King named asst. chief of police
Mar. 13, 2002
Manju Subramanya
Staff Writer

John A. King

John A. King, who began his 20-year county police career patrolling the streets of Silver Spring, was named assistant chief of police Tuesday.

King, 43, of Damascus, fills the vacancy created by the departure of Alan G. Rodbell, who retired Dec. 31 to take up a job as deputy police chief in Scottsdale, Arizona.

"I am delighted," King said Monday, saying Police Chief Charles A. Moose broke the news to him Feb. 25 after a training session where King -- as police director of personnel since May -- had been outlining some recruitment goals.

Moose recommended him for the job to County Executive Douglas M. Duncan; on Tuesday, the County Council unanimously confirmed King's appointment. King will head up the Management Services Bureau, supervising personnel, management and budget, technology and communications. Montgomery has two other assistant police chiefs -- Robert W. Barnhouse, who oversees the five police districts and the sixth substation, and Donald E. Mates, who supervises major crimes, investigations and family services.

King climbed steadily through the ranks from his first assignment as a Silver Spring patrol officer in August 1981. After stints as sergeant of the Rockville patrol and of the Rockville Special Assignment Team, King was promoted to lieutenant and appointed deputy director of the Special Investigations Division, Rockville, in January 1993, targeting open-air drug areas.

In June 1994, King was appointed as director of the Office of Community Policing and helped implement the then new trend of policing where the same officer worked the same area in partnership with residents.

In August 1995, King was named deputy district commander of the Germantown District where he stayed nine months before becoming an executive assistant to then Police Chief Carol Mehrling.

Eight months later, King was promoted to captain and named in January 1997 as district commander of the Wheaton-Glenmont district, where he made a name for himself over his 4 1/2-year tenure by reaching out to minority groups, schools and businesses.

"I found John to be an extremely responsive police commander. He understood the needs of the community," said Natalie Cantor, director of the Mid-County Center, one of five county centers responsible for ensuring delivery of services in the region.

King helped create a sense of safety in downtown Wheaton by establishing an uniformed police presence in the downtown business area, Cantor said.

"He is a terrific manager and upstanding person," she said, adding that she is delighted with his promotion.

Bill Griffin, a retired U.S. marshal who served on the Wheaton Police Advisory Commission when King was district commander, said King was "truly interested in having a diverse group of citizens in the Wheaton area" advise him.

King tried to instill in the Wheaton community the sense that police officers were "peace officers" and as much a part of the community as its residents, Griffin said.

"The community is going to be well served by John," Griffin said.

Both Cantor and Griffin also praised King's work with youth, especially his involvement with youth soccer.

King, who teaches at the Montgomery Soccer Club, said soccer is one of his "passions." Some of the high school seniors the club has taught have won college scholarships to American and George Washington universities, he said.

Among those King has taught is his own son, J.J., a 18-year-old senior at Damascus High School. King, whose wife, Cathy, teaches English at Damascus High, has another son, Robby,15, at the school and a 12-year-old daughter, Annie, at Baker Middle School in Damascus.