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MCPD Marks 96-Year Anniversary Today

 

Montgomery County Police Department

This is the first known photograph of the entire MCPD. Pictured left to right: Earl Burdine, Lawrence Clagett, Guy Jones, Chief Charles Cooley, Leroy Rodgers, and Oscar Gaither. Photo taken by Lewis Reed on July 4, 1922.

Today marks the 242nd anniversary of the birth of our nation and the 96th anniversary of the beginning of the Montgomery County Police Department. Cattle rustling, bootlegging and stealing poultry were among the most common crimes when Montgomery County hired its first police chief and five officers in July 1922. So widespread was the theft of chickens and turkeys that some residents employed a homespun form of crime prevention by cutting off a specific claw on their birds to identify them. “Officers knew who all the chicken thieves were,” said one historical account of the era put together by the police department, “and upon getting a report of missing Rhode Island Reds, or some other breed, would head straight for the thieves’ hideaway to try to catch them ‘red handed’ before the birds got to the frying pan.”

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.

Congratulations MCPD and thank you for your many years of service!

Source: County police department celebrates 75th anniversary July 2, 1997

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July 4, 1922: First MCPD Posing in Front of Reed Brothers Dodge

Montgomery County Police 1922

This photograph is the first known photograph of the entire MCPD. Pictured left to right: Earl Burdine, Lawrence Clagett, Guy Jones, Chief Charles Cooley, Leroy Rodgers, and Oscar Gaither. Photo by Lewis Reed

This blog entry is posted today to commemorate the anniversary of the Montgomery County Police Department. It was 95 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. For several years, since there was no police station, the officers would meet for “roll call” on the steps of the red brick courthouse 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. 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.

Source: Montgomery County, Two Centuries of Change by Jane C. Sween

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 94 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.

Montgomery County Police Department

Pictured left to right: Earl Burdine, Lawrence Clagett, Guy Jones, Chief Charles Cooley, Leroy Rodgers, and Oscar Gaither. Photo by Lewis Reed

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.

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