We are dedicated to protecting the park system and residents of Montgomery County, Maryland. Read our trail safety tips and join our Park Watch Program. Also check out Montgomery County parks and facilities crime reports online. In the event of an emergency, call 301-949-3010.
The Maryland-National Capital Park Police was founded in 1953 by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC). It has grown into a diverse police department with 113 positions - 92 sworn and 21 civilian personnel. Park Police operate 24-hours per day, seven days per week throughout the park system of Montgomery County. Our jurisdiction covers 495 square miles or 35,000 acres of land that accommodates over 14 million visitors each year. M-NCPPC property includes 418 parks, 100 miles of trails, 219 playgrounds, swimming pools, campgrounds, golf courses, horse stables, soccer stadiums, and stream valleys.
Our highly-visible patrol unit polices parkland 24 hours a day by car, foot, or bicycle. Our Special Operations Section Officers are cross-trained in horse-mounted, motorcycle, and marine patrols. The Community Services Section interacts with the community through such programs as Crime Prevention through Environmental Design, the Volunteer Program, etc. The Investigative Services Unit provides undercover, intelligence, and recruitment services.
Come ride-along with us and see what the Maryland-National Capital Park Police are all about.
The Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division, in concert with the citizens of Montgomery County and The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is committed to providing quality police services through the prevention, detection, investigation of crime, and prosecution of criminals while providing a safe and enjoyable recreational environment. In so doing, we are dedicated philosophically and operationally to the concepts of Problem Oriented Policing.
Organizational ethics exemplify the essence of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police and are the critical attributes most important to individuals, the community and the Division. These ethical values are the foundation upon which we make decisions and each one builds upon the other.
Is essential to the foundation of this agency. Officers commit to stay honest in thought and deed in their personal and official life. All of our decisions will be based on this important quality. Without integrity, public faith and public trust are not attainable.
Is what commits us to excellence. We honor the badge and the profession by never allowing our decisions to be affected by personal feelings, prejudices, animosities or friendships. The respect runs deep into the core of human decency and respect of the natural environment protects our resources for current and future generations.
Drives everything that we strive for. We work with a diverse community as a part of our team. Through open, timely and effective communication, a clear understanding of direction is established.
The Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division, is a Division within the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. The Commission was created in 1927 to protect open space and control development in the geographical areas of Maryland that is adjacent to the District of Columbia.
In 1954, the Commission recognized the need to provide public safety for the parks under its jurisdiction and therefore created the Park Police Division. It began with three officers who worked six days a week for an annual salary of $3,000. The officers shared one police car until it broke down and the Commission purchased two used cars to replace the initial vehicle.
Two divisions were created to serve two counties, one policing the Prince George’s County park system and the other the Montgomery County park system. Both Divisions are now the second largest police agencies in their respective counties. Today, the Montgomery County Division consists of 95 authorized sworn personnel, 25 civilian employees, and approximately 36 volunteers.
Office of the Chief
Within the Division, the Chief oversees a management staff of over 20 command and supervisory personnel. The command staff is responsible for the supervision of police personnel and the implementation of the operational programs, policies and objectives of the agency. Park Police operate 24-hours per day, seven days per week throughout the park system of Montgomery County. Our jurisdiction covers 495 square miles or 35,000 acres of land that accommodates over 14 million visitors each year. M-NCPPC property includes 418 parks, 100 miles of trails, 219 playgrounds, swimming pools, campgrounds, golf courses, horse stables, soccer stadiums, and stream valleys.
Office of professional standards
The Internal Affairs function within the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division, strives to protect the public, the agency, and agency employees by maintaining the standards of professional conduct for officers of the Division. Because complaints concerning police practice may disclose problems or deficiencies in policy, procedure, or training, proper investigation of these complaints allows improvement and correction. Equally important as reporting police misconduct is the recognition of a job done well. If you would like to provide us with some feedback on our performance, please send us an e-mail. All persons filing complaints will receive a letter following the investigation process or the administrative hearing which will indicate the outcome of the process. All commendations received are forwarded to the employee and their supervisor. Also housed in the Office of Professional Standards is the function of firearms training and media.
The Assistant Chief of Field Operations oversees the Patrol and Special Operations Sections. Park Police Officers are dedicated law enforcement professionals who provide top-quality service to the diverse communities we serve. We strive to enhance the quality of life for park patrons. We highly value our reputation and are keenly aware of how the community perceives us.
The mission of the Patrol Section is to provide front line services to our community. Officers assigned to the Patrol Section are the first to respond to requests for service from members of the community and Commission staff. We understand that police responses are critical to community opinion of the Division and the perception of crime. With that in mind, we attempt to provide the most professional, comprehensive, and service-oriented response possible. The Patrol section is the largest component of the Park Police. Officers are thoroughly trained to provide exceptional service to the community while maintaining personal and community safety. Officers are tasked with quickly assessing on-going situations, protecting life and property and effectively and efficiently taking appropriate actions. The responsibilities of the officers assigned to the Patrol section are broad and varied.
Lt. Nicole Adams is the Commander for the evening and midnight patrol shifts. The evening work shift works 4:00 p.m. to 2:00 a.m. and the midnight shift works 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m.
Special operations section
Lt. Karen Petrarca is the Commander of the Special Operations Section (SOS). SOS patrols the regional parks and the hiker and biker trails throughout Montgomery County using horses, motorcycles, and boats. This section also staffs and manages special events with large crowds of people. When not participating in special events, SOS officers assist Patrol Services with their normal responsibilities. SOS also focuses on enforcing hunting and game law programs and unusual event planning. Officers assigned to SOS are cross-trained in horse-mounted, motorcycle, and marine patrols. In addition to patrolling park property, Special Operations officers are often called on for control at large events, search and rescue operations, dignitary escorts, and specialize in patrolling park areas with limited access.
The Assistant Chief of Support Operations oversees the Administrative Section, Communications Section, Investigative Services, and Management & Technology Services Sections. The Support Operations Branch is dedicated to providing quality support services to the Division. Our goal is to provide the tools for Division members to do their jobs more efficiently and effectively.
Acting Lt. Rick Pelicano is the Commander of the Administrative Section. The Administrative Section has the following responsibilities: Volunteers, Rangers, and policy and planning. Acting Lt. Pelicano is also the Commander for the Community Services Section (see below). Also housed in the Administrative Section is the function of training. The Training Section's mission is to provide a variety of training to ensure that employees continue developing their skills and are versed in the latest law enforcement trends.
Community services section
The Community Services Section coordinates a number of special programs for the Division. The section conducts event analyses of large events in the parks to determine the need for additional security measures. Recommendations can include additional police staffing, changes in location, the type of entertainment allowed, etc. The Crime Prevention through Environmental Design (CPTED) expert assists in the development, renovation, and construction of park facilities in Montgomery County to ensure a safe recreational environment. Community Services also coordinates the Division's volunteer program. There are approximately 37 volunteers who perform a variety of functions during the year. One of the goals of the program is to improve police service by using volunteers to assist in patrolling our parks and developing a spirit of cooperation and partnership with the community.
The Communications Section is responsible for receiving and dispatching all calls for police service, emergency and non-emergency, within the park system in Montgomery County. The Communications Center operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Using state-of-the-art equipment, Communication Technicians work with the community and Officers to keep Montgomery County parks safe.
The Investigative Services Section investigates
Management & technology
Lt. George Coleman is the Commander of the Management & Technology (M&T) Section. The M&T Section is committed to providing quality support services to the Division. This section consists of technology, communications, evidence/property management, records, information technology, facility management, and fleet management. Mobile data terminals, computer aided dispatch, and a records management system are all being interfaced to create a total technological package for the officer on the street. These computers allow an officer to conduct database queries, receive calls for service information, write reports, and access the agency's e-mail system. The system has turned the patrol vehicle into a mobile office. Currently, we are supporting officers from other local agencies on our computer servers allowing them to access the latest technology also. The Technology section is always looking for new and innovative ways to make everyone's job easier and more efficient.
Citizens and prospective Police Officer candidates are encouraged to find out for themselves what the Maryland-National Capital Park Police is all about. Anyone, 13 years or older (minors must have parental permission), can take a half-day or a whole-day ride along with a Park Police Officer. Thinking about a law enforcement career? Find out what it's all about by riding along with an experienced officer. In case of emergencies, citizens may be asked to leave the area for their own safety. Every effort will be made to accommodate your choice of time and date.
- The Division's ride along program is available to all persons over the age of 13. No one individual may ride more often than once every three months without the permission of the Patrol Commander.
- All participants shall be required to complete and sign the Ride Along Application and Waiver form. If the participant is under 18 years old, his/her parent or guardian must also sign the form giving consent.
- All ride alongs shall be scheduled at the Division's convenience.
- Participants shall wear proper casual dress attire, such as slacks and a shirt or blouse. No T-shirts or shorts are permitted.
- Ride alongs shall be scheduled for a four hour period. Longer periods may be approved upon request.
- In the case of a potentially dangerous or hazardous call, civilians shall be dropped off at a safe location and arrangements made to pick the ride along up.
- Participants shall not become involved in any situation except at the officer's request.
- Participants shall remain in or on the police vehicle (horse, motorcycle, boat or car) unless advised otherwise by the officer.
- Participants shall comply with the officer's instructions at all times and shall wear appropriate safety equipment, as required.
NOTE: Failure to comply with any of the aforementioned rules shall result in the immediate termination of the ride along.
Ride-along application and waiver
INSTRUCTIONS: Print the form out, fill it out, and fax it to 301-929-7818, Attn: Gwen Wilmer.
Ride-along application and waiver (pdf, 13KB)
For more information contact:
Date of last update: May 21, 2013