Montgomery County police officers are now required to intervene when they witness excessive force being used by other officers under a new policy announced yesterday.

The Use of Force Intervention Policy went into effect on Thursday, June 11, according to a statement from County Executive Marc Elrich, Chief Marcus Jones and the Fraternal Order of Police.

“It shall be the duty of every officer present at any scene where physical force is being applied to either stop, or attempt to stop, another officer when force is being inappropriately applied or is no longer required,” the statement reads.

“Over the past few years I have watched incidents with questionable behavior by one police officer while other officers have not intervened,” said Elrich in the press release. “This has been an issue across the nation as highlighted by the death of George Floyd and others. Here at home, I asked Chief Jones to work with our police union to address this issue.”

Also yesterday, the County Council introduced Expedited Bill 27-20, Police – Regulations – Use of Force Policy, which would codify additional curbs on police use of excessive force.

The bill, similar to the policy announced yesterday, “requires police officers to stop or attempt to stop the use of excessive force by another police officer,” according to a council email.

In addition, bill would “prohibit a police officer from using deadly force, including neck restraints or carotid restraints, except when necessary to protect against an imminent threat of death or serious bodily injury after all reasonable alternatives have been exhausted,” a press release reads.

The bill also would define the terms “necessary” and “reasonable alternatives,” as well as prohibit any retaliation or disciplinary action against an intervening officer.

In addition, if passed into law, the new policy would not be subject to collective bargaining.

All nine councilmembers are listed as either lead or cosponsors of Bill 27-20.

The council plans to hold a public hearing on the bill on Tuesday, July 7 at 7:30 p.m. During the COVID-19 state of emergency, the public cannot be physically present in the hearing room. Residents who would like to call in to testify need to preregister at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/council/calendar.html 

Once the public hearing sign up request form is submitted and the public hearing list is created, registrants will receive separate confirmation notifications that will include the phone number to call in for the hearing.

Screenshot from the Montgomery County Police website. Photo from MCP.

County Exec, Council Announce Policy, Bill to Address Police Use of Excessive Force