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Keyword: reform

Proposed Reforms are Steps Toward Addressing Community Concerns

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced a series of steps to improve accountability in the County’s Police Department (BCoPD) and promote more equitable policing.

These steps are the latest efforts by Olszewski’s administration to address systemic challenges and improve relationships between communities and the Police Department.

“The protests we’ve seen in Baltimore County and around the country are shining a bright light on what we already knew—that we have a long way to go to achieve equal justice for African American communities and that local leaders have a responsibility to take action,” Olszewski said. “We are listening to those in our community who have been marginalized, and we are recommitting to making real change.”

Taken together, the steps announced today aim to improve transparency and accountability in the Baltimore County Police Department, create a more diverse police force and improve relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

The steps announced by Olszewski and Baltimore County Police Chief Melissa Hyatt are:

  • Update Use of Force policy. The Department has previously made a number of improvements to its use of force trainings that are in alignment with police best practices. The trainings include de-escalation training, Integrating Communications, Assessment and Tactics (ICAT), and implicit bias training. Additionally, Chief Hyatt has incorporated into the Department’s Use of Force policy the concept of Sanctity of Life, the Duty to Intervene and Report excessive or unnecessary use of force, and the importance of Constitutional Policing. The County will now sign the Obama Foundation Pledge to review and update its use of force policy with community input.
  • Implement Fair and Impartial Police Training Curriculum for all BCoPD members. The Department will bring in a nationally-recognized police training program on Fair and Impartial Policing to be provided to all BCoPD commanders, officers and employees in the coming year.
  • Increased transparency of complaint, use of force and traffic stop data. In accordance with Olszewski’s commitment to a more transparent, accountable government, the County will build public dashboards displaying data on the number and disposition of complaints against police officers, instances of uses of force and traffic stop data broken down by race.
  • Support state legislation to amend the MPIA to increase transparency related to discipline cases. County leaders will support legislation in Annapolis to amend the Maryland Public Information Act to increase transparency related to the disposition of police disciplinary actions.
  • Conduct independent analysis and review of BCoPD hiring and recruitment practices. The County will hire an independent third-party organization to conduct a comprehensive review of our hiring and recruitment practices, including a review of data for discriminatory impacts or practices in our testing and background investigations.
  • Expand scope and duration of Equitable Policing Workgroup. Olszewski has issued an Executive Order to expand the scope of the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, originally formed to examine traffic stop data. Going forward, the Workgroup will be a permanent advisory group and will focus more broadly on disparities in policing.

“I’m grateful to the men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department who serve honorably and put their lives on the line every day to serve our communities and I believe that these steps will make the Department even stronger,” Olszewski said.

About the Equitable Policing Workgroup

In November 2019, after reviewing traffic stop data showing that African American individuals were issued citations at a higher rate than other individuals, Olszewski created the Workgroup on Equitable Policing to examine policing policies and practices.

Chaired by the County’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Troy Williams, the group has met six times, including two community listening sessions, and will issue a report later this year. Going forward, the group will continue to examine traffic stop data and will also:

  • Review community policing training policies and practices
  • Review oversight systems, seeking community input and identifying best practices
  • Review the internal and external officer complaint and disciplinary process

Williams is the County’s first Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, a position created by Olszewski to help address disparities and promote equity and inclusion countywide.

In addition to the Workgroup on Equitable Policing, Olszewski created a Diversity, Inclusion and Equity Community Advisory Council and Employee Advisory Council, both aimed at advancing equity and inclusion in Baltimore County and changing the culture of County government to focus consistently on equity in decision-making.


To Improve Code Enforcement Efforts and Residents' Quality of Life

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski today announced the formation of a Code Enforcement Improvement Work Group to engage in a stakeholder-driven process to identify improvements to the County’s code enforcement program in order to better serve County residents.

“Baltimore County code enforcement has immense potential to significantly improve resident’s day-to-day quality of life,” Olszewski said. “Over the course of my first year in office, residents have consistently told us that they want to see more proactive and responsive code enforcement. This group will convene community voices from across our County to serve as partners in our efforts to improve customer service and better meet the needs of all residents.”

Baltimore County Code Enforcement is charged with investigating code and zoning complaints and identifying violations of the Baltimore County Code, International Residential Code and the Life Safety Code. Baltimore County’s 25 inspectors respond to over 18,000 code complaints each year.

Members

Chaired by Mike Mallinoff, Director of the Baltimore County Department of Permits, Approvals and Inspections—which oversees the County’s code enforcement efforts—and co-chaired by Councilman Izzy Patoka, the work group will consist of community representatives from each council district:

  1. District 1—Valerie Schwaab
  2. District 2—Airuel Aingletary
  3. District 3—Eric Rockel
  4. District 4—Vivian Paysour
  5. District 5—Greg Bauer
  6. District 6—Caitlin Klimm-Kellner
  7. District 7—Cliff O’Connell

Aspects of Reform

The work group will be tasked with examining the following four areas of code enforcement, as well any additional aspects of code enforcement identified for reform:

  • Resource Allocation—Analyzing levels of department resources and staffing levels needed to deliver the level of service demanded by residents and the County Executive.
  • Response Timeline—Identifying best practice timelines for individual types of service requests.
  • Administrative Hearing Transparency—Ensuring that the code enforcement administrative hearing process is accessible and transparent to the public.
  • Vacant Properties and Blight Elimination—Identifying best practices or policies around vacant properties to most effectively eliminate blight in communities.

Upcoming Meeting

The Code Enforcement Improvement Work Group will host their first meeting on Wednesday, February 19, at 6 p.m. in the Baltimore County Historic Courthouse, Room 118. Meeting minutes will be recorded from each listening session. Additional meeting information will be available on the Work Group’s web page. Within 30 days of the last meeting, the Work Group will issue a final report with recommendations.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017