Police reform has been top of mind for many Marylanders this General Assembly session — lawmakers included.
Following a year fraught with nationally highlighted examples of lethal police brutality against Black people, several legislators in the General Assembly have pushed police reform to the top of their list of legislative priorities.
And after months of debate, study and pressure from reform advocates and police unions, both chambers passed their own sweeping reform packages: in the Senate, a series of nine bills tackling everything from officer mental health to the Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR); in the House, one very large, comprehensive piece of legislation that takes up myriad issues, including increasing the role and responsibilities of the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission (MPTSC).
There are a lot of similarities between the package, but there are some stark differences, too. Maryland Matters broke it down bill-by-bill:
What about the LEOBR?
As it stands, the LEOBR provides a uniform procedure for misconduct investigations for all of the state’s police departments and lays out due process protections for officers during misconduct investigations that could result in demotion or dismissal.
But advocates and some lawmakers say that the bill gives officers protections that aren’t afforded to other public employees and makes the disciplinary process too opaque.
Both chambers took a whack at repealing and replacing the decades-old statute, each creating a different disciplinary process. Maryland Matters broke down the proposed reforms from each chamber: