The Montgomery County Council will consider at its meeting today whether to approve $200,000 for a new police substation in the Gaithersburg-Montgomery Village area that would pave the way to opening a sixth police district in 2006.
The new substation, which would serve the northernmost portions of the county, is needed because of the continuing population increases there, police and county officials said yesterday. The substation would open under the supervision of the current Germantown police district and would serve the area from Gaithersburg to the Frederick County line, officials said.
Since 1990, the upcounty population has grown from 145,000 to 174,000, and about 63 percent of the calls to which Germantown district officers now respond come from the Gaithersburg-Montgomery Village area, Thomas Fitzpatrick, district captain, said yesterday.
"When you look at the projected population in 2005, 2010 and 2015 and the projected calls for service, it became clear this facility is too small and we'd need to hire more officers," Fitzpatrick said.
The Germantown district has an authorized strength of 183 officers, although the current number assigned there is slightly less.
Fitzpatrick said that officers would be dispatched to the new substation exclusively from the Germantown district and that he has not yet determined how many would initially be sent. Ultimately, about 80 officers would work out of the substation by the time the sixth district opened in 2006.
About $135,000 of the funding would pay personnel, including a lieutenant and 7 civilian staff members, officials said. The remaining money would help pay for the lease of a building, which has not yet been found. Officials said they expect to sign the lease for a building in the spring and open the substation by early fall.
The possibility of dividing the Germantown police district was first discussed about a decade ago among Montgomery Village activists, and some officials even suggested adding the Gaithersburg-Montgomery Village area to the Rockville district.
Police officials first went to the County Council two years ago to request funding for a sixth district. The request was rejected because, council members said, there weren't enough 911 dispatchers to handle the calls a new police district might bring.