Council Approves The Community Informed Police Training Act

Per Montgomery County:
ROCKVILLE, Md., Oct. 25, 2022 — Today, the Council enacted Bill 17-21, Police – Community Informed Police Training, which would establish collaborations between the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) and local educational institutions like Montgomery College to improve community informed policing within the department and boost recruitment efforts. The bill is sponsored by Councilmember Will Jawando and cosponsored by Councilmember Riemer. 

Bill 17-21 requires MCPD to collaborate with local educational partners regarding police cadet recruitment and police training, as well as provide for the continuing education of police officers on topics such as socially just policing, community service and engagement, and emerging topics in law enforcement, including cybersecurity, human trafficking, and proactive community engagement.  

“I’ve been working hard with my colleagues and the community to reimagine public safety and rebuild trust in law enforcement so everyone in our county feels safe,” said Councilmember Jawando. “As a lifelong Montgomery County resident, I’ve experienced firsthand that we are not immune to the systemic racism that leads to disproportionate outcomes in policing. Bill 17-21, The Community Informed Police Training Act, is about building the next generation of police officers that serve as community guardians. It’s a recruitment tool to grow our talent and bring in the diverse, culturally proficient, and properly trained officers that our community needs.” 

This bill aims to build on existing efforts to improve racial disparities in community policing in MCPD by building a collaborative and educational environment for new recruits and existing officers. As noted in the Racial Equity and Social Justice (RESJ) impact statement submitted by the Office of Legislative Oversight, by building a stronger foundation of community-informed policing, this bill aims to ameliorate racial disparities in policing incidents. According to the RESJ statement, despite accounting for 18 percent of the County population, Black residents accounted for 56 percent of the use of force incidents and 29 percent of the traffic stops. 

Furthermore, only 12 percent of MCPD sworn personnel identify as Black. Bill 17-21 aims to expand the recruitment of police cadets who reflect the diversity of the County by sponsoring communication sessions with prospective cadets and community members and developing internship programs for prospective cadets. 

The performance of police academy recruits in a 30-hour program will be required before entering field training. The program will cover the following topics: racial equity and social justice, health and wellness, community policing, policing history, active listening and conflict resolution and civic engagement.  

The Public Safety Committee amended the bill to incorporate requirements of the state Police Accountability Act. 

Following discussions between MCPD and Montgomery College, the Committee voted to amend the effective date of Bill 17-21 to be the 181st day after the bill becomes law to allow for additional coordination time for the educational program’s implementation, acknowledging that implementation might begin before the effective date. 

Councilmember Jawando’s full comments on this bill during today’s Council session can be found here.

For more details on Bill 17-21, the staff report can be viewed here 

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