John Nesky will serve as the police chief for the Chevy Chase Village starting October 1. Credit: Chevy Chase Village

Updated June 23 at 11:20 a.m. to add a comment from retiring Chevy Chase Village Police Chief John Fitzgerald.

Updated June 22 at 11:20 p.m. to reframe the headline. While Nesky mentioned police brutality as a top concern, he was not speaking about any existing problems with the Chevy Chase Village Police Department.

The Chevy Chase Village Board announced its new police chief John Nesky, 58, on Wednesday. He will begin working for the department on Oct. 1, according to a press release.

Nesky has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience and serves as the police chief for the Bowie Police Department in Prince George’s County, the release said.

In 2007, Nesky became the deputy chief of police and helped with the design, creation and implementation of the Bowie Police Department.

“I had a very rewarding time at Bowie,” Nesky said. “Not a lot of people get the opportunity to build a department from scratch.”


In March 2011, he was promoted to chief of police. Nesky said he is leaving the department on Sept. 15.

He said he looks forward to bringing his expertise to his new role as the chief of police for Chevy Chase.

There were five other candidates for this position, most of whom served as senior officers in and near Montgomery County


“All of us at the Village Board of Managers were impressed by the caliber and talent of those who applied for this position, and we look forward to welcoming Chief Nesky, who brings deep prior municipal experience,” said Elissa Leonard, Chair of the Village’s governing Board of Managers. “Chevy Chase Village is fortunate to hire him.”

One of the biggest things he will bring to Chevy Chase Village from Bowie is his commitment to addressing the nationwide issue of police brutality.

“You have to be able to have conversations with the community,” Nesky said. “We have the Citizens Academy [in Bowie] where we teach everybody what we do, why we do it and how we do it; and part of that conversation is acknowledging where we can get better.”


Whenever there was a national police brutality incident, Nesky would discuss it with other officers, walking through what they would do if a similar incident happened in Bowie.

Nesky said that he did not give community members a blanket statement that police brutality would never happen in Bowie, instead telling them what he is doing to actively prevent it.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s happening here or if it happens someplace else,” Nesky said. “You want to be able to make sure that your training is in place, your policy is in place and the culture of your department is in place, so it doesn’t happen here.”


Nesky said that establishing trust with his community is one of his top priorities.

“I operate on something called the bank of community trust, so anytime that you can, you need to be making deposits into that bank,” Nesky said. “I need millions of dollars in there because one bad incident can take away half of that account. There’s an inverse relationship between doing something good and building that deposit of trust versus a negative outcome that can absolutely wipe out that account.”

He said he will establish what his other goals are once he meets members of the community.


“At the end of the day, the goal is to always provide professional and compassionate police services,” Nesky said. “That means taking the time to find out what the community’s needs are, what the community wants, and policing in that vein and providing services in that vein.”

Prior to joining the Bowie Police Department, Nesky worked as a patrol officer for the City of District Heights in Prince George’s County for 11 years, he said.

“I came from a small community in District Heights where I started my civilian career,” Nesky said. “And so, I’m kind of going back to my roots with a smaller, more intimate community.”


Nesky began his law enforcement career as a military police officer in the United States Army.  He then graduated from the University of Maryland with a B.A. in Criminal Justice.

Chevy Chase Village is comprised of 720 homes and 2,000 residents, and it’s “rare” that a community this small would have their own police department, the release said.

The department has 11 officers, including Police Chief John Fitzgerald, who announced he will retire this fall after serving Chevy Chase for 12 years, the release said. Nesky said he looks forward to taking over Fitzgerald’s responsibilities and duties.


“I’ve known John Fitzgerald for a long time, so I have no doubt that there’s a very strong foundation there already,” Nesky said. “It’s going to be just a matter of coming in and seeing where I can tweak or improve to just make the department better.”

Fitzgerald said that Nesky is a great fit for his role and has enjoyed working with him.

“Chief John Nesky has deep experience as a municipal police chief and as a leader in two Maryland law enforcement agencies,” Fitzgerald said. “I’ve had the pleasure of working with John on police legislation and policy through the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association. He will be a great fit for Chevy Chase Village and I’m pleased to be passing the baton to him.”


In addition to his work as a police chief, Nesky is the state director for Law Enforcement Torch Run and is both a member of the Board of Directors and a unified partner for Special Olympics Maryland, he said.

“Working with the athletes brings some light and happiness into the profession,” Nesky said. “It makes you more empathetic. It really makes you a better officer who’s able to serve the needs of all of the community.”

Recently, he participated in the Law Enforcement Torch Run in Bowie on June 15, and he marched in a parade on May 27 with the Prince George’s County Special Olympics Track Team, according to his Twitter.


“My last parade as Chief of Bowie is in the books!” he tweeted.

He said he “absolutely” plans to continue his role in the Special Olympics going forward.

Chief Nesky is married, with two children and five grandchildren. He said in his limited free time, he likes to spend as much time with his grandchildren as possible.


Nesky said he also enjoys being an active member of the community he serves, and Chevy Chase Village is no exception.

“I look forward to getting to know this community and becoming part of it,” Nesky said.