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Press Releases - County Council

Council introduces bill spearheaded by Councilmember Jawando to improve transparency and data gathering in the police department

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 17, 2020

ROCKVILLE, Md., Nov. 17, 2020—Today the Montgomery County Council introduced Bill 45-20, which aims to ensure greater transparency in the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) and to create publicly available data related to the race, ethnicity, gender and other voluntarily provided information about residents involved in policing actions. Councilmember Will Jawando spearheaded this bill and is a lead sponsor along with Council President Sidney Katz, Council Vice President Tom Hucker and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz. All other Councilmembers are cosponsors.

Councilmember Jawando said: “You can’t improve what you don’t track. And you can’t eliminate bias in policing if you don’t have a deep understanding of who is interacting with law enforcement. By requiring increased reporting of demographic information for stop and frisks, citations, as well as other interactions that are currently not collected, we as policy makers and the public will have the information and transparency needed to make the policy changes necessary to ensure all our residents are treated equitably.”

Council President Katz said: “As a co-lead sponsor of Bill 45-20, and as the chair of the Council’s Public Safety Committee, I am pleased to see this bill introduced. This response to the Office of Legislative Oversight’s report is another important step regarding transparency and accountability. I want to thank our Office of Legislative Oversight for bringing these issues to light and I would like to thank MCPD for their cooperation and collaboration.”

“The Council has made it a priority to develop legislative solutions and police reforms to counter the racial disparities in policing in our County,” Council Vice President Hucker said. “We can’t improve policing without better data collection and public access to that data. That’s why I’m proud to be a lead sponsor of this bill, which will enhance transparency and accountability within MCPD and restore public trust. The introduction of this bill is one of the many strides we are taking to ensure equitable, humane and effective policing in Montgomery County.”

Councilmember Albornoz: “Gathering data is essential to increase transparency and build trust with our community. It is our hope that this bill will protect our youth, families and law enforcement officials alike.”

Bill 45-20 would require MCPD to report demographic information about residents stopped (including a stop and frisk that does not result in an arrest) to the Council by Feb. 1 of each year. It would further require MCPD to maintain data sets on race and ethnicity, use of force incidents, criminal citations and juvenile citations, among others; and to post this data on its web portal.

Councilmember Jawando was the lead sponsor of the Law Enforcement Trust and Transparency Act, which aims to ensure that when a police officer is involved in the death of an individual, investigations into that officer’s conduct are independent, impartial and transparent. He was also the lead sponsor, along with Councilmembers Craig Rice, Nancy Navarro and Gabe Albornoz, of legislation passed earlier this year which requires the Montgomery County police chief to adopt a Use of Force Policy aimed at safeguarding all community members from excessive use of force by police. In Dec. 2019 he cosponsored legislation spearheaded by Councilmember Hans Riemer to create Montgomery County’s Policing Advisory Commission.

The Council staff report for Bill 45-20 can be viewed here.

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Release ID: 20-457
Media Contact: Cecily Thorne 240-777-7972