In a new feature on North Potomac-Darnestown and Potomac Patch, we'll introduce you to a new community member every other week. These people will be in high profile positions within our areas, including educators, volunteers, public officials, etc.
This week, Montgomery County Police Department's 1st District Community Services officer Michael Prather introduces himself and answers five questions.
Patch: Why did you become a police officer and what was your personal drive to do so?
Officer Prather: After graduating college I became a counselor in a boys group home. While in school I always knew I wanted to work with the community and with the younger population. I worked as a counselor for 4 years and I enjoyed what I was doing but I wanted a change and I still wanted to work with the community and the younger population.
With that in mind I discovered that I could become an officer and still work with the community.
Patch: You're a community services officer. For those who may not know, what are the responsibilities of that position and what does your typical day-to-day look like?
Officer Prather: As the Community Services Officer I’m responsible for anything involving the community, which will range from talking to pre-school children, doing property surveys to establish a safe environment for employees or consumers, community meetings and training neighborhoods in Neighborhood Watch. Basically, I can be seen as the liaison between the community and the officers at the 1st District.
Patch: What are some issues you've dealt with in the past pertaining to the North Potomac-Darnestown and Potomac areas, and what potential issues should these areas be on the lookout for in the future?
Officer Prather: Unfortunately over the past several years the entire county, not only North Potomac and Darnestown, has been experiencing problems with thefts from autos. This is when cars are being compromised and items are being stolen from inside. The persons committing the crime are taking everything from coined money to laptop computers. Because of this we ask residents to make sure they lock car doors and wind up the windows. The community is also asked to take anything of value into the house or at least make sure it is out of sight.
Patch: Being a police officer is a demanding job. What type of things are you involved with in the community when you are off-duty?
Officer Prather: My family keeps me busy with all kinds of activities and I’m very active in playing softball from April through November.
Patch: How can people in the 1st District better utilize your services?
Officer Prather: I’m here to do anything possible to assist the community, whether it’s to attend a community meeting or do a scout tour of the station.