Montgomery County Council Enacts Legislation on the Issuance and Review of Body-Worn Cameras for Montgomery County Police

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 9, 2021

The bill includes amendments to the current system of internal affairs procedures and other reporting requirements 

ROCKVILLE, Md.— Today, the County Council unanimously enacted legislation that would amend the existing internal affairs procedures and reporting requirements of the Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD). Council President Tom Hucker is the lead sponsor of Bill 18-21, and Councilmembers Will Jawando, Hans Riemer, Evan Glass, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Council Vice President Gabe Albornoz are cosponsors.

The goal of the legislation is to improve police accountability and oversight through the requirement of random review of body-worn cameras for MCPD officers and prompt reporting of serious Internal Affairs Division (IAD) investigations.

“I introduced this bill after it came to light that two MCPD officers abused a five-year-old child who wandered off school grounds in my district,” said Council President Hucker. “The horrific incident was not reported quickly to the Chief of Police, and once it was, the incident was neither reported to the County Executive, the County Council, or the State’s Attorney, and was only made public a year later after a local reporter broke the story. This bill will rebuild trust in our police by ensuring that the public learns about investigations of abuse, use of force and other serious incidents involving police in a timely fashion.”

Council President Hucker’s full comments during the bill’s introduction can be viewed here.

The bill will do the following:

  • Require the random internal review of certain body-worn camera recordings.
  • Require review by the Internal Affairs Division of certain body-worn camera recordings.
  • Require the internal reporting of certain investigations to the Chief of Police.
  • Require the reporting of certain investigations, investigative files, and body-worn camera recordings to the County Executive, the County Council, and the State’s Attorney.
  • Require maintenance of a log of each time a body-worn camera recording is accessed or redacted.
  • Generally, amend the law governing policing, body-worn camera recordings, and police internal affairs.

“The NAACP thanks the County Council for passing this bill. Increasing the use of body worn cameras and assuring the periodic random review of video recorded by those cameras will provide the residents of this county a measure of police accountability that has been lacking,” said Linda Plummer, president, Montgomery County Branch of the NAACP. “We appreciated the opportunity to work with Council President Hucker on this bill.”

Council President Tom Hucker introduced the bill on May 18, 2021, following the release of body-worn camera footage of an MCPD officer’s interaction with a five-year-old MCPS student that occurred in January 2020 at East Silver Spring Elementary School. The Council’s official statement on the incident can be read here. The Council briefing on the police interaction can be viewed here.

The staff report on this bill can be found here.

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