On Thursday, May 26th, the Baltimore County Council approved legislation establishing the county’s police accountability board.
Baltimore County Bill No. 24-22 establishes a “Police Accountability Board, an Administrative Charging Committee, and a Trial Board process” as required by the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. As with Carroll County, Baltimore County will not allow residents with criminal backgrounds to serve on the Board. Specifically, one may not serve on Baltimore County’s Board if they have been “convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor with a statutory penalty of more than 2 years or imprisoned for such a conviction within 10 years of the nomination.”
In a quote reported by the Baltimore Sun, Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. said:
he’s committed to getting the board up and running ‘as quickly, but also as responsibly as possible.’
The county will work to ‘ensure that we identify, recruit and appoint individuals that reflect the diversity of our county and have a wide range of experience,’ Olszewski said.
The Sun also reports 24-22 had several detractors, including Council Member Cathy Bevins, who disapproved of the criminal background provision, the lack of an independent counsel, and additional investigatory powers. In addition, several police reform advocates raised different concerns regarding the Board’s membership, which allows former law enforcement to serve, in a Maryland Matters opinion piece.