New Police Team Guided By Neighborhood Needs
By Kevin O’Rourke
Germantown, like many large towns, is a collection of neighborhoods. Nobody knows a neighborhood better than the folks who live there. The Montgomery County Police Department has recently launched a new initiative to help neighborhoods deal with problem areas and individuals, and they are asking for help from residents to guide them.
Each of the six Montgomery County Police Districts will have its own District Community Action Team, or DCAT, which is a squad of five uniformed officers, a corporal and a sergeant who can, through community outreach, go into neighborhoods to address their particular issues.
The genesis of the DCAT is something that the MCPD rolled out a number of years ago, which was the Police Community Action Team, or PCAT, a countywide team that would go to different police districts and perform whatever specialized task the specific district required. For instance, when the PCAT was deployed in Bethesda, it would work on alcohol and DUI enforcement, or in Silver Spring it would proactively try to intercept and apprehend people committing street crimes.
The PCAT would complete a task in one district, and then move on to another deployment. Soon, the number of requests for a PCAT deployment from each district necessitated the need to for each district to have its own community action team. As a result, Police Chief Thomas Manger and County Executive Isaiah Leggett requested that the County Council include funds for a PCAT team for each police district in the annual police budget.
According to Germantown District Commander, Captain David Gillespie early versions of the District 5 DCAT team hit the streets in May but the team will begin rolling with its full complement of seven members this week.