Elrich Reflects on Past Year in Annual State of the County Address 

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich delivered his annual State of the County Address on Thursday at the Silver Spring Civic Building. 

Elrich said three recent events demonstrated “the character and resolve of our county residents”: the Rock Creek Woods Apartments flooding that killed 19-year-old Melkin Daniel Parada Cedillo last September, the January school shooting at Magruder High that critically injured a 15-year-old student, and most recently, the Friendly Garden Apartments explosion and fire that displaced more than 150 people in March.

After the Friendly Garden Apartments explosion, “Food and housing assistance to help these residents immediately poured in,” Elrich said, and more than $600,000 has been donated to help those displaced.

In his speech, Elrich highlighted accomplishments during the COVID-19 pandemic and ongoing efforts in areas like health, public safety, equity, climate change, transportation and affordable housing.

During last year’s address, Elrich said, he discussed the initial, limited COVID-19 vaccine supply that was in great demand.

“What a difference a year makes. We’re trying to get people to take vaccines now.”

Elrich discussed recently-released results from a resident survey, in which there was a 7% drop in ratings for overall feelings of safety compared to pre-pandemic levels. 

He said the county hopes to raise police officer salaries in an effort to enhance recruitment and retention.

“I think we globally recognize that if we’re going to have the police force we want and retain it, we’re going to have to pay them like we actually want them to stay here,” Elrich said.

“We’re also recommending expanding the police recruitment unit to attract the next generation of officers that will better reflect the diversity of our population. We should be able to draw more officers out of the Montgomery County community.”

Michael Baskin, Montgomery County Chief Innovation Officer, said the county is working hard to make sure that as employees exit, the county rehires in a way that promotes equity.

“And make sure that the county employees reflect the county and the communities that we serve,” Baskin told MyMCM. “And we’re also doing that with the police department who are bringing new and fresh ideas to make sure that our police department reflects the diverse communities that we serve.”

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