Council Introduces Bill Designed to Increase Police Transparency

The County Council has introduced a bill designed to increase transparency in the county’s police department by requiring certain data be collected and made available to the public.

Bill 45-20, Police – Community Policing – Data would require demographic information regarding individuals stopped, searched, cited, arrested, or the subject of a use of force incident by the department, including:

  • race
  • ethnicity
  • gender, and
  • any other demographic information voluntarily provided by the detainee.

The information would have to be reported annually to the County Council and also would include stop and frisk incidents that did not result in an arrest.

The bill also would require MCPD to post on Data Montgomery information, including race and ethnicity, about the following:

  • use of force incidents
  • field interview reports
  • juvenile citations
  • criminal citations, including trespassing citations
  • alcohol beverage violations
  • possession of marijuana violations less than 10 grams, and
  • smoking marijuana in public places.

“You can’t improve what you don’t track,” said Councilmember Will Jawando (D-At Large) in a press release. “And you can’t eliminate bias in policing if you don’t have a deep understanding of who is interacting with law enforcement.

“By requiring increased reporting of demographic information for stop and frisks, citations, as well as other interactions that are currently not collected, we as policy makers and the public will have the information and transparency needed to make the policy changes necessary to ensure all our residents are treated equitably,” added Jawando, who spearheaded the bill and is the lead sponsor.

“The council has made it a priority to develop legislative solutions and police reforms to counter the racial disparities in policing in our County,” Council Vice President Tom Hucker (D-District 5) said. “We can’t improve policing without better data collection and public access to that data.”

Hucker is one of the co-lead sponsors for Bill 45-20, along with Council President Sidney Katz and Councilmember Gabe Albornoz (D-At Large). All other councilmembers are cosponsors.

A public hearing is tentatively scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Dec. 8.

MCPD photo

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