Montgomery County Police Need Our Support
By William Zartman
Policing is a life-risking and neighborhood-building calling, and we are fortunate to have a committed police force in Montgomery County that does its job professionally, is open to discussion, and keeps us safe. Since this is the case, why is the county government attacking our police, reducing its numbers, and keeping its pay low, all of which contributes to a significant decline in morale? How can those in law enforcement do their jobs under such conditions? If the members of our county government were thinking clearly, they would make a point to meet with the police instead of turning down invitations to do so. Getting to know each other on a personal basis would not only open the door to any complaints, but provide opportunities to work out solutions to real (not imagined) problems together.
Instead, the County Council seems to believe that Montgomery County is another Seattle or Portland, Minneapolis, Chicago or even Baltimore. Although that is not the case, the current mood of public panic has not only sullied our attitudes toward education and even covid, but has also destroyed our ability to separate reality from media headlines. It has also hampered our ability to make sound decisions. Our county police force does not use the knee or the choke hold (they’re prohibited). They stop speeding cars, not drivers—one cannot profile a car (statistics show a distribution of arrests that reflects the population of the area, and provides no evidence in the county in general of profiling).
We expect evenhanded justice from our policemen and women. We also expect secure conditions for their jobs so that they can provide security for us. We believe that any deviations from generally acceptable conduct should be treated as individual exceptions (which are liable to occur in every human activity) and not be used as typical examples of the entire profession. We believe that the police in Montgomery County will continue to act and be treated as neighborhood builders, who we can trust and respect. Moreover, we assume that our public authorities will stand up for them and provide them with full support as agents of that authority and friends of the people. Which they are.
Dr. I William Zartman is Jacob Blaustein Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Intenational Organization and Conflict Management at the School of Advanced International Studies of the Johns Hopkins University and a Member of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee.