County Council to Weigh Police Oversight Commission

Councilmember Hans Riemer says he’s been working on legislation for about a year.

Legislation that will be introduced Tuesday that would establish a Montgomery County police advisory commission, giving the public greater oversight of county police.

Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer is the lead sponsor.

“I think the public has a lot at stake in police practices that govern how the police do their work. It makes sense to have a body where those decisions can be vetted through community leaders and outside policy experts,” Riemer said.

The force has been under scrutiny since Officer Anand Badgujar shot and killed Robert White an unarmed African-American man a year ago.

Then in May, four black men were stopped and questioned at a McDonald’s waiting for a ride to work. In police body camera footage and on a video shot during the questioning, a female officer can be heard using the “N-word.”

Shortly after the footage was made public Councilmember Will Jawando had asked Montgomery County police for data on the stops that led to the questioning at McDonald’s. On Monday, Acting Chief Marcus Jones told the council’s Public Safety Committee members the data on such “no trespass” orders would soon be released.

Jawando is co-sponsor of the legislation.

Riemer said he started on police accountability legislation a year ago working with the NAACP after the Robert White shooting. Although they considered other options, Riemer and the NAACP chose the Policing Accountability Commission.

The 13-member commission would include a member nominated by each councilmember, as well as four proposed by the county executive and approved by the council.

Non-voting members of the commission would be the police chief and a union leader.

Each member would serve three years.

The council also would designate a chair and vice chair. The chair would call meetings, which would be no fewer than six times a year. The commission would convene at least one public forum each year to hear from the community.

Members would advise the council on policing matters, recommend policies and regulations, and decide best practices. The council expects the commission to issue an annual report on its functions, activities, accomplishments, and plans and objectives.

Commission members must serve without compensation and must not engage in any advocacy activity at the state or federal levels unless approved by the Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

The executive director of the Office of the County Council must provide appropriate staff to the commission.

The cost of the commission would be “a couple hundred thousand dollars a year, tops,” Riemer said.

Here is the staff report, with the full text of the legislation:

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at dtallman@mymcmedia.org or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug

Comments

One Response to “County Council to Weigh Police Oversight Commission”

  1. Avatar
    On June 17, 2019 at 10:53 pm responded with... #

    One the Montgomery County Police are one of the most professional in the nation. Two the State of Maryland has a law called The Police Officers Bill of Rights. Three if you Sa violate those rights they open them self up to civil lawsuits everyone on it. Four Under Federal Law You have to report all crime statistics To get Federal dollars for your Cities Counties and States. The Montgomery County Councilman is a Dumbass.

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