Police Advisory Commission to Hold Forum on Traffic Enforcement

The county’s Police Advisory Commission plans to hold a virtual public forum to address traffic enforcement by the county’s police department, officials announced.

The forum will be held at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9; community members can register to provide up to three minutes of live testimony, or written, audio or video testimony that could be longer if necessary.

“The PAC believes that traffic enforcement practices in the county do not meet basic tests of effectiveness, efficiency, and equal enforcement, and that a change in mission, focus, and strategy is necessary,” according to a press release. “The PAC is very interested in hearing from the Montgomery County community regarding their experience with traffic enforcement, and what changes or improvements they would like to see.”

The PAC released a report on traffic enforcement, with recommendations. Highlights of the report include:

  • The need for a new mission focused on effective, efficient, and equal enforcement
  • Effectiveness needs to be measured by traffic safety, not the number of traffic stops
  • Current traffic enforcement is not efficient, imposing enormous costs for little return
  • Enforcement falls disproportionately on Black and Hispanic drivers.
  • The data collected is insufficient; important components are not published, and
  • MCPD provides almost no description, analysis, or assessment of traffic enforcement.

Among the questions the commission would like to address, according to the release, are:

  • What do you think effective traffic enforcement looks like?
  • What do you think racially equitable enforcement should look like?
  • Would a data dashboard overlaying enforcement cameras and accidents make the public feel the department is more transparent about traffic enforcement?
  • Would you find it helpful for the MCPD to publish complaint data for each of the county’s six police districts?
  • Do you feel you have been subject to a pretextual stop by the MCPD? (i.e. pulled over for something minor like expired registration, only to have police question you as if you were engaged in more serious crime?), and
  • If you have been searched by officers of the MCPD, did you feel it was justified by the situation?

Registration to submit live testimony, or to provide a comment, is due no later than 4 p.m. Jan. 9. For more information, email susan.farag@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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