Maryland lawmakers discuss police reform legislation ahead of session
ANNAPOLIS, Md. – As racial tension and issues with police brutality continue to build across the United States, some members of the Maryland General Assembly are already discussing legislation to hold police in the state more accountable.
“Police reform is going to be a big topic this year in the General Assembly,” said Delegate Wayne Hartman (R-District 38C).
Over the past couple of days, the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee has held several virtual meetings discussing police reform and the bills they plan to present this upcoming session to address police misconduct. Bills that include creating a statewide public database for complaints filed against officers.
“Let the public see the facts. That’s how you build trust. Not by saying trust us, everything is good. Doing so is not unfair to the officers,” said the Senior Staff Attorney for the ACLU of Maryland, David Roach.
Other legislation that was discussed included establishing a use of force policy for all police departments in Maryland to follow and eliminating no-knock warrants. But some eastern shore lawmakers feel that getting rid of that procedure is the wrong move.
“This isn’t something that just happens arbitrarily where a cop just says hey let’s just bust down the door and serve this warrant. It’s methodical, it’s thought about. It’s vetted and it’s done for the protection of the people in the area and the law enforcement,” said Hartman.
Meanwhile, others feel as though these lawmakers are making decisions based on emotion and aren’t thinking rationally about how these bills could affect the entire state.
“There are going to be decisions made that are going to just impact all the good work that’s been done at the local level,” said Senator Addie Eckardt (R-District 37).
But at the end of the day, some lawmakers can at least agree that something needs to change.
“How did we get to this point? We need to fix it,” said Hartman.