The Maryland State legislature passed a historic police reform act over the weekend after the senate voted to overturn Governor Larry Hogan’s vetoes of the three bills in the act.
The Maryland Police Accountability Act is made up of five bills. One of the bills repeals the Police Bill of Rights which will now allow officers’ disciplinary records and internal affairs complaints to be released to the public. Another, changes the standard of use and force. If an officer cannot prove use of force was “necessary and proportional” they could face criminal penalties or jail time.
“Doing that [changing use of force] right means doing everything you can to preserve the sanctity of life to bystanders and suspects to the maximum extent possible,” Del. David Moon, Montgomery County (D), said.
Many republicans along with police unions are not happy with the changes.
“We had the opportunity to do real police reform but some of these reforms go a little too far. The overwhelming majority of this legislation that passed will have a great impact on public safety,” Clyde Boatwright, President of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police said.
Under the act, police are now only able to serve no-knock warrants during daytime hours except for in emergencies.
It also requires officers to tell you why you’re getting pulled over and allows people to track their formal complaints made against police officers or against the handling of situations.
“These do not sound like radical concepts to me. They sound like professional customer experiences that we ought to have when we interact with our government these days,” Del. Moon said.
On Friday Governor Hogan vetoed three of the bills including the repeal of the Police Bill of Rights and the changes to use of force but in a Saturday afternoon session, the senate voted to override those vetoes.
“It’s not as radical as people are making it out to seem. It’s being done in other police departments across the nation and it’s been done this way across the world. The United States is behind on this,” Del. Moon said.