Montgomery County, Maryland, where I live, is looking for a new police commissioner. There is an obvious candidate for the job — Marcus Jones, the acting commissioner and 34-year veteran of the force.
Jones comes highly recommended by both the previous police commissioner, who has retired, and the County’s longtime State’s Attorney. Not only that, he’s African-American.
But there’s a problem. Montgomery County has moved from left-liberal to flat out left. The move was officially confirmed when Marc Elrich, a radical anti-business lefty, was elected County Executive.
As in all left-wing jurisdictions, the County police department is under fire for doing its job. In this environment, recommendations from the outgoing commissioner and a prosecutor are a minus, not a plus.
Thus, according to the Washington Post, Jones is not among the two finalists for job. Instead, the finalists are Antonio DeVaul and Tonya Chapman.
DeVaul is the police chief in Tacoma Park, Maryland, which for decades has been a small leftist enclave just over the D.C. line (turns out, it was ahead of the times). His department consists of 40 sworn officers. Montgomery County has 1,300.
DeVaul’s status as a finalist strikes me as a bad joke.
Chapman’s inclusion is even less funny. She was the head of the police department in Portsmouth, Virginia which has a force of 255 officers. But Chapman resigned from that job in lieu of being fired for poor leadership.
Chapman, an African-American, claims her sacking was due to her race. But she was replaced by another African-American female. The city manager who canned Chapman is also an African-American female. Chapman’s allegation of discrimination is preposterous.
To summarize, Chapman headed a department about one-quarter the size of Montgomery County’s. She was ousted for poor performance. And she falsely claimed that the discharge was racially motivated.
Chapman would be a Montgomery County resident, par excellence. But not as our police commissioner. Yet, through the miracle of leftism, she’s a finalist for that very job.
Are DeVaul and Chapman the best Montgomery County can do when it comes to filling the job of police commissioner? Clearly not. Jones, the acting commissioner, is almost surely a better candidate.
Moreover, it’s hard to imagine that the County could not attract an outside candidate with experience running a major police department. According to the Post, the outgoing commissioner was the police chief in sprawling Fairfax County, Virginia before coming here. His predecessor was the chief in Portland, Oregon.
Expressing his disappointment that Marcus Jones isn’t under consideration, the State’s Attorney for Montgomery County said:
We’re at a critical juncture. The police department considers itself under attack. There’s absolutely no doubt they feel that. And we do not want the police to stop doing their jobs and create a situation where de-policing leaves us less safe as a community.
But “de-policing” and reduced public safety may well be in the cards, not just in Montgomery County, but in two other major Washington, D.C. suburbs. Across the river, Arlington and Fairfax Counties have replaced competent veteran prosecutors with inexperienced, anti-police leftists whose campaigns were funded by George Soros.
In all three jurisdictions, wokeness, that infantile condition, seems to trump public safety. For now.