From the City Manager: Safer Streets, Safer Communities
by Angel L. Jones, City Manager
Residents of the City of Gaithersburg enjoy enhanced safety thanks to the efforts of the Gaithersburg Police Department, which has concurrent responsibility with Montgomery County Police for the enforcement of local, state and federal laws. Originally formed in the 1960’s to supplement the county’s efforts, Gaithersburg’s nationally-accredited Police Department now serves as the primary agency dispatched to calls for service within Gaithersburg. If available, a Gaithersburg beat officer will respond first. This is a highlight of Gaithersburg’s community policing effort, ensuring familiarity and information sharing between our officers and members of the community.
While a personal connection is the cornerstone of our policing philosophy, the use of technology is rapidly allowing us to serve the residents of Gaithersburg more effectively. In the past twelve months we have deployed surveillance cameras in strategic locations, we’ve installed in-car cameras and license plate readers, we’re using new software to fully automate property and evidence collection and release, and we have purchased facial recognition software to aid in criminal investigations.
The authorized strength of the Gaithersburg Police Department stands at 54 officers. The proposed fiscal year 2013 budget recommends increasing that strength to 57. It takes a significant amount of time to recruit and train officers to our exacting standards. Currently there are 52 sworn officers in the department. By increasing the authorized strength, we can enhance our commitment to having enough officers on the streets at any given time to protect our citizens. We have implemented a computerized performance evaluation system and have put in to place a competitive promotional process to ensure that our force remains both competent and highly motivated.
It’s not just humans and computers that aid our efforts. Last year we added a second K-9 Unit to serve Gaithersburg. Together, Max and Judah, along with their handlers, are frequently called upon to assist with responses to robberies, burglaries and many other types of calls. In 2011 they made or assisted in the apprehension of 44 suspects.
Crime is down in the City of Gaithersburg. With an active and involved citizenry that participates in National Night Out events, adds eyes and ears as part of Neighborhood Watch groups, uses online reporting to alert us to traffic violations, and serves on our Police Advisory Committee, the Gaithersburg Police Department continues its mission to protect life and property, while improving the quality of life in our community. Thanks in part to their collaborative efforts with other agencies, Farmer’s Insurance Group recently ranked the Bethesda-Gaithersburg-Frederick Corridor at #5 on its list of the Most Secure Places to Live in the United States.
Read more about the accomplishments of the Gaithersburg Police Department in its recently published 2011 Annual Report at www.gaithersburgmd.gov/police.