Montgomery County police veteran Marc Yamada nominated to be next chief

Montgomery County Police Department veteran Marc Yamada has been tapped to lead the department once Chief Marcus Jones retires at the end of next month.

Yamada, who currently serves as assistant chief, has been with MCPD for 35 years. 

He was officially announced as County Executive Marc Elrich’s nomination on Wednesday.

"Marc embodies the qualities we need in our next police chief," Elrich said. "[Yamada] is not just a skilled officer, but a true public servant."

Elrich thanked Chief Jones for his nearly four decades of public service to Montgomery County. Jones will retire effective July 1 and told FOX 5 he was pleased with the nomination of Yamada.

"It really does warm my heart, that fact that the county executive could see what I was seeing. That, we definitely had the talent from within," Jones said. "What drives me the most and I’m most proud of is the men and women who supported me during these five years. It hasn’t been easy. People just worked hard. There were days they were frustrated, and I shared their frustrations to some degree, but I felt like I had to lead them in a way to make sure they understood their back."

Two internal candidates were interviewed for job, including Yamada. Elrich said the challenges endured by the department over the past few years including the COVID-19 pandemic and calls for police reform encouraged him to select a new chief from within the department.

"These are hard conversations all across the country. Expectations are different, times have changed. This department did it remarkably well," Elrich said. "Not everyone was happy with everything we did but at the end of the day, everyone is committed to making sure we come out of this with the best police department in the country, if we are not already that. It’s one of the reasons why I have comfortable staying within the department for a promoter."


Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones set to retire

The Montgomery County Department of Police announced that after a career spanning nearly 40 years, Chief Marcus G. Jones will be retiring effective Monday, July 1, 2024.

Yamada, if confirmed by the Montgomery County Council, will become the first Japanese-American to lead the department. 

This was a point addressed by county leaders Wednesday as they stressed the importance of diversity while undergoing challenges with recruiting and retention. 

"I want everyone to know that I’m committed to upholding the highest standards that the previous police chiefs have set for the Montgomery County Police Department. Having served here since 1988, I recognize I’m inheriting what I feel is the absolute gold standard of law enforcement agencies across the entire country," Yamada said.

Asked about the challenge of recruitment, Yamada said one of his ideas is to partner with educational institutions in hopes of expanding the pool of potential recruits.

"We are deficient in our women and minorities, especially amongst our executive staff here. So those are things that will be a priority for us moving forward," he said.

Lee Holland, president of the Montgomery County FOP, said he was hopeful of the nomination.

"We think it’s going to help recruiting. We think it’s going to help morale. I’ve always said the best recruiters are the officers themselves. If we improve morale here, that’s going to improve our recruiting efforts," Holland told FOX 5. "If we don’t have those, we don’t have a police department. We can’t do community policing, we can’t enforce all of the laws we want to. That is our number one issue." 

The Montgomery County Council is scheduled to interview the County Executive’s nominee for police chief on Tuesday, June 11.