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Press Releases - County Council

Council President Navarro and Councilmember Rice introduce legislation to formalize community policing guidelines

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, October 15, 2019

From the Office of Council President Nancy Navarro

Bill 33-19 would set certain community policing guidelines and require the County police department to provide annual reports on officer demographics, complaints and outreach initiatives

ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 15, 2019—Today Council President Nancy Navarro and Councilmember Craig Rice introduced Bill 33-19, Police - Community Policing, which aims to provide guidelines for the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) to employ and promote core community policing values among officers and require that MCPD provide an annual report on workforce diversity, community engagement activities, the number of complaints filed against officers, officer suspensions and other data. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

“While our County police department does a great job each and every day protecting our community, we want to continue to improve the relationship between our police officers and our residents,” said Council President Navarro. “We often don’t realize that most of the officers serving our community are also our neighbors and we need to build on that relationship. This bill is designed to bridge that gap and to strengthen community-oriented policing strategies in our community.”

“Our Montgomery County police officers play a key role in ensuring our County is a safe place to live, work, and play,” said Councilmember Rice. “That is why we need to ensure our officers are building and maintaining relationships with all of our residents and communities. The community policing bill represents the County’s commitment to transparency and accountability, cultural competency, and the use of preventative measures for positive relations between our enforcement officials and the residents of Montgomery County.”

The Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) recently hosted a national meeting on police and community leaders and determined some key issues and recommendations that would be useful to help police departments and their communities develop collaborative strategies moving forward. These include: discussing challenges local police departments face with communities, providing information in a transparent way to the community, promoting internal diversity and taking steps to reduce bias and improve cultural competency.

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) also advises that strong relationships between police agencies and the communities they serve are critical to public safety and effective policing. All police agencies rely a great deal on the cooperation of the community for reporting and solving crime and to devise solutions to crime and disorderly problems.

Bill 33-19, which will establish community policing guidelines for MCPD including to regularly initiate and engage in positive reinforcement activities with communities, ensure cultural competency throughout the department, emphasize the recruitment of candidates with ties to the County, provide adequate training in de-escalation tactics and maintain and improve the School Resource Officer Program in recognition of its value to the community. The bill also requires MCPD to submit an annual report of the prior year by Feb. 1. The report would include key data and information such as diversity of the department, number of recruiting events MCPD sponsored or participated in within the County, number of instances of use of force that resulted in hospitalization, number of civilian complaints, number of officers suspended with and without pay and a description of MCPD’s community policing efforts.

Council President Navarro’s remarks at Bill 33-19’s introduction can be viewed here: 

https://tinyurl.com/Navarro-33-19

Councilmember Rice’s remarks can be viewed here: 

https://tinyurl.com/Rice-33-19

A public hearing on Bill 33-19 is scheduled for January 21, 2020 at 7:30 p.m. Residents
can sign up for public hearings here:
https://montgomerycountymd.gov/COUNCIL/PHSignUp.html

The Council staff report can be viewed here.


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Release ID: 19-333
Media Contact: Roland Ikheloa 240-777-7968