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Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich’s Plan to ‘Reimagine Public Safety'

For Immediate Release: Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich has announced that the County will examine its policies regarding certain police procedures as part of his vision to “Reimagine Public Safety.”  County Executive Elrich said that his reimagining initiative will take a comprehensive look at how the County addresses public safety and at new ways to do things so that departments are structured to better meet the needs of the community.

The following are the major points in Montgomery County Executive Elrich’s plan to “Reimagine Public Safety”:

  • Identify and address implicit bias and institutional racism in all aspects of the public safety system.
  • Assemble a community task force to Reimagine Public Safety in Montgomery County. Launch a task force by Aug. 1, 2020, that will develop a set of recommendations that reimagines the Montgomery County Police Department and all public safety programs by Jan.18, 2021. 
  • Collect, research and analyze data and information. Analyze 911 calls dispatch data and the police records management system to determine the types of calls to which police respond. Analyze 311 call center requests to determine community needs. Evaluate Police Department budget and structure to determine how resources are allocated.
  • Review policies and procedures. Conduct an independent audit of the Police Department to uncover any aspects of implicit bias, as well as systemic racial bias. Develop a new process and reporting system for pretextual stops. Strengthen standards and accountability for pretextual traffic stops to ensure that they are used only to support investigations. 
  • Initiate Police Department reorganization. Appoint a new assistant civilian police chief with expertise in police-community relations and evidence-based policing to lead a new community engagement division. Promote community policing by assigning more officers to beats and measuring performance by positive community interaction. Direct non-emergency 911 calls to the telephone reporting unit. Evaluate the roles of school resource officers and of district community action teams. Create a professional accountability division to improve internal accountability. Restructure the traffic unit to advance Vision Zero priorities.
  • Reimagine County response to community needs for health and social services where police are currently filling the void. Develop robust crisis response mechanism that addresses mental health, homelessness, child welfare, youth diversion, domestic violence, etc. Create a sustained support and integrated case management approach that addresses crisis situations and leads to improved intervention and prevention services—as investments. Partner with other County departments, nonprofit organizations and others to find alternatives to arresting people who commit minor offenses stemming from mental illness, substance abuse, poverty and homelessness.
  • Rebalance County investments in safe communities. Prioritize investments to align with community needs, including additional resources for education, housing, employment, health care, social-emotional supports and other public benefits.

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Release ID: 20-353
Media Contact: Barry Hudson 240-300-7348