The Montgomery County Police Department’s Public Information Office held an open house for the media on Friday, September 14 at the Public Safety Headquarters building at 100 Edison Park Drive in Gaithersburg. About a dozen media representatives from local newspapers, online news sites and television stations attended the morning tour.
I was particularly looking forward to the event because I live nearby and I have always wanted to tour the building, which is also known in the neighborhood as the GE Tech Building and/or the National Geographic site.
Upon entering the building, the first thing we learned is that security is tight. There is one official entrance and it includes a metal detector and security sign-in desk where you will be asked to hand over your driver’s license. After everyone on the tour was issued an I-D badge, the tour began.
Our first stop was a large conference room, located right off the main lobby on the first floor, where the police and fire departments plan to hold press conferences during news events.
It was noted there is no official sign that reads Montgomery County Police Department headquarters on the building for television stations looking for a backdrop for reporters working from the field. We did find there are plenty of power hook-ups for charging batteries and powering up lights. There was also a short discussion about the best place to park satellite trucks to ensure a clear live signal from the site.
Next, we entered the elevators to go upstairs to tour the public information offices and to meet more police department staffers.
Police Chief Tom Manger joined us upstairs as well and asked if we wanted to see the crime labs, which were not in use yet. As we headed up to the CSI unit, it was jokingly noted that we may not want to touch anything in the lab as we certainly would not want to accidentally leave our DNA in the crime labs. The personable Manger also shared some stories and told us, that during his career as MCPD police chief, he has spent zero time in the department’s current crime labs because there has been no need for him to be there.
The police and fire investigators’ new offices are spacious and offer great views of the surrounding Kentlands and Lakelands neighborhoods. In the near future, the department’s Rockville First District station will soon be relocated to the building as well.
Here’s a look at some photos from the media tour.