County Council to hear public feedback on Police Accountability Board

April 4—Frederick County residents will have the opportunity on Tuesday to let county council members know who they think should be eligible to serve on the county’s new police accountability board, and who shouldn’t. .

Frederick County, like all other counties in Maryland, is required to create a police accountability board by July 1, under a state law passed last year.

Once formed, the council will receive complaints of misconduct made by members of the public against officers from any of the county’s four law enforcement agencies, including the Sheriff’s Office, whose jurisdiction covers the whole county, and the municipal services of Frederick, Brunswick and Thurmont.

The Frederick County Council is tasked with passing a bill that will outline who can serve on the council and appoint members who must then be confirmed by County Executive Jan Gardner, D.

The current County Council proposal would create a nine-member council made up of registered voters in the county who have knowledge or experience in legal, behavioral health, social services, human resources or personnel management, or the operation of a government agency, criminal justice agency, or community service organization.

The council would include two residents of Frederick, a resident of Brunswick and a resident of Thurmont and, according to county documents, should reflect the racial, gender and cultural makeup of the county, including the representation of minority communities who are disproportionately victimized. of police misconduct.

Prospective members will be subject to interview and vetting by Gardner or designate, and the mayor of each applicable municipality or their chief administrative officer, and must complete a number of training programs, including Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.

A representative from the sheriff’s office and each municipal police department will serve as liaison with the council, as will the county’s Chief Equity and Inclusion Officer, currently Michael Hughes.

Persons ineligible to serve on the board include active police officers and their immediate family members, county or municipal government employees, and those who have been convicted or received pretrial probation for a felony or misdemeanor sentence of more than two years.

Each year, the council will identify trends in conduct complaints and recommend necessary policy changes to Frederick, Brunswick, Thurmont and county level officials.

However, the council will not determine whether an officer will be charged administratively. This responsibility, as well as recommending disciplinary action, will rest with a separate five-person charging committee. The formation of the charging committee, like the police accountability board, is required by state law.

The County Executive and the Police Accountability Board will each appoint two members of the public to the charging panel, and the fifth member will be the Chairman of the Police Accountability Board or their designate, as proposed by the board. of county.

Like the Police Accountability Board, people cannot serve on the arraignment committee if they are employed by a county law enforcement agency, the subject of a criminal investigation, or are accused of a felony pending in court, or have been convicted or received pretrial probation for a felony with a statutory sentence of at least one year.

Those interested in providing feedback to the county council at its Tuesday meeting can do so in person at Winchester Hall or by phone by calling 855-925-2801 and entering the meeting code 8365.

The council will also hear public comment at its meeting on a pair of bills that would provide the county’s retirees – including former law enforcement and corrections officers, as well as Fire and Rescue – a 2% cost of living adjustment that will be applied to their monthly benefit payments for the following fiscal year only.

The one-time 2% adjustment would be in addition to a 1% cost-of-living adjustment that county retirees will receive as part of their monthly benefit payments over the next fiscal year, the county’s chief financial officer said. , Erin White, in an email in March.

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