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Press Releases - County Council

Council enacts legislation aiming to increase transparency and accountability in community policing

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Bill 33-19, spearheaded by Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice,
would create guidelines focused on community outreach and engagement activities,
cultural competence and de-escalation tactics

ROCKVILLE, Md., March 10, 2020—Today the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to enact Bill 33-19, Police – Community Policing, which would create community policing guidelines focused on initiating and engaging in community outreach and engagement activities, improving cultural competence and promoting de-escalation tactics. Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice are the lead sponsors. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors. The goal of this legislation is to encourage greater transparency and accountability in law enforcement.

“Today’s vote demonstrates that this Council is committed to implementing Montgomery County’s values as they relate to how law enforcement ought to interact with the residents of our communities,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Recent events have demonstrated a need to codify our values and increase the transparency in reporting. This bill is meant to provide the structure necessary to ensure our police remain as responsive and as integrated into the community as possible.”

“Montgomery County police officers play a key role in our quality of life,” said Councilmember Rice. “That is why we need to ensure that we are building and maintaining relationships between our officers and the community. Adopting this legislation is an important step in re-establishing trust in law enforcement and nurturing positive relations with the residents of Montgomery County.”

The community policing guidelines created by Bill 33-19 require the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) to do the following: regularly initiate and engage in outreach activities with their communities; ensure cultural competency throughout the Department; emphasize the recruitment of candidates with ties to the County; increase community outreach initiatives and officers must attend community events on behalf of the Department; and provide adequate training in de-escalation tactics.

Bill 33-19 also requires MCPD to provide the County Executive and the Council with an annual report consisting of several pieces of information, including: demographics of the sworn police force; use of force statistics; officer suspension information; the number of youth referred to intervention programs by officers; and community policing efforts.

The bill further requires MCPD to designate a liaison to vulnerable populations, to make efforts to increase officer knowledge of the County’s diverse population; and to work with County departments, agencies and community-based organizations to incorporate mental health and positive youth development initiatives, among other requirements.

Before the final vote, the Council agreed on an amendment that required that reporting data would also be provided to the Policing Advisory Commission.

The Council staff report and full text of Bill 33-19 can be viewed here:
https://tinyurl.com/Bill3319Enact .

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Release ID: 20-087
Media Contact: Bertha Cerzosimo 240-777-7986