City, County Delegations Consider Civilians On Police Trial Boards

As debates continue on the omnibus Public Safety and Policing Work group bills (HB 1016 and SB 1026), amendments are in works that may change the composition of police trial boards in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County.

As reported in The Baltimore Sun:

The city senators discussed amending the House-passed version of the police discipline bill. The measure provides for one nonvoting civilian member of the trial boards, which determine whether and how officers are disciplined for incidents of alleged professional misconduct. Trial boards now consist of three police officers.

Amendments were offered Thursday in the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee allowing for voting civilian members in Baltimore City and Prince George’s County, two majority-black jurisdictions with long histories of tensions between civilians and police.

Sen. Robert A. Zirkin, the Baltimore County Democrat who chairs the committee, ruled that the amendments required the approval of their local delegations before his panel could consider them.

The amendments would require that civilian members receive training in police procedures and rules before they could sit on the trial boards, but many police object to having civilians sit in judgment of officers for potentially career-ending allegations such as brutality.

The proposed changes also would exempt the trial boards’ composition from being a subject for collective bargaining with police unions.

For more information read the full article in The Baltimore Sun

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