The state’s work group of legislators charged with looking at public safety and policing issues held a town hall style meeting on July 23, 2015 from 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm to hear from citizens about their concerns with police practices in Maryland and their recommendations for reform. The meeting included several invited panels of speaker representing statewide advocates, Baltimore City, the Eastern Shore, and Anne Arundel County. It also included brief testimony from citizens and members of the audience. Common themes brought to the work groups attention included:
- Greater accountability
- Increased transparency
- Revamped training
- Revisions to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights
- Increased civilian and non-police entity oversight
- Deeper understanding of police/community interactions, community policing
- Broader criminal justice reform
As reported in The Baltimore Sun:
Michael Scott, whose Equity Matters in Baltimore advocates for best practices in organizations, called for focused anti-racism training to help officers recognize their implicit biases.
The Rev. William Wallace of Union United Methodist Church in St. Michaels recommended training police to experience cultures other than their own and to “explore their own cultural baggage.”
The Rev. Stephen A. Tillett, president of the Anne Arundel County NAACP, called on lawmakers to ensure that civilian review boards oversee police conduct and that independent prosecutors take on cases involving killings by police.
Several witnesses called for changes to the police bill of rights law, including scrapping a provision that gives officers 10 days before they have to give a statement about an incident that raises questions about their conduct and another tossing out brutality complaints that are not made within 90 days of the incident.