A lifelong Montgomery County resident has been appointed to head the county's division of the Maryland-National Capital Park Police.
Antonio DeVaul has served as acting chief since the spring and was officially selected as chief earlier this month. In the position, DeVaul oversees the operations of a division that polices more than 400 parks and 35,000 acres of parkland.
DeVaul said one of his goals as chief is to maintain partnerships with community groups "to ensure the park system remains one of the safest in the country" and "remains a safe recreational outlet for all."
Another of his goals is to continue to maintain an intelligence-led policing model that allows officers to proactively place resources in areas where there might be problems, "trying to get ahead of the curve as far as crime," he said.
A 19-year park police veteran, DeVaul said he chose to join the agency because a park police officer helped him when he was 6 years old. DeVaul got lost at a Montgomery County park while he was at camp, and an officer found him.
"I wanted to be able to have the same impact," he said.