Montgomery County Council Votes to Establish a Police Accountability Board and Administrative Charging Committee in Montgomery County

by Patrick Herron

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Expedited Bill 49-21 seeks to improve police accountability and discipline

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 19, 2022—Today the Montgomery County Council voted unanimously to pass Expedited Bill 49-21, Police – Police Accountability Board – Administrative Charging Committee – Established, which will establish a Police Accountability Board (PAB) and Administrative Charging Committee (ACC) for the County.

The legislation was sponsored by the Council President, at the request of the County Executive.

“I am pleased to have shepherded a legislative process that has been transparent and engaged community stakeholders, law enforcement and advocates to create a civilian board that will promote trust, impartiality and accountability in cases of police misconduct,” said Council President Gabe Albornoz. “Montgomery County stands ready to meet this critical moment facing our society and wants to make certain that our County residents, including our police officers, are protected from harm and remain on the same path toward justice.”

“Working through this bill has been both challenging and rewarding. The creation of the PAB and the ACC as mandated by the state required many meetings in order to work through the complex issues presented so that the end product is as productive and workable as possible,” said Councilmember Sidney Katz, who chairs the Public Safety Committee. “Complaints alleging police misconduct by a police officer employed by the County or by a municipality filed by a member of the public must be handled with the utmost care and attention. Thank you to my colleagues who worked diligently in committee and at full Council, as well as to the many interested residents who took the time to share their thoughts with us. The passage of Bill 49-21 reflects each of our efforts.”

“This bill is not just about staying in compliance with state law — it’s about composing a structure for oversight and accountability so that our community can begin to rebuild trust in law enforcement,” said Councilmember Tom Hucker, who sits on the Public Safety Committee. “Thanks to all the community members and stakeholders who shared valuable input throughout this process and ultimately helped us strengthen and improve the legislation to create a community-focused PAB and ACC.”

Expedited Bill 49-21 comes following the passage of House Bill 670 by the Maryland General Assembly. The law created a new uniform procedure for police accountability and discipline, including the establishment of a PAB and an ACC by the governing body of each County. As established in HB670, the PAB and ACC will be responsible for handling each complaint alleging police misconduct by a police officer employed by the County or a municipal police department located in the County filed by a member of the public.

HB 670 requires a five-member ACC and a three-member trial board, but the law does not specify the number of members of the PAB. Accordingly, Expedited Bill 49-21, as amended by the Council, would create a nine-member PAB nominated by the Executive and confirmed by the Council.

As outlined in Expedited Bill 49-21, all members of the PAB and the ACC must be County residents. At least one voting member must reside in a municipality that operates a police department within the jurisdiction of the PAB. The Executive may appoint one or more non-voting members.

Qualifications for members include being able to demonstrate through professional or lived experience the ability to balance effective oversight, perform objective analysis of an investigation report and practice procedural fairness.

The ACC Chair will receive an annual salary of $22,000 and the other four members will receive an annual salary of $16,000, both adjusted for changes in the consumer price index. As amended, members of the PAB will receive an annual salary of $10,000, except for one member who will also serve on the ACC and not collect a salary as a PAB member.

The bill requires each member of the PAB and the ACC to serve a three-year term of office with term limits after serving two complete terms.

This legislation is effective immediately upon the County Executive’s signature and will apply to incidents occurring on or after July 1, 2023, for a complaint against a police officer covered by a collective bargaining agreement with a different disciplinary system, and to incidents occurring on or after July 1, 2022, for complaints against all other police officers.

The Council staff report for Expedited Bill 49-21 can be found here.

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