The latest headline from Bethesda Beat Magazine 2021 reads…
POLICE & FIRE – Departures, sagging recruitment plague Montgomery County police even as crime soars
Shocking? — Perhaps, but this is the outcome of demonizing, harassing and vilifying our men and women in Blue! Here is what the Bethesda Beat and Goldstein had to say …
So, what could be driving this trend across our County’s law enforcement ranks? I suppose you have to be living under a rock to know that the County’s leadership has engineered a relentless attack on the County police department.
This attack finds its roots in thoughts and ideas expressed in the overly hyped 1619 Project and the idea that modem day law enforcement is the equivalent of the runaway slave patrols of the old South. This is the theme that Will Jawando, Montgomery County Councilmember, has been pushing on the residents of the County.
His “Defund the Police” rhetoric along with eliminating School Resource Officers in Montgomery County Public Schools directly reflect his attitude toward law enforcement in Montgomery County. Slave patrols across the County? What is the truth here?
As far back as 2002, we can find Department of Justice studies on the performance of Montgomery County Police with statistics that were compiled between the years 1993 – 1999. If there was a time for the police to misbehave in an unequal racial manner across the County, this would have been it. But here is what the study tells us:
In the interest of brevity, I will not review the entire study; but I will select some key indicators of the Justice Department’s assessment if where our County Police were at that time:
Finding 1.1: Amount of Force – The use of force by Montgomery County police officer’s is infrequent …
Finding 1.3: Use of Hands and Feet – In every year from 1993 to 1999, the most frequent type of force used by Montgomery County officers involved the use of hands and feet only. So, it does not appear that there is a history of “hunting” Black men like the slave patrols of the old South …
Finding 1.4: Use of OC Spray – In every year from 1993 to 1999, the second most frequent type of force reported is the use of OC Spray. No guns here either …
Finding 1.5: Use of Canines – From 1993 to 1998, the use of canines was the third most frequent type of force used by the Montgomery County police department. Still, no one getting shot in the streets …
Finding 1.6: Type of Force Used by Suspects – Hands and feet are the most frequent types of force used by suspects. Firearms or knives were used by suspects in two percent of all use of force incidents …
Finding 1.7: Type of Injuries to Suspects – Suspects were injured in just over half of all use of force incidents.
The most typical types of injuries involved exposure to OC spray, lacerations and dog bites.
We could go on, but I think you get the picture. In 2021, the Chief of the Montgomery County Police issued his own ANNUAL USE OF FORCE REPORT – 2020 https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/pol/Resources/Files/Annual-Reports/UseOfForce/2020%20MCPD%20Use%20of%20Force%20Report_FINAL_5_18_21.pdf
The Chief summarizes his report by noting:
- Force was only used by officers in 0.25% of the total dispatched calls for service.
- Five districts, Bethesda, (2D), Silver Spring (3D), Wheaton (4D), Germantown (5D), and Gaithersburg (6D) experienced decreases in the number of reported use of force incidents from the previous year, while one district, Rockville (1D), reported an increase.”
The Report goes on to tell us that:
With overall statistics spanning the calendar from 1993 to 2020, why should we not simply dismiss comments like this one in the Bethesda Beat article —
Perhaps it’s time to hold people like Ms. Ponder and Will Jawando accountable for the divisive and inflammatory rhetoric – the statistics simply do not support their narrative — Not in Montgomery County, Maryland. It is time for a great awakening by Montgomery County residents — that all things considered, they live in a safe community and that it can be made better by having a fully funded competent and welltrained police. The presence of a police cruiser is not the slave patrol.
We need to work together to solve the problem of recruiting the type of people we need on the force, and that work starts at the ballot box!
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