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Park Police commander under consideration for county police chief

by Terri Hogan

Senior Staff Writer

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich on Aug. 29 confirmed that he was considering former county police commander and current Park Police Chief Darryl McSwain for the position of police chief, although he had not yet not put forth a formal nomination at The Greater Olney News press time.

He said he did not think anything formal would take place before mid-September, although he said he could make an announcement that McSwain’s nomination was “pending” sooner than the middle of the month. That had not happened by press time.

Elrich said that before he makes the official nomination and sends it to the County Council, he needs to reach an agreement with McSwain, complete a background check and determine if legislation adjustment is required.

McSwain retired from the Montgomery County Police Department in April 2018 after 30 years of service before assuming the position of chief of the Montgomery County Division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police.

According to a Montgomery County Police Department press release, McSwain became assistant chief in the county in March 2013. Prior to that, he served as a patrol sergeant, Community Outreach Unit supervisor, Investigative Services Bureau administrative sergeant, Honor Guard commander, Montgomery County Law Enforcement Gospel Choir coordinator, deputy commander of the department’s 3rd District, commander of the 1st District, director of the Internal Affairs Division, director of the Special Operations Division and chief of the Patrol Services Bureau.

Elrich said McSwain retired under the county’s DROP (Deferred Retirement Option Plan), which prohibits county government re-employment.

“When he retired there was no prospect of this, and then he had an opportunity to go to Park Police and I get it,” Erich said. “But I feel like if you’ve got a really exceptional candidate, they should not be barred from getting a job just because they were in that program.”

He said the county needs to figure out how to be able to do so in rare circumstances for certain positions, such a police chief, which “is not an interchangeable part.”

He added: “I am confident that at the end of the day, this will work out. In the community and beyond the community there is a lot of support for him.”

On Aug. 27, candidate Tonya Chapman withdrew her name from consideration for the position of police chief.

Elrich expressed displeasure at “leaks” by the County Council regarding Chapman.

In a statement, Elrich said she brought a wealth of experience and knowledge that would have been good for the county, and that he wished her well in her future endeavors.

“Public safety remains a top priority for me and my administration; and I will move expeditiously and carefully to identify a new candidate for police chief for our county,” he said.

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