Then & Now: Montgomery County Police Department Motorcycle Unit
This blog entry is posted today to commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 98 years ago on July 4, 1922 that the MCPD was first established, consisting of five officers and a Chief. Each of the officers was issued a police motorcycle for routine patrol duties and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motor. Thus, the Montgomery County Police Department was formed upon the foundation of the motorcycle.
Montgomery County Police Department Motorcycle Unit (THEN): Posing in front of Reed Brothers Dodge on July 4, 1922 Chief Charles Cooley, center, and his men of the first mounted unit of the Montgomery County Police Force, were on their first day of duty. For several years, since there was no police station, the officers would meet for “roll call” on the steps of the Red Brick Courthouse in Rockville at 2:00 p.m. every day to let each other know they were alive and well. Chief Cooley was given the privilege of a Model T Ford. The chief was paid $1,800 a year (the chief now gets $112,564) while the officers got $1,500. Each of the officers was issued a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun, a black jack, law book and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motorcycle. Jones patrolled Silver Spring, Rodgers the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area and Burdine, Clagett and Gaither the Upper County areas.
The county’s population in the early 1920s was just 35,000 (it’s now more than 800,000). Much of the county was farmland, which accounted for the thefts of livestock. It also was the Prohibition era, when bootlegging and moonshine still factored routinely on an officer’s shift.
The officers worked 14 hours at night, 10 hours in the day, with two days off every two weeks. But they were on call at all times. Since there was no mobile radio contact (the first one-way radio system was installed in cars in the early 1930s), the officers tended to hang around the courthouse or a local firehouse that had a phone.
One of the officers came up with the idea of placing a flashing red beacon light on a pole atop the Rockville courthouse. When flashing, it would alert police that they had a call or were wanted at the office. In 1927, similar lights were used at district stations in Silver Spring and Bethesda.
Montgomery County Police Department Motorcycle Unit (NOW): Currently, the Motor Unit consists of forty-two full-time motor officers who make up six decentralized motor squads. The squads are assigned to each of the six district police stations and are under the command of a sergeant. The primary missions of the squads are traffic enforcement, collision reduction, pedestrian safety and maintaining the orderly flow of traffic in the county. The squads are also involved in special details to include, dignitary and Presidential escorts, funeral escorts, the Montgomery County Fair, the Tiger Woods Golf Tournament and numerous foot races and parades.
The Motor Unit currently fields twenty-eight 2007 and 2008 Harley-Davidson Police motorcycles of which four to five are assigned to each of the district stations. The squads at each station are divided into a day work and evening shift and those officers share motorcycles as necessary. The current work period for the squads is eight hour shifts, Monday through Friday. The current work period for the squads is eight hour shifts, Monday through Friday.
The Unit also fields a Competition Team which participates in events that include both the United States and Canada. The team has received numerous awards in both the individual and team categories at these events. The Unit will also be hosting the Mid- Atlantic Police Motorcycle Safety Competition in Gaithersburg, Maryland in September of 2010.
The Montgomery County Department of Police Motor Unit continues its traffic safety mission today as well as the furtherance of police motorcycle safety and awareness throughout Montgomery County and the State of Maryland.
Thank you to the entire Montgomery County Police Department for all you do in keeping our community safe. Salutes!
Sources: “Montgomery County, Two Centuries of Change” by Jane C. Sween
Montgomery County Police Department
July 4, 1922: First MCPD Posing in Front of Reed Brothers Dodge
This blog entry is posted today to commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 93 years ago on July 4, 1922 that the MCPD was first established. In those days, Montgomery County was farm country, sparsely populated, automobiles sharing dirt roads with horse-drawn wagons. But it was changing into a proper suburb, and there needed to be a police department.
Posing in front of Reed Brothers Dodge on July 4, 1922 Chief Charles Cooley, center, and his men of the first mounted unit of the Montgomery County Police Force, were on their first day of duty. (click image to enlarge)
The MCPD consisted of five officers and a Chief. Each of the officers was issued a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun, a black jack, law book and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motorcycle.
Source: Montgomery County, Two Centuries of Change by Jane Sween
New Blog Feature: Rockville’s Past Through the Lens of Lewis Reed
Looking back at photography from the past is a fascinating experience for me. Since I started this blog, I have had the opportunity to look through my grandfather’s extensive collection of photographs from historical locations in Maryland, Washington, DC and Virginia. Some of the photos are more than 100 years old! Lewis Reed was a well-known photographer in the county and many of his early photographs are now part of the Montgomery County Historical Society photo archives. The Jane C. Sween Library was recently given a collection of 280 glass plate negatives, showing Montgomery County in the early 20th century.
Every now and then the light bulb goes off and a new idea is born. It occurred to me that with the vast number of photographs in his albums, that this blog would be a great place to highlight some of them. With that in mind, I will be spotlighting photographs from his albums occasionally that may not pertain to Reed Brothers Dodge.
I have no formal history training, just a general interest in local history where I grew up. I will not try to be an historian; I will post a photo and supply a few sentences of context. All of them will in some way will offer a visual history of a part of Rockville’s past. I look forward to sharing them with you.
Montgomery County Police Department Marks 90-Year Anniversary Today
This blog entry was posted today to commemorate the 90th anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 90 years ago today that the MCPD was first established. Posing in front of Reed Brothers Dodge on July 4, 1922 Chief Charles Cooley, center, and his men of the first mounted unit of the Montgomery County Police Force, were on their first day of duty.
The Montgomery County Police Department was established on July 4, 1922, consisting of five officers and a Chief. Each of the officers was issued a Harley-Davidson motorcycle, a .38 Smith & Wesson handgun, a black jack, law book and was allotted $300.00 a year for the upkeep of their motorcycle.
The Montgomery County Police Department has produced a commemorative book as they celebrate 90 years of service. This exciting new book will contain the history of MCP from 1922-2012, exciting historic accounts and stories, full-color portrait photos of current officers, personnel and retirees, division and unit awards, an In Memoriam Tribute to those who paid the ultimate sacrifice, and more, with hundreds of historic and full-color photographs.
You can order the “Montgomery County Police Department 90th Anniversary Commemorative Book” on the Acclaim Press website.
Reed Brothers Can Now Be Found On Montgomery County Historical Society’s Website
The Montgomery County Historical Society (Maryland) has just added a new page to the History & Resources section of their website, entitled “Other Local History on the Web“. Reed Brothers would like to acknowledge with much appreciation, the Montgomery County Historical Society for placing a link to our history blog on their new page, so we may now be able to preserve and share our heritage with future generations.
You can find us here: Other Local History on the Web
Also, please take some time to explore the official blog of the Montgomery County Historical Society. Their artifacts blog, “A Fine Collection” contains an incredibly wide variety of objects representing 300-some years of Montgomery County.