Victor Brito says he intends “to hit the ground sprinting, not running” when he takes over next month as the new police chief in the city of Rockville.
“I am a hands-on person, meeting people is the best part of my job,” said Brito, the current police chief in Hagerstown who was named last week to head the Rockville department. “Building relationships is the foundation of good policing, as is customer service, so very quickly for me, I intend to hit the ground sprinting, not running, and meeting the people that make up the city of Rockville.”
The selection of Brito, who takes over June 18, comes after a national search that spanned many months and included input from Rockville residents through a survey that was available online and published in the November 2017 edition of “Rockville Reports,” a news source published by city officials for Rockville residents. All police department employees were also surveyed on potential candidates, according to a May 22 statement from Rockville City Manager Rob DiSpirito announcing Brito’s hiring.
Brito’s “law enforcement experience, leadership skills and ability to relate to citizens and employees alike make him a strong choice to guide our police department forward in its commitment to community policing,” DiSpirito said in the statement.
Brito, a Kensington native and resident of Brookeville, brings 27 years of experience to his new post. He worked with the Metropolitan Police Department in Washington, D.C., for 25 years before becoming the Hagerstown police chief in June 2016.
Brito said he views his primary role as Rockville’s police chief as working with residents and other members of the police department to understand their concerns and implement changes accordingly.
The new chief said he has acquired expertise in law enforcement protocol in urban communities during his career, which will serve him well in Rockville as the area’s population continues to grow.
“Washington, D.C., is a large, major city, the city of Hagerstown is a city also, as well as Rockville. Rockville is not a suburb anymore, Rockville is a growing city,” Brito said. “City life can sometimes be fast-paced and there are different nuances in every city, but people are people everywhere and human beings are human beings, so understanding and respecting and showing all people respect is a key tenant of mine.”
Before being named a captain of D.C.’s Metropolitan Police Department, Brito served as the assistant district commander of the 7th district where he led approximately 400 members. Before that, he served as the commander of the department’s disciplinary review division, the recruiting branch and the Metropolitan Police Academy.
Brito is confident that his roots as a Montgomery County native and resident will serve him well in his new position.
“I know the history of Rockville, it’s a place where I grew up. I know Montgomery County well, all my brothers and sisters were educated here,” Brito said. “I’m a Maryland product and it was an incredible opportunity to join a great police department in a wonderful city.”
Brito received a bachelor’s degree in management/leadership and a master’s degree in management/community development from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. He also teaches undergraduate criminal justice courses as an adjunct professor at American University in Washington.
Brito will officially resign as Hagerstown police chief on June 15.
Brito said he is committed to working with Rockville residents to ensure that they feel comfortable approaching the police department with concerns or problems.
“Good policing involves a collaborative problem-solving effort, and I’ve found in my career when you have team members and you work towards a common goal, things get accomplished,” Brito said. “Police are not apart from the community, they are a part of it, so good policing is being immersed in the community in all aspects of it and that’s what I intend to do.”