Baltimore County Council Introduces “SMART” Police Reform Bill

Baltimore County Council Member Julian Jones has introduced the Strengthening Modernization, Accountability, Reform, and Transparency (SMART) Policing Act with the support of County Executive Johnny Olszewski after reaching a compromise with fellow county officials. 

The SMART act contains many of the provisions from the bill Council Member Jones had introduced earlier this summer. However, through compromise, it removes some more controversial parts that led to the original bill being tabled and codifies some provisions in police policy rather than in law.

The Baltimore Sun reports:

The legislation is essentially the same reform bill Jones proposed before it was tabled by the County Council in August. It calls for the Baltimore County Police Department to update its policy to limit use of force; provides whistleblower protection to officers who report misconduct; compels officers to intervene if they witness excessive use of force; and establishes an early-intervention system to identify officers at risk of misconduct, among other measures.

Although the draft bill prohibits the department from hiring officers from another jurisdiction when those officers have been fired or have resigned in connection with a pending or sustained disciplinary record, it allows county Police Chief Melissa Hyatt to continue making recruitment decisions at her discretion.

The article notes the legislation which was introduced on September 8 is to be discussed at a council work session on September 29 and up for a vote on October 5.

For more information:

Baltimore County’s Olszewski, Jones announce new police reform bill banning chokehold (The Baltimore Sun)