Maryland Lawmakers Want to Reform Policing. We Break Down the Bills That Would Do It

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    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:

    Hannah Gaskill
    Hannah Gaskill received her master’s of journalism degree in December 2019 from the University of Maryland. She previously worked on the print layout design team at The Diamondback, reported on criminal justice in Maryland for Capital News Service and served as a production assistant for The Confluence — the daily news magazine on 90.5 WESA, Pittsburgh’s NPR member station. Gaskill has had bylines in The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Chicago Tribune, among other publications.Before pursuing journalism, she received her bachelor’s of fine art degree from Carnegie Mellon University in 2016. She grew up in Ocean City.