Police reform measures have passed in the Maryland House of Delegates and in the State Senate.
Several bills make up the controversial package: police body cameras, a new system of reviewing allegations of police misconduct, making disciplinary records more accessible and stripping provisions in the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.
Senate President Bill Ferguson, D-Baltimore City, said in a statement:
“Today, after 9 months of discussion and debate, and hearing testimony from citizens and law enforcement officers from around the state, the Senate passed the most comprehensive reforms to policing in generations. The only way we will make our communities safer is by restoring trust, transparency, and accountability between our law enforcement, and the community members they serve. I appreciate members of the Senate and House of Delegates, on both sides of the aisle, in putting in the hard work on this critical issue. The General Assembly has moved an important framework for law enforcement reform forward, and we look forward to the Governor signing this important package into law.”
House Speaker Adrienne Jones, D-Baltimore County, said in this statement:
“Passing historic police reform legislation demonstrates the General Assembly’s commitment to working together to resolve seemingly unsolvable issues. These sweeping reforms will have far-reaching, long-standing impacts on our communities and will improve the quality of life for more Marylanders for generations to come. I am proud of the leadership of Chair Luke Clippinger and Vice Chair Vanessa Atterbeary, the work of our committee staff, members of the House workgroup and everyone who supported the effort to ensure that public safety works for every Marylander – regardless of their race or background.”
State Senator Mary Beth Carozza, R-Eastern Shore, said this in a Facebook post:
“It was a tough day for Maryland law enforcement as the Senate moved away from the bipartisan police accountability bill passed a few weeks ago and instead today passed legislation that puts officers in danger by changing use of force standards including requiring them to cease using force before the threat is removed. The bill that passed also changed how no-knock search warrants can be issued, and actually requires the judge to balance the risk to the officers of executing a knock and announce warrants with the risk to PETS that might be injured during execution of no-knock warrants. I joined with my Senate GOP colleagues by speaking in opposition to the version amended by the House of Delegates. During the Senate Floor debate, I underscored my deep concern about the police shortage across the Shore, state, and country and how this police reform bill will negatively impact recruitment and retention.”
The measures have been presented to Governor Larry Hogan for his consideration.