime scenes and crashes.

The time capsule of the future, which will be opened in 25 years, would include a mobile data computer, a stun gun, and, of course, “We must place a mask inside the time capsule to commemorate what has occurred over the past few years,” Jones said.

Amid the celebration, there was a somber note as a bell tolled to remember 19 fallen officers and a police dog.

Kate Ryan

As a member of the award-winning WTOP News, Kate is focused on state and local government. Her focus has always been on how decisions made in a council chamber or state house affect your house. She's also covered breaking news, education and more.

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