In order to cut costs, the Town of Chevy Chase will have only one off-duty Montgomery County police officer patrolling its streets for eight hours a day beginning Feb. 1.
The Town has been hiring off-duty County police officers for about 10 years to patrol its streets and parks. Currently, one officer each per shift watches over the area for a total of two eight-hour shifts. These shifts are generally during morning and evening rush hours.
Whether or not an officer is actually working in the Town, residents are still protected by the Montgomery County Police Department at all times. Calls for police assistance go directly to the county police dispatchers, who then either alert the officer patrolling locally or send officers currently on duty for the County.
“The County takes over automatically. Even when we have an officer, the call goes to the County,” said Township manager Todd Hoffman.
Reducing from two to only one shift per day “is a cost-cutting measure that the council agreed to for the remainder of this fiscal year,” Hoffman said.
The reduction will save the town $70,000, according to Hoffman.
Criminal activity within the Town of Chevy Chase will be monitored during the next five months. If an increase is seen, the Council will then decide whether to return to two shifts or anther system.
Since at least 2007, the Town of Chevy Chase has contracted with an off-duty Montgomery County officer, who wears a County police uniform and uses its car, weapon and other equipment, Hoffman said.
There is no set time for the eight-hour shift. “We stagger it,” so the police protection is not predictable, Hoffman said, adding that the officer is out on patrol throughout the eight-hour shift.
As of the 2010 U.S. Census, there were almost 3,000 residents and a little more than 1,000 housing units. The median income was $206,000, according to the census, which also listed the population as 92 percent white.
The Town is the largest of the Chevy Chases in the County. Its borders extend from East-West Highway to the north, Connecticut Avenue on the east, Bradley Lane on the south and one block east of Wisconsin Avenue on the west, according to its website.