Community Connections 3

The Montgomery County Police Foundation Looks Inward and Reaches Out to Strengthen Ties and Enhance Relationships

Mission statements can be deceiving. According to their website, the mission of the Montgomery County Police Foundation (a 501(c)(3)) is to enhance the quality of police service in Montgomery County and strengthen the relationship between the police and the community. Simple enough. Or maybe not. The truth is, that since Marvin Address became the president of the Foundation three years ago, he and his team have worked to raise awareness of the Foundation by running it like a business. The plan is proving successful, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Marvin has seemingly fit several careers into one lifetime, including an air-traffic controller with the U.S. Army, work with an actuarial firm, and several decades as owner and operator of an insurance company. At the Foundation, he has set a path no less ambitious.

“This started out as, ‘Will you do me a favor?’” says Marvin, recalling when his friend and then-Police Chief Tom Manger asked him to take over the Foundation. “Now, it’s almost full time.”

More than a dozen volunteers run the Foundation. The youngest is 34. At 82, Marvin is the oldest.

“He never does anything halfway,” says Marvin’s wife, Sandra, who explains that the Police Foundation presented an opportunity to “to do something he was very passionate about.”

Sandra is retired from a career in group insurance and employee benefits.

“[Marvin] isn’t terribly patient. He wants to make things happen quickly. In a matter of a few years, he has worked hard to make its presence known, that it is there to support the police and the community, and he has brought in a variety of talent.”

Autism/IDD Outreach

The Foundation provides grants to support the Autism/IDD (Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities) Outreach Unit of the Montgomery County Police Department Officer Education Program. The program includes educating members of the community and police officers by facilitating events such as the annual MCPD Autism/IDD Night Out and the Spectacular Kids Night Out event.  

“The unit provides a layered approach to Autism/IDD awareness and safety through education, follow-up, outreach and response,” says Officer Laurie Reyes of the MCPD Special Operations Division. “The Autism/IDD Night Out culminates our efforts, allowing a time for introductions and interactions in a fun and educational atmosphere. We also give out awards to families who support our program and the entire Autism/IDD community.” 

This photo shows community member Ryan Goldman and his family with Officer Reyes. Former MCPD Chief Tom Manger is at the podium. Ryan devised Spectacular Kids Night, which is for families that include a person with autism or other intellectual or developmental disability.

“This event is an opportunity for those with special needs and their families to meet local police officers and fire and rescue personnel, network with other attendees, and learn about community resources all in an informal setting,” Officer Reyes says.

This past spring, the Goldman family received one of the Chief’s Awards for their efforts in partnering with the Department’s Autism/IDD Program. In addition to Ryan, the Reyes family includes mom NaToya, son Toyrn and daughter Nariah.

Officer Reyes explains that the Police Foundation helps fill in funding or other resource gaps for the police department.

“Having a resource that is at our fingertips is invaluable. The Foundation says, ‘What do you need? Let’s make it happen.’”

K9 Program

The Montgomery County Police Department K9 unit includes 21 handlers and 26 dogs. (Some officers work with two dogs.) Ari Elkin, sergeant of the MCPD K9 unit, says MCPD canines go through an initial 16-week basic patrol canine school where they learn foundational obedience; agility training, which helps them navigate obstacles during real-time deployment; how to track, locate and apprehend suspects; how to locate suspects hiding in a variety of structures; and how to search for articles and evidence.

The MCPD and the Police Foundation are exploring ways for the Foundation to support the K9 program.

“The plan is to ultimately use the Foundation to help pay for retirement benefits for the dogs,” says Sergeant Elkin, adding that this could include support for food and vet care for the retired dogs.

Officer Christopher Jordan and his K9 buddy, Harper, are pictured. Harper is a 6-year-old German shepherd. Officer Jordan and Harper have worked together since Harper was 14 months old.

 Opioids

To help with the opioid problem, the Foundation works with the MCPD Special Investigations Division. Marvin says he attends seminars and helps strategize solutions, and last year, the Foundation provided $10,000 for Narcan, a drug that helps reverse overdoses.

Second Genesis Foundation, Inc. helps reduce opioid deaths in the county by supporting the D.A.R.E. education program for elementary students and providing additional Narcan Kits to MCPD officers. MCPF grants support training classes, equipment and officers’ ability to save lives using Narcan.

In addition, the Foundation is building a 24-foot trailer with an interior outfitted to resemble a home. The trailer will appear at community events where parents and others can take escorted tours to learn to identify areas in their own home where their kids might be hiding drugs.  

Educational Outreach Workshops

The Foundation visits local companies to conduct programs to prepare employees in the event of a shooting or other emergency. Members of the Foundation also visit senior citizen residential facilities to educate residents about fraud and scams to protect them against falling victims to these schemes.