Leaders in the Maryland House of Delegates are forming a workgroup that aims to improve trust and accountability in police statewide. The announcement this weekend came a few hours before hundreds in Baltimore joined nationwide protests of abuses by police.
“Policing in America is broken,” said House Speaker Adrienne Jones in a statement announcing the new workgroup. “As the mother of two sons, accountability in policing is not just philosophical, it is personal.”
Jones is Maryland’s first black and first female House speaker.
Though the group will have a statewide focus, restoring trust in law enforcement in Baltimore City would help reduce the city’s record levels of violent crime, said House Judiciary Committee Chairman Luke Clippinger, who worked with Jones to create the workgroup.
One of the new group’s chief goals will be to review the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, a law that protects police during misconduct investigations and other disciplinary proceedings.
Efforts to change the law a few years ago failed. But Clippinger said this time is different because the legislature and its judiciary committees have new leaders.
“There are people who are going to say that this is just, you know, another day another workgroup,” he said. “I believe that there is a genuine interest in making substantive progress.”
When the group begins meeting this summer, it also plans to review use of force policies, arrest procedures and the use of body cameras.