The Maryland Senate on Wednesday passed a package of 9 separate bills regarding police reform – repealing the ‘Police Officer Bill Of Rights’.
The bills include: allowing public access to police disciplinary records, new criminal charges for police brutality, limiting the use of no-knock warrants, mandating body cameras by 2025, preventing police from purchasing surplus military gear, expanding jurisdiction of police shootings to the state prosecutor, moving control of Baltimore police from the state to the local level, counseling for officers, and scrapping the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights. Many of the bills passed with bipartisan support. However, the repeal of the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, allowing public access to police disciplinary records, and instituting new criminal charges for police brutality were more controversial and passed along party lines.
Supporters of the package say that it will work to improve transparency and is important in addressing the issues surrounding police brutality. According to the Associated Press, Senator Charles Sydnor, a Democrat from Baltimore County said, “We’re not always going to get everything that we want this session, but I look on this as a down payment on making things right in terms of how policing is affecting this community.” However, opponents of the bill are concerned that it will discourage people from wanting to join law enforcement in Maryland and will push a negative view of law enforcement.
Carroll County Republican, Senator Justin Ready, said, “The overall messaging on all of this nationwide that has pushed for police reform has made it all about how the police are bad, the police are to blame. That’s the impression it leaves, and I think it’s an incorrect impression”. In the aftermath of last summer, many people have been calling for nationwide police reform. The Maryland police reform bills could set a precedent for further reforms across the United States. Having passed the Maryland Senate, the package now goes to the House of Delegates to be voted on.
ARTICLE: LAUREN GOLLOFON
POLITICS EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: BALTIMORE SUN