Cran­dell to op­pose county coun­cil po­lice re­form bill

The Dundalk Eagle - - FRONT PAGE - By BILL GATES bgates@ches­

Bal­ti­more County Ex­ec­u­tive John Ol­szewski Jr. an­nounced a series of ini­tia­tives last month to in­crease ac­count­abil­ity and trans­parency in the Bal­ti­more County Po­lice Depart­ment while also pro­mot­ing more eq­ui­table polic­ing.

Ap­par­ently, it wasn’t enough.

Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil­man Ju­lian Jones (4th District) in­tro­duced a po­lice re­form bill last week.

The bill ad­dresses hir­ing, use-of-force poli­cies, po­lice con­duct and bans the use of choke­holds.

(Ol­szewski’s ini­tia­tives also ad­dress the use of force pol­icy, hir­ing and re­cruit­ment prac­tices, and po­lice con­duct.)

Jones’ bill, 73-20, re­quires “cer­tain ad­di­tional train­ing” of po­lice of­fi­cers; de­fines and re­quires “de-es­ca­la­tory tech­niques” be­fore an of­fi­cer may use phys­i­cal force; de­fines and lim­its the use of phys­i­cal force; pro­hibits the use of choke­holds; re­quires an of­fi­cer to in­ter­vene and re­port when an­other of­fi­cer uses un­nec­es­sary or ex­ces­sive phys­i­cal force; pro­vides for an “early in­ter­ven­tion sys­tem” for of­fi­cers re­lated to the use of phys­i­cal force; and re­quires cer­tain data to be col­lected, an­a­lyzed, pub­lished and made avail­able to cer­tain state and fed­eral law en­force­ment offices.

It also re­quires the Chief of Po­lice to ap­point mem­bers of the pub­lic to a cer­tain hear­ing board.

“I do not sup­por t this bill,” Coun­cil­man Todd Cran­dell (7th District) said. “I com­mend Bal­ti­more County Po­lice on their record, and can­not sup­port a mea­sure which makes an al­ready dif­fi­cult job even harder.

“We count on our po­lice force to keep us safe, and we should con­tinue to sup­port them and not give into the pol­i­tics of the mo­ment.”

Ac­cord­ing to sta­tis­tics pro­vided by Fra­ter­nal Or­der of Po­lice Lodge 4, the county po­lice depart­ment has im­proved sig­nif­i­cantly over the last 10 years in sev­eral ar­eas con­sid­ered need­ing of re­form.

The num­ber of ar­rests has trended down­ward 36 per­cent since 2010; over the last 10 years, county po­lice have used force 2,934 times, an av­er­age of 283 times a year and less than one in­ci­dent per day (force was used in about one per­cent of all ar­rests).

County of­fi­cers were in­volved in shoot­ings 60 times in that 10-year pe­riod, which worked out to .00096 per­cent of all calls for ser­vice and .0226 per­cent of all ar­rests.

These steady de­creases took place de­spite the county grow­ing in pop­u­la­tion by four per­cent over that 10year pe­riod, and calls for ser­vice in­creas­ing by 24 per­cent.

A vir­tual work ses­sion for the bill, dur­ing which the pub­lic can con­trib­ute, will be held on July 28. The bill is ex­pected to come up for vote on Au­gust 3.

A Bal­ti­more County Po­lice cruiser sits out­side a build­ing at Birch and Wal­nut Av­enues in Dun­dalk while po­lice of­fi­cers in­ves­ti­gate a rob­bery. Coun­cil­man Ju­lian Jones, D-4, in­tro­duced a po­lice re­form bill to the Bal­ti­more County Coun­cil last week. The bill does not have the sup­port of Coun­cil­man Todd Cran­dell, R-7.

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