The Maryland Municipal League (MML)’s Legislative Committee has recommended municipal involvement in Police Accountability Boards (PABs) as its priority for the 2023 Maryland General Assembly session.
In its announcement, MML expands on its objective:
Part of the police reform suite of legislation that passed in 2021 requires each County to have a police accountability board and establish an administrative charging committee. The law does not, however, offer municipalities the option to establish their own Accountability Board and Charging Committees, despite their municipal police departments having autonomy from their county counterparts. This year’s proposal would revise the state law relating to Police Accountability Boards and Administrative Charging Committees to give municipalities the option of creating their own Board and Committee.
Municipalities’ ability to assume a more significant role in police oversight could complement county efforts – counties currently oversee disciplinary proceedings for county AND municipal law enforcement agencies. Under the 2021 Police Accountability Act, each county in Maryland was required to create several police oversight bodies, including an administrative charging committee (ACC), PAB, and trial board. As mentioned in previous Conduit Street coverage, PABs review and oversee police misconduct complaints from the public, ACCs receive completed investigatory reports of police misconduct and determine levels of discipline, and trial boards hear appeals of any recommended discipline.
The Committee’s police oversight recommendation will go before MML’s full Board of Directors for a vote prior to being adopted as its 2023 legislative priority. MACo looks forward to our work together during the 2023 Maryland General Assembly session.
*a prior version of this post did not recognize the full process for the adoption of MML’s legislative priority