Carroll Builds Its Police Accountability Board

On Thursday, May 5th, the Board of Carroll County Commissioners voted on a resolution establishing its police accountability board (PAB) as required by state law. Each county in Maryland is required to create a police accountability board by the 2021 Police Accountability Act. Under the Act, PABs comprised of entirely of civilian members are charged with meeting quarterly with law enforcement leadership to improve matters of policing and to hear complaints of police misconduct. Each…

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Sine Die Surprise: General Assembly Approves Police Accountability Board Fixes

In the waning moments of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly Session, the Maryland General Assembly passed Senate Bill 763 - Public Safety and Criminal Justice - Transparency and Accountability containing multiple provisions addressing county police accountability boards. The bill contains nearly all of the measures included as amendments to Senate Bill 389 – Maryland Police Accountability Act Revisions and Clarifications, which were detailed in a previous Conduit Street blog. SB 763 also includes language from previous iterations…

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2022 Session: Recap and Wrap-Ups

Catch up on all of the latest outcomes of the 2022 Maryland General Assembly session with wrap-ups on important county-related bills in each policy area. This year, the Maryland General Assembly conducted a legislative session unlike any other due to the enduring COVID-19 pandemic. The unique circumstances surrounding the 444th legislative session, including necessary health and safety measures, posed a challenge for lawmakers and advocates alike, with one chamber in-person and the other remote for…

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2022 End of Session Wrap-Up: Public Information and Ethics

The segments below provide a brief overview of MACo’s work in the area of public information and ethics in the 2022 General Assembly.  County governments gather and maintain public information as part of their various functions. Compliance with the Maryland Public Information Act and maintenance of a high level of ethics in all government practices are priorities throughout the administrative agencies and legislative bodies of Maryland’s county governments. Through its advocacy and professional education in…

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Body-Worn Cameras Legislative Update

Following the Maryland Police Accountability Act's passage in 2021, the Maryland General Assembly introduced several body-worn camera bills this session seeking to address issues raised by counties and other stakeholders. MACo has lent its support to three of these bills, all of which are facing varying prospects for passage: Senate Bill 31 - Public Information Act – Inspection of Records From Body–Worn Digital Recording Devices A former MACo initiative, this bill would implement a balanced release…

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Uncompensated Public Information Act Review Opposed by MACo

On March 15, 2022, Associate Policy Director Dominic Butchko testified before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee in opposition to SB 777 - Public Information Act - Records Relating to Police Misconduct - Fees. This bill prohibits counties from charging a fee for the search and preparation of the first 500 pages of certain records concerning administrative or criminal investigations of misconduct by a police officer. From the MACo testimony:  Under the Maryland Public Information Act, counties…

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Senate Moving Better Rules for BodyCam Footage

On Friday, February 25th, the Maryland Senate's Judicial Proceedings (JPR) Committee voted favorably on Senate Bill 31 Public Information Act – Inspection of Records From Body–Worn Digital Recording Devices. A former MACo initiative, the bill would establish guidelines for the release of body camera footage, balancing the interests of police accountability, privacy and safety for victims, and government resources. MACo provided both in-person and written support for SB 31, which was heard by JPR on January 19th. From MACo’s testimony: If properly…

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Baltimore City Launches ARPA Reporting Center

Mayor Brandon M. Scott and the Mayor’s Office of Recovery Programs (MORP) launched the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Reporting Center on Monday. The ARPA Reporting Center is a dashboard designed to share data about proposals, funded projects, and project progress. This dashboard will allow the public to monitor investments made through the City’s $641 million ARPA allocation from the State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund (SLFRF). “ARPA is a significant opportunity for the City…

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Lights, Body Camera, Action – Talking Through Your Policy at #MACoCon

2021 legislation reforming police accountability included provisions mandating officers have body-worn cameras. Larger departments need to comply soon, smaller ones have a few years to implement - but the time is now to sort out the transitions ahead. At MACo's Winter Conference, we will hear from multiple viewpoints - department that have implemented camera systems, those that are amidst that transition, and what assistance might be available from familiar partners. Speakers will share their views…

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Montgomery Council Approves Police Transparency Measure

On Tuesday, November 2nd, the Montgomery County Council unanimously passed Bill 45-20, which is intended to create additional transparency within the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) regarding the race, ethnicity, gender and other voluntarily provided information about residents involved in policing actions. The measure, in part, would: Require MCPD to report demographic information about residents stopped (including a stop and frisk that does not result in an arrest) to the Council by Feb. 1 annually. Require…

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