UPDATE: Elrich Says He Will Nominate Marcus Jones for Police Chief

Marcus Jones, nominee for police chief

Acting Chief Marcus Jones is poised to be Montgomery County’s next police chief.

County Executive Marc Elrich said Monday he plans to nominate Jones for the position, which Jones has held since June.

Jones has been with Montgomery County police for 34 years, serving a number of positions, including assistant chief of the Investigative Services Bureau, commander of the Silver Spring police district and director of Major Crimes.

“This is a critical nomination that I take very seriously,” Elrich said in a statement.

Under the charter, Elrich gets to nominate who he wants for police chief. But the person would need at least five votes from the nine-member County Council to become chief.

In the statement, Elrich said he spoke with residents, community organizations, labor, religious leaders, County Council members — all said they didn’t want the status quo.

“They want to see changes that will make a good department even better and rebuild trust that has been shaken by some recent interactions between officers and members of the public,” Elrich’s statement said.

Those interactions include the police shooting of Robert White, an unarmed African American man; a police officer using the N word during the questioning of African American men at a McDonalds; and the force used to subdue a man wanted for selling drugs.

In each case, cell phone or police body camera video led to more questions by the public.

“I felt that it was important to look outside the department for new leadership.  However, Marcus and I have discussed my expectations and I am confident that he shares my vision and will carry out the changes I want to see,” Elrich’s statement said.

Councilmember Craig Rice, who represents the Upcounty, said he was happy Elrich saw that Jones was a highly qualified internal candidate who knows the county and knows what needs to be changed.

“Having a person committed to change is more important than whether they’re coming from whether internal or external,” Rice said.

Councilmember Gabe Albornoz, who serves at large, said, “To be able to instill change, you need the respect of the key stakeholders. Marcus has it, he’s earned it.”

In the Elrich’s statement, Jones said: “Throughout this process, the County Executive has made it very clear that he wants to see a change in the culture of this department. I am committed to fulfilling his vision and will work diligently to strengthen the relationship between the Montgomery County Police Department and all the communities we serve and protect.”

Jones would follow Tom Manger who was police chief for 15 years. Russ Hamill served as acting chief before taking over as chief in Laurel. Jones followed Hamill.

Jones announced he was applying to be chief of Montgomery County, but Elrich announced his top two picks were Antonio Devaul, the current chief of Takoma Park, and Tonya Chapman, formerly chief of Portsmouth, Va.

Both DeVaul and Chapman removed their names from consideration — Devaul shortly after his name was revealed and Chapman after questions arose about her service in Portsmouth.

The last time Montgomery County police promoted a chief from within its ranks was Carol Mehrling, who was chief from 1995 to 1999.

Council President Nancy Navarro said she believed Jones has always been a strong contender for the post, calling him a “transformational leader.”

“I think Chief Jones is somebody who does know the community. He will listen to the community, and he will listen to the county executive and the changes he wants to see done,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz, who chairs the council’s Public Safety Committee.

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