Overriding the veto of Governor Larry Hogan, the Maryland Legislature has repealed the country’s longest-standing peace officer bill of rights. A coalition of 90 groups supported the sweeping legislation.
Under the bill of rights, officers had the right to appeal discipline to local police boards. The Legislature replaced that system with one featuring “administrative charging committees” with the responsibility of reviewing the findings of law enforcement agencies and recommending discipline for officers. Police chiefs will be unable to impose lower discipline than that recommended by the committees.
The Legislature took several additional steps, including the creation of a new statewide use-of-force policy providing that officers who violate the state policy and cause serious injury or death to a third party can be convicted and sent to prison for up to 10 years. The legislation also replaces the traditional “reasonableness” standard for the use of force with one requiring force to be “proportional.” In addition, the Legislature required all counties to “have police accountability boards.”
On June 9-11, LRIS will be holding a seminar on “The Rights Of Police Officers” at the Luxor Hotel in Las Vegas. The topic of police reform legislation will be front-and-center in the seminar, and I will be opening the seminar with a national review of what has been enacted, how some reform legislation has been passed in a matter of days, and the main theme of the legislation. To register, click here.