Police Department History

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1983 Patrol Car
Police Motorcycle

On April 1, 1963, a resolution creating the Gaithersburg Police Department was signed by Mayor Merton F. Duvall. This resolution specified a traffic unit to be created within the Department; however, such a unit was not formed until 1983.

Chief David Marstiller was the first Chief of Police, although there are references to a “Town Marshall” in the minutes of Town Council Meetings prior to 1963. The town budget for FY64 included “police protection” salaries for the solitary officer amounting to $4,000, and equipment purchases of $500.

Over the years, there would be several chiefs of police; James Tassie, formerly of the Rockville City Police Department; Marson Johnson, who had been an officer in Michigan; John F. DeVries and George Fusco, both of whom had retired from the Montgomery County Police Department as Lieutenants; Mary Ann Viverette who was Chief from 1986 until her retirement in May 2007. John King succeeded Chief Viverette until 2010. The Department currently falls under the leadership of Mark P. Sroka.

The Department grew from an authorized strength of three sworn officers and one civilian clerk in the early 1970’s, when the City’s population was 7,000, to its current complement of 57 sworn officers and nine civilians. The majority of that growth occurred from 1986 to 1998 under the direction of Chief Viverette.

It was under the administration of Chief DeVries that the City Police began to operate under its current system of dispatch through the Montgomery County Police. As a retired Montgomery County Police Lieutenant, DeVries was in a position to work with the County Police in a way that had previously not been possible.

While the Department sent an untrained officer to a police academy in 1971, that was not to occur again until 1990. During the interim 19 years, only experienced officers from other agencies were considered for employment with the Department.

The majority of the Gaithersburg Police Officers have come from other agencies. The experience of these officers comes from agencies such as Montgomery County, Washington, D.C., United States Secret Service, Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office, Maryland National Capital Police, and Baltimore City, to name a few. This diversity in officer experience has resulted in an agency made up of highly-trained individuals with a variety of special abilities.