The Calvert County Commissioners passed a resolution, forming the county’s Police Accountability Board and Administrative Charging Committee, as required under state police reform legislation from 2021.
During its February 15 meeting, the Board of Calvert County Commissioners discussed the state requirements for county-level oversight boards, and subsequently passed a resolution calling for their creation. The Board expects to begin accepting applications for membership in the weeks ahead.
From a summary memorandum prepared by the Office of the County Attorney:
By 2021 Laws of Maryland Ch. 59, the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 (the “Act”), the Board of County Commissioners is required to stand-up of a police accountability board and an administrative charging committee. The Act repeals the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights and makes other substantial and substantive changes in how the activities of law enforcement officers are reviewed, as well as how changes can be made to the institution of law enforcement. For the Police Accountability Board (PAB), the Board of County Commissioners must: (1) establish the membership of, the budget and staff for a PAB; (2) address the appointment of a chair; and (3) establish the procedures for record-keeping by the PAB. That PAB’s charge is, among other things, to meet quarterly and report annually on what should be done to improve matters of policing.
Each county must also have an Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) to serve countywide law enforcement agencies and local law enforcement agencies in the county. The County Commissioners appoint only two (2) of the five (5) members of the ACC, with the PAB Chair serving on the ACC and the PAB having two citizen appointments to the ACC. The principle function of the ACC is to consider evidence to determine if it is appropriate to administratively charge the police officer who is the subject of the investigation. If the determination is made that charges are appropriate, then recommend a penalty consistent with a disciplinary matrix approved by the State.
Counties are generally making progress toward creating these oversight bodies, despite the lack of direction from the state agency charged with offering regulations to guide many of the related facets under the state law effective July 1. It is not yet clear whether any substantial revisions to these laws will be taken up during the 2022 General Assembly session.
For more information on the Calvert County Commissioners, including meeting agendas, visit the county website.
For more background on the police oversight boards, see previous Conduit Street coverage: