Montgomery County Council Members Give Positive Review of New Police Chief Candidate

Montgomery County Council Members Give Positive Review of New Police Chief Candidate

No official word yet from Elrich on McSwain’s nomination

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Darryl McSwain


Some Montgomery County Council members said this week that Darryl McSwain would make a good police chief, but they have not received an official word that he is County Executive Marc Elrich’s new nominee.

Multiple council sources told Bethesda Beat Tuesday that Elrich plans to nominate McSwain, currently chief of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division. Elrich has not publicly acknowledged that McSwain is his nominee.

Elrich announced Tuesday that Tonya Chapman, his nominee, had withdrawn from consideration. Word about McSwain as the new choice emerged a few hours later. McSwain retired from the Montgomery County Police Department last year after 30 years of service, reaching the position of assistant police chief.

It will be up to the County Council to confirm the next police chief through a majority vote.

County council member Hans Riemer said McSwain is someone who “seemed like a candidate for a future chief” although he wasn’t aware that he was in the running.

“He clearly had the respect of his colleagues and has a leadership quality to him,” Riemer said.

Council member Will Jawando said he, too, hadn’t been notified that McSwain was the nominee, but got to know him 20 years ago. At that time, Jawando was in AmeriCorps, a civil service program, and was assigned to Montgomery County’s 3rd District police station, where McSwain was stationed.

“I have a very high opinion of him, and if he were to be the nominee, I think that would be a good thing,” he said. “He’s a great man and has done a great job at the department.”

Jawando said he hopes Elrich’s candidate  focused on community policing.

Council member Tom Hucker said he thinks highly of McSwain, having worked with him. Hucker said McSwain is a good listener who believes in community policing and is always striving to make improvements.

“I’ve found his ability to relate to community members and groups to be strong,” he said.

Council member Andrew Friedson said Thursday on Montgomery Community Media said that he wasn’t aware of any further decisions Elrich had made, but he “has a lot of respect” for McSwain.

Council Vice President Sidney Katz said he had seen news stories about McSwain as the nominee, but hasn’t heard from Elrich that he will nominate him.

“The process should be, once the county executive can vet a name and formally send it over the county council, that’s the appropriate way to do it. It’s certainly not the best way or the right way to have something before we hear something formally,” he said.

Katz and other council members said they hope Elrich transmits a name as soon as possible, starting a formal review process by the council, but with proper vetting first. One problem with Chapman’s nomination, Riemer said, was that the executive branch didn’t provide enough of a positive endorsement of its candidate.

“I’ve been saying all along that I would like several relevant public safety officials to testify on her behalf. I think that that could have happened,” he said.

Riemer said a number of questions and controversies surrounding Chapman’s service as the Portsmouth, Va., police chief were not answered.

“They knew that they needed to present a strong case about her service in Virginia, and they just never did. They never got the information. They never shared the endorsements of relevant colleagues and officials,” he said.

Dan Schere can be reached at

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