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Keyword: olszewski

Bill bans chokeholds, limits use of force, expands de-escalation, and increases transparency to modernize policing in Baltimore County

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski, County Councilman Julian Jones, and other members of the Baltimore County Council today announced the Strengthening Modernization, Accountability, Reform, and Transparency (SMART) Policing Act, a comprehensive package of initiatives to improve and modernize policing in Baltimore County while strengthening community relations.

“We’ve heard from the public and the time to act is now. With the SMART Policing Act, Baltimore County will ban chokeholds, strengthen training in de-escalation, ensure there are limits on use of force, and increase transparency,” said Councilman Julian Jones, who will formally introduce the SMART Policing Act at the Baltimore County Council Meeting scheduled for tonight, September 8. “I value and respect the great men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department, and this commonsense bill will help ensure they receive the right training and policies to serve and protect every member of every community.”

“We are living in a moment that demands action, and I am proud to join Councilman Jones and his colleagues in support of the SMART Policing Act to strengthen accountability and promote more equitable policing for all,” said Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski. “We announced unprecedented reforms in June, which began the process of improving transparency and strengthening relationships between law enforcement and the communities they serve. Today, we’re coming together united in Baltimore County’s next step forward in the ongoing fight for equal justice.”

The SMART Policing Act:

  • Modernizes Policing Tactics by:

    • Banning the use of all neck restraints, including chokeholds, unless a person’s life is in immediate jeopardy.

    • Requiring a policy specifying that officers render aid or call for medical care for any individual in police custody who has an obvious injury or complaint of injury.

    • Requiring the Baltimore County Police Department to introduce policy affirming the sanctity of life and the dignity and value of all persons.

  • Enhances and Enshrines Reforms on Use of Force by:

    • Requiring the Department to introduce policies to limit the use of force.

    • Requiring the Department to introduce policy obligating officers to intervene to stop fellow officers from using excessive force and report uses of force.

    • Providing protections to prohibit retaliation against those who report misconduct.

    • Requiring the Department to implement an early intervention system to provide officers at-risk of engaging in the use of excessive force with additional training or other behavioral interventions.

  • Improves Training and Accountability by:

    • Barring individuals with prior disciplinary records in other jurisdictions or agencies from serving as a Baltimore County Police Officer.

    • Requiring annual training in de-escalation, implicit bias, and the use of force.

  • Expands Transparency by:

    • Authorizing the Chief of Police to select up to two members of the public to serve on a police hearing board. Due to state law, final approval of the membership is subject to collective bargaining.

    • Requiring collection and public access to use of force data and police involved shootings.

“This is a critical time and we have a responsibility to do whatever we can to expand community based policing, promote crime reduction, and build public trust across Baltimore County. The SMART Policing Act will make an already strong police department even stronger,” said County Council Chair Cathy Bevins.

"I would like to thank all those who came together to support this legislation that continues robust law enforcement, in a smart manner that is sensitive to all our communities," said Councilman David Marks.

“Like so many, I’ve been inspired by the advocacy of our young people in calling for change. This important piece of legislation reaffirms our commitment to them by strengthening community relations for this generation — and for future generations,” said Councilman Izzy Patoka.

“The Baltimore County Police Department is already taking important steps designed to strengthen and assist our Department and our officers. This legislation will help ensure these actions are codified in law and protected for years to come. It is so important that our Police and communities continue to work together for the benefit of all,” said Councilman Wade Kach.

“I’m grateful for the work the brave men and women of the Baltimore County Police Department do each and every day to protect our residents and am proud of the Department’s ongoing work to improve transparency and accountability. I appreciate all those who have added their voices this legislation which will build on those efforts as we continue to work with our state legislators on additional next steps to improve policing in every neighborhood,” said Councilman Tom Quirk.

The SMART Policing Act is the latest effort from Baltimore County to improve accountability and strengthen relations between law enforcement officers and the communities they serve.

In June, County Executive Olszewski announced an unprecedented series of executive actions to address systemic challenges in the police department and promote more equitable policing, by:

  • Updating Use of Force policy. The Department has introduced policies that would be codified in law by the SMART Policing Act, including:

    • Affirming the sanctity of life.

    • Providing training in de-escalation, implicit bias, and the use of force.

    • Requiring officers in to intervene to stop fellow officers from using excessive force and report uses of force.

  • Implementing Fair and Impartial Police Training Curriculum for all Department members.

  • Increasing transparency of complaint, use of force and traffic stop data. In the coming weeks, Baltimore County will release public dashboards displaying data on the complaints, instances of uses of force, and traffic stop data.

  • Supporting state legislation to amend the MPIA to increase transparency related to discipline cases.

  • Conducting independent analysis and review of Department hiring and recruitment practices.

  • Expanding the scope and duration of Equitable Policing Workgroup.

The SMART Policing Act will be officially introduced during the County Council session held on Tuesday, September 8, 2020.


Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski issued the following statement following the announcement from Governor Larry Hogan and State Superintendent Dr. Karen Salmon:

“As County Executive and a former teacher, I want nothing more than to get all our kids back to the classroom as quickly as possible—especially our youngest learners and students with disabilities and special needs. But we can only do that when we know we can keep our students and educators safe. Governor Hogan has been absent for months on calls where I and other local leaders have been asking for reopening guidelines from the state. Now, days before schools open, the Governor and Superintendent Salmon have finally released their guidance, while dangling $10 million to convince historically underfunded systems to open—whether they are ready or not. That’s not leadership. Maryland students and families deserve better.”


Tourism Celebration Grant Will Leverage Over $200,000 in County Funding; Applications Open Until April 2

Baltimore County today announced the inaugural Baltimore County Tourism Celebration Grant program, a new opportunity to enhance the visitor experience in Baltimore County by leveraging $210,000 in County funding for tourism or cultural arts events.

Beginning today, individuals and organizations may apply for grants between $2,000 to $20,000 for an event taking place in Baltimore County between April 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021. The grants will require applicants to secure or provide matching funds.

The application process for Baltimore County Tourism Celebration Grants is now open. Applicants must apply by Thursday, April 2, 2020, at 4 p.m.

“This Tourism Celebration Grant will energize our local economy by supporting events that can draw more visitors, build meaningful partnerships, elevate community stakeholders, and better connect residents with all that Baltimore County has to offer,” Olszewski said. “We’re excited for the potential of this new opportunity to further enhance arts and tourism opportunities across Baltimore County.”

The Tourism Celebration Grant is the latest effort from the Olszewski Administration to expand Baltimore County’s tourism industry as a fundamental pillar of economic development.

A recent study conducted for the Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development found that expanded investments and strategic improvements to the tourism sector could generate approximately $7 billion in tourism spending over a 10-year period.

Application and Guidelines Information Sessions

Two information sessions will be held regarding the grant application and guidelines:

Thursday, March 12, from 6 to 7 p.m.
Towson Chamber of Commerce
44 West Chesapeake Avenue
Towson, Maryland 21204

Friday, March 13, from 10 to 11 a.m.
Baltimore County Department of Economic and Workforce Development
400 Washington Avenue, Suite 100
Towson, Maryland 21204

Contact tourism@baltimorecountymd.gov to RSVP for the information sessions or with any questions regarding the grant or application process.

Baltimore County will consider the principles of equity, diversity, and inclusivity in its assessment of these grant applications.

All events must be family-friendly and accessible. Complete grant application information is available on the County Tourism and Cultural Arts web page.


 
 
Revised September 11, 2017