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Baltimore County Council delays vote on controversial police accountability board

Baltimore County Council. Credit: John Lee
Baltimore County Council. Credit: John Lee

The Baltimore County Council put off for several weeks Monday night a vote on how it is going to set up a police accountability board.

It comes after activists questioned whether the board as proposed would do little to hold the police department accountable.

The police accountability board would receive public complaints about police misconduct, hold regular meetings with law enforcement and recommend policy changes.

County Council Chairman Julian Jones said they delayed the vote because amendments are in the works.

“We worked extremely hard to come to some consensus,” Jones said. “I think we are there.”

Jones said the council agreed to delay the vote.

“And give us an opportunity to let the public see the changes that have been proposed.”

Lorena Diaz with the Baltimore County Coalition for Police Accountability applauded the delay but she said it’s scary not knowing what changes the council is considering.

Diaz asked, “How much more watered down could they get this bill to, you know?”

Among other things, the coalition for police accountability wants the board to have subpoena and investigatory powers and paid members.

The council will debate the legislation again May 17, with a vote expected May 26.

Under the legislation as it is currently written, Baltimore County’s police accountability board would comprise nine members, one from each of the seven council districts and two at-large. The county executive would choose them.

Local governments are required to establish police accountability boards by July 1 under a bill the General Assembly passed in 2021 as part of a police reform package.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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