Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz has announced a plan of policy and practice reforms for the county police department. Kamenetz, accompanied by the county police chief, health officer and other local elected officials, shared these plans at a press conference Wednesday.
As reported by Baltimore County News:
Acceleration of the County’s body camera program
The County’s implementation of police body cameras began this past July. Currently 128 officers are wearing cameras in each of our precincts, with the original goal of full implementation by December 2018. Effective immediately, the County will increase overtime expense to triple the rate of training, so that by September 2017, 1,435 police officers will be equipped with body cameras in Baltimore County.
Independent review of the police department’s Sexual Assault policies and procedures
Baltimore County has requested the Maryland Coalition against Sexual Assault(MCASA) and Judge Barbara Howe to conduct an independent review of the County’s response to sexual assault allegations and make recommendations. As part of their analysis, they will review three years of sexual assault investigations that did not lead to prosecution.
Immediate change to sexual assault investigatory policy
As a result of internal reviews by the County Attorney and the State’s Attorney, Police Chief Johnson has implemented an immediate policy change. While officers on the street always confer with specialized detectives in the sexual assault unit while investigating these crimes, effective immediately every individual reporting a 2nd degree assault charge, as well as the suspect, will be personally interviewed by a detective in the sex crime unit.
Task Force to examine cultural-competency training, de-escalation strategies, and responses to citizens with behavioral health issues
The County Executive announced that a task force comprised of Police Chief Jim Johnson, Dr. Gregory Wm. Branch, Baltimore County’s Director of the Department of Health and Human Services and The Council of State Governments (CSG) Justice Center will collaborate to explore the police department’s de-escalation training options, examine officers’ responses to citizens with behavioral health issues, and also review cultural-competency training.
For more information read the full news release and remarks from County Executive Kamenetz on Baltimore County News.