Ask a Cop: School Buses and Substations

Montgomery County Police Department spokesman answers questions submitted by Patch readers.


This week, Captain Paul Starks of the Montgomery County Police Department takes on questions from Patch readers.

Patch Reader Question: What is the law regarding stopping for a school bus on a road where there is a left turn center lane like Route 355 in Gaithersburg?

Captain Paul Starks: Unless the highway is divided, all traffic must stop.

Patch Reader Question: It seems to be customary in Montgomery County for drivers who are pulled over by police to stop their car immediately, even if they are on a busy thoroughfare such as Georgia or Connecticut, instead of turning onto the next side street before stopping. This leads to traffic problems and puts the officer at greater risk. Is it considered evading arrest if a driver proceeds to the next available side street before stopping, assuming the next side street isn't miles away? Can an officer ask a driver to move to a side street?

Captain Paul Starks: Yes they can.

Patch Reader Question: Fact or myth: Crime goes up in the summertime.

Captain Paul Starks: Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

Patch Reader Question: With the increased business development and residential construction in the East Silver Spring areas, there seems to be a strong rationale for maintaining police presence closer to the area. Since the 3rd District Police Station presently located at 801 Sligo Avenue is being relocated, is it possible to maintain and repurpose the existing facility at 801 Sligo Avenue as a police "sub-station", so there continues to be a police presence closer to the increasing business and residential development and crime in the East Silver Spring and downtown Silver Spring locations?

Captain Paul Starks: Currently the police share space with the fire department and the Silver Spring Urban Advisory on Georgia Avenue, just north of Sligo Avenue. This facility is scheduled to remain open after the 3rd District station is relocated.

Rick July 14, 2012 at 02:57 PM
this column remains dull
Citizen July 14, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I agree with Rick! Why don't you ask why officers hang out at 7-11 and Starbucks? Why they get discounted food when they eat at certain restaurants!!! Why they can be permitted to speed and be on their cell phones while driving!!
Joe Thomas July 14, 2012 at 09:02 PM
Give me a break. An officer is not expected to drive 10 straight hours without a break. Even though you might see an officer at a store he is in service and available for a call. I am sure that on your job you are expected to work ten straight hours without eating or drinking something.
Citizen July 15, 2012 at 03:00 AM
I can agree with you Joe some what. I'm sure there not calling out of service everytime they conduct a buisness CHECK. But when you see cruiser's sitting at a Denny's or I Hop for hours, that's a problem! It happens. Table of four to six officers sitting at a table and just talking. As a taxpayer, that's a problem. Officer's should be pro active and patrolling when there not taking their 40 min lunch break. Pro active patrolling could prevent a burglary, a DWI,ect. This can't happen when your just hanging out!!
Citizen July 15, 2012 at 03:35 AM
I guess we will have to disagree about this Frank. The type of policing has changed over the last 15 years. Having retired in 2008 from MCP and having other relatives on the department, I saw what was going on. The officers are so protected by the union. The commander from a station could not ask a patrol Sgt that his or her shift has low number of moving citations,criminal arrests,ect. The union would prohibited this from happening. The officers that are doing a good job are doing it because they took an oath to protect the citizens. These officers are busting their butts and giving a a honest 10 hours a day. There are far and few of these officers. You go to the local municipality police departments and you see that there held to a higher standard as far as moving cititations, criminal arrests, ect, They have no unions to assit the officers not to do their jobs. Don't get me wrong, MCP has a strong union and will protect the officers from the mangement from be disciplined unfairly. It just disturbs me after giving so many years and doing the right thing and then see officers coming to work for a social gathering and collecting a check. Not getting a raise has made this even worse over the past years. Officer just don't give an honest day of work other then the one's that care!
Joe Shono July 15, 2012 at 03:50 PM
Citizen, Thank you for recognizing the municipal police departments are held to a higher standard. I appreciate both points of view here.
Katie Griffith July 15, 2012 at 10:18 PM
Let us know what questions you have for Montgomery County police, and we'll be happy to ask.
ilkunta July 16, 2012 at 12:04 AM
so there is a police office in the fire station on ga ave?
Joe Thomas July 16, 2012 at 02:32 AM
I have never seen that (hours) I doubt that you ever have either. 40 minute lunch breaks? Have you timed them? If you are so concerned why don't you call the captain of the station?
joeshmo July 16, 2012 at 06:14 AM
As the wife of a police officer...Wow...if you are bored enough to stalk the restaurants they are eating at, maybe you need to do something to better occupy your time. I think that just the fact that they are able to sit and take a break means they are doing a pretty good job keeping crime from the community. And there are plenty of days when they do not get ANY time to take a break. I'm sure in your job you get a nice scheduled lunch break everyday. It's funny people will sit and talk about how the police are never around when they need them blah, blah, blah, but who will be the ones to get up from that meal they are eating to come help you out...thats right, the POLICE.
Linda Smith July 19, 2012 at 02:41 PM
I think most of the world has no respect for our law enforcement you should all stop and think about what you say. Our officers are all walking targets and do what they can to serve us all. Have we all forgot about 9/11 when all law enforcements pulled together to get us through that. Come on stop palking and buy that officer a cup of coffee.
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