Policing Advisory Commission (PAC) to Hold Public Forum on January 9th; PAC Believes That Traffic Enforcement Practices Do Not Meet Basic Tests of Effectiveness, Efficiency, and Equal Enforcement

Per Montgomery County: The Policing Advisory Commission (PAC) of Montgomery County will hold a virtual public forum at 6:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 9, to solicit community testimony and feedback on traffic enforcement by the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). Other police departments—municipalities, park police, state police, etc.—are not under the PAC’s purview. Community members are invited to register to provide live testimony during the public hearing or to submit written, audio, or video testimony. Residents will be asked to limit their live testimony to no more than three minutes and to one speaker per organization (if applicable). Written, audio and visual testimony submitted prior to the public hearing may be longer, if needed. The deadline to register to speak at the public hearing is 4 p.m. on Jan. 9.

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. The PAC’s report on traffic enforcement, including recommendations, can be found here.

The PAC is interested in hearing from residents regarding their experience with traffic enforcement and what changes or improvements they would like to see. The kinds of questions the PAC would like addressed include:

  • The mission of traffic enforcement by police is to make roadways safer. What do you think effective traffic enforcement looks like?
  • What do you think racially-equitable enforcement should look like?
  • There is some evidence that when the police traffic enforcement is focused only on serious traffic offenses safety is improved more than with a program of many low-level stops—and it reduces racial disparities in traffic stops. In your personal experience, were you pulled over for minor violations? Did minor violations lead to longer questions, additional citations, even searches or arrest?
  • What can the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD) do to help the public view traffic enforcement in a more positive, more effective light?
  • MCPD traffic officers based in the six police districts provide enforcement based on resident requests. What has your experience been trying to get specific enforcement, or being pulled over for specific enforcement initiatives?
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the use of automated red-light and speed cameras should be a primary strategy for reducing the number and severity of motor vehicle crashes. Do you want more or fewer cameras in your neighborhood? Do you think they are effective, just revenue collectors or both? Do you think camera placement is objective?
  • Would easy, accessible “data dashboards” (government websites of up-to-date data on a particular subject) make the public feel the department is more transparent about traffic enforcement?
  • 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?
  • If you have been searched by officers of the MCPD, did you feel it was justified by the situation? Did the police find anything illegal?
  • Would you be interested in the MCPD publishing an annual traffic enforcement report?

The Policing Advisory Commission was created in 2019 by the Montgomery County Council in response to the ongoing public dialogue around policing practices and as an effort to increase community involvement in matters of public safety. The commission’s mission is to advise the Council on policing matters and recommend policies, programs, legislation or regulations with regards to policing.

The commission is composed of 13 public voting members and two non-voting, ex-officio members—the police chief (or his designee) and the president of an employee organization. Nine members of the commission were appointed by the County Council. Four members were appointed by County Executive Marc Elrich.

The current members of the commission are:

  • Eric Sterling (chair)
  • Ty McKinney (vice chair)
  • Kristy Daphnis
  • Christina DeLane
  • Laurie Eckstrand
  • Ruhama Endishaw (youth member under 25)
  • Jenn Lynn
  • Vernon Ricks
  • Cherri Branson (temporary leave of absence)
  • Captain Jordan Satinsky (ex officio member)
  • Sergeant Cate Brewer (ex officio member)
  • (There are two vacancies)

Learn more about the Policing Advisory Commission here.

For more information on the public hearing, contact Susan Farag at [email protected].

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