Sheriff appointed to state commission
Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission to recommend best practices
Last week, Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry (D) was appointed and sworn in as the regional representative on the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission. Comprised of county, state and federal law enforcement officials, state legislators, two civilians, a state’s attorney, a mental health expert and a representative on behalf of Attorney General Brian Frosh, the commission will work together to recommend the best practices law enforcement agencies in the state should follow.
Established through the passing of House Bill 1016, the newly formed commission will replace the Maryland Police Training Commission. The new committee will retain the same powers of the old, but has the additional power to require special anti-discrimination training and use of force de-escalation training to entry-level officers, as well as periodic in-service training for current officers, the bill analysis states. The commission also has the power to adopt and recommend a set of best practices and standards for use of force incidents.
The bill additionally requires that each law enforcement agency report the number of “serious officer-involved incidents, the number officers disciplined, and the type of discipline that was administered to each officer who was disciplined” to the commission, while also prohibiting retaliatory actions to be taken against an officer who discloses specified information.
The commission will “evaluate and modernize” police recruitment with aim to increase diversity in law enforcement. It also creates the Community Program Fund with an annual budget of $500,000 to be granted to local law enforcement agencies for funding of community-policing initiatives and programs.
“We are going to be pretty much the sounding board for the governor as we move forth toward this legislative session,” Berry said. “What we should be implementing, what kind of training we should be suggesting to other departments, and also working through best practices and policies that we think would be applicable to the state of Maryland to move law enforcement forward.”
Berry credited his appointment as a reflection of his agency’s many community-policing initiatives, in-service trainings and transparency.
“I think what we do here at the Charles County Sheriff’s Office has played a vital role in what needs to be done nationally, and also on the state level,” Berry said. “A lot of these trainings we have already implemented. We have already implemented sensitivity training, conflict resolution training and embracing one’s diversity in the community. We have worked very closely with our faith-based communities and NAACP.”
“Based on what we do on a day-to-day basis, what we have been able to do under this administration, I think we’re not only setting the standards for the state of Maryland,” Berry continued, “but also setting national standards of best practices for police departments and sheriff’s offices throughout this whole country.”
Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry signs his name after being sworn in as the Southern Maryland representative of the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.
Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry is sworn in by Clerk of Circuit Court Sharon Hancock as the Southern Maryland representative of the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission.