Chevy Chase Village Board tables policing contract

by Katie Pohlman
Special to The Gazette

If passed, a new proposal from the Village of Martin’s Additions would allow the community to share some of the police services of neighboring Chevy Chase Village.

Chevy Chase Village Board members discussed this new partnership in their monthly meeting Monday .

Village Manager Shana Davis-Cook and Chief of Police John Fitzgerald presented the idea to the board after receiving a letter from Martin’s Additions’ village manager asking for supplemental services from the Chevy Chase Village police department.

The program would allow the Martin’s Additions village manager to contact the Chevy Chase Village police department when police officers were needed and Montgomery County police were unavailable. All 911 calls from Martin’s Additions residents would still go to Montgomery County police.

Chevy Chase police would only respond to the call if they were not previously occupied with something in their primary jurisdiction. While tending to a call in Martin’s Village, the police officer could be called back to Chevy Chase if they were needed.

Right now, Montgomery County Police has jurisdiction over Martin’s Additions, a 64-acre area between Brookeville Road and Western Avenue that is home to 933 people, according to the 2010 census data. Under the proposal, Chevy Chase Village police would take and respond to calls from the Martin’s Additions village manager’s office. If asked by the Montgomery County police, Chevy Chase officers would act as first responders as well, something they already do.

Martin’s Additions’ village manager was not immediately available to comment on the proposal.

The Village of Martin’s Additions would have to pay a monthly rate for the police service, according to Davis-Cook. She proposed a $1,250 monthly charge, which allows for 12 hours of service in the Village of Martin’s Additions per month. Martin’s Additions would have to pay $105 for each additional hour spent in that community. This amount, Davis-Cook said, was based on the hourly wage of officers and the price of vehicle fuel and maintenance.

“It will be our flat rate, regardless on if we go there a lot that month or not at all,” Fitzgerald said.

Fitzgerald said he also would send officers out to patrol the Village of Martin’s Additions for half-hour periods during times when there were two officers in the station. When there was only one officer in the station, they would be dedicated to serving Chevy Chase Village only.

Martin’s Additions would benefit from faster response times and continuity in responding officers, Fitzgerald said.

Davis-Cook said Chevy Chase Village would run a pilot program for six months. Fitzgerald said during the pilot program, the police station would collect data on the number of times the residents of Martin’s Additions called for help, how many times the police were able to respond and how many times they had to say no. Based on that data, Chevy Chase Village will decide whether it will continue the program or not.

Fitzgerald said that the program would benefit both villages by stopping crime that affects both of the neighborhoods.

“If we stop a drunk driver in Martin’s Additions, the whole community benefits,” he said.

The Chevy Chase Village board members said they believed the fee charged to Martin’s Additions was too low. They decided to table to proposal until July’s meeting.

Also during the Monday night meeting, the board reviewed a sidewalk replacement project for fiscal 2014. The board decided to continue the plans, allowing certain residents to request no replacements in front of their houses, if they are satisfied with the quality of their current sidewalk.

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