Police Reform Update: No Bill Movement, But State Regs Coming?

Following the 2021 passage of broad police reform legislation, mostly taking effect, July 1, counties have been unclear on whether legislative revisions or clarifying state regulations will come to guide their local implementation. The latest: bills seem unlikely, but regulations may be coming soon.

Legislation:

The 2022 session of the General Assembly is halfway over, and the important “crossover” deadline for bill action looms only two weeks away. Thus far, no signs point toward passage of refinements to the 2021 police reform legislation – which requires counties and local law enforcement agencies to comply with its components by July 1 of this year.

One bill directly addressed the accountability structures to be set up by local governments, Delegate Brenda Thiam’s HB 1184. That bill would allow municipal governments to opt-out of the county-level structures envisioned under the new state laws (see previous Conduit Street coverage, Two New Boards Your County Will Need, After 2021 Police Reforms) if they elected to create the same oversight structures to serve their own agencies. This notion was adopted by the Maryland Municipal League as a legislative priority for the 2022 session. HB 1184 was heard in Committee on March 1, the bill hearing is available to stream online.

No broader bills proposing technical or clarifying adjustments to last year’s legislation, including any alteration to its effective date, have been introduced or heard.

Regulations:

State regulations, however, may be pointing toward progress – but in a limited scope. The Director of the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission shared the following update with MACo, as they work with stakeholders toward releasing regulations soon:

Since the passage of HB670, the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission has been diligently working on implementing specific sections of the bill related to Commission responsibilities.  Efforts include establishing work groups and committees to follow up on Commission decisions regarding the development of regulations establishing a civilian process to receive complaints, review administrative investigations, and make disciplinary recommendations involving police misconduct. The Commission is in the process of reviewing and finalizing these regulations, and additional meetings have been scheduled to expedite the process. These virtual Commission meetings are open to the public with a link published on the MDLE.Net website. Once the Commission finalizes the draft regulations, they will be published in the Maryland Register for review and public comment, after which the Commission will take final action to approve and publish the regulations.

The extranet system of the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commissions is available online, with links to many relevant topics before the Commission.

 

See previous Conduit Street coverage:

Police Training Commission: No Regs Coming on Police Reform Structures, Process (note: from January 2022)

Two New Boards Your County Will Need, After 2021 Police Reforms

Michael Sanderson

Executive Director Maryland Association of Counties
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