Police reform workgroup makes recommendations to hold officers more accountable
ANNAPOLIS, Md. -After meeting off and on for months to come up with ideas on how to hold law enforcement more accountable, the Maryland Police Reform Work Group, made up of state lawmakers, has come up with a number of recommendations.
“I think we made a lot of progress,” said Speaker Pro Tem, Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes.
On Thursday, workgroup members voted 9 to 4 in favor of repealing the law enforcement officers bill of rights. A law that protects officers during investigations of officer abuse and misconduct.
“It has been identified that a lot of those protections are already within the current state law. And to have a separate piece of protections for law enforcement officers is somewhere not necessary,” said Delegate Sample-Hughes.
But it’s a move that has many law enforcement officers on the Eastern Shore concerned.
That would only make it harder to recruit men and women in the law enforcement. I fear it would even make it harder to retain individuals,” said Somerset County Sheriff, Ronnie Howard.
Another recommendation? Requiring every police department throughout the state of Maryland to make sure officers have body cameras by 2025.
“This is information that is necessary for us to get a full picture for us to understand all that has occurred at that specific incident,” said Delegate Sample-Hughes.
Lawmakers also recommended that an independent investigation be done – in the event of an officer involved shooting or death
“If it’s a high profile investigation obviously we’re going to request an outside agency to do an internal investigation,” said Sheriff Howard.
“We must ensure that there is a process in place for citizens and family members affected by someone who’s murdered at the hands of law-enforcement, gets the fair and due diligence process that they are due,” said Delegate Sample-Hughes.
And while making these decisions and recommendations are no easy feat, lawmakers say something* must be done.
“Where we are right now,We need to make change in the change needs to be systematic and it also needs to be within the parameters of the law,” said Delegate Sample-Hughes