Pass a Strong Police Accountability Board in Wicomico County

Act Now

The Wicomico County Council must pass a strong Police Accountability Board. We need real accountability in Wicomico. The County Council’s first PAB draft legislation falls short of the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021.

The County Council’s first draft compromises the intent and transparency of the Police Accountability Board. If residential safety is an important priority for Wicomico County, there are important changes that must be added.

We must ensure that the Police Accountability Board has: diverse gender representation, zero conflicts of interest from former police officers, language that states the board is an independent body, clarification on member trainings, and include people serving on the PAB regardless of whether or not they have prior records.

That is what real police oversight and accountability looks like in Wicomico County. Tell the Wicomico County Council to pass a strong Police Accountability Board.

Message recipients:
Wicomico County Council Members

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Dear County Council Member,

As a Wicomico County resident, I urge you and the rest of our Wicomico County Council to listen to residents and implement a strong Police Accountability Board that will ensure accountability and transparency in our county and its policing.

The first draft of the legislation the County Council presented at the public meeting is flawed and compromises the intent and transparency of the Police Accountability Board.

The Wicomico County PAB must include the following:

• Replace the current language that prevents the board from communicating with the community with language that allows the PAB to freely communicate its observations and findings with the community once investigations are finalized.
• Clarify the vague point that “members must be trained by the county executive” to include what training they will be required to get and by when.
• Add language to ensure that the PAB obtains gender balance to achieve fair representation.
• Remove the conflict of interest that mandates the chair of the PAB be a retired sworn law enforcement officer in good standing with at least 20 years of service in Maryland law enforcement.
• Do NOT ban members of the community with prior records from serving on this board if they have already served the time required. Their insight dealing with the legal justice system is vital.
• Add language that will ensure that the PAB is an “independent” body of Wicomico County residents reflective of the community. This should include language that specifically ensures communities disproportionately affected by police misconduct are reflected on the committee, including people who are BIPOC, rural, LGBTQ +, and from religious minorities.

The General Assembly already mandated a fair review board for all Maryland counties. This is our opportunity to do our part and achieve real police oversight and accountability for the residents of Wicomico. I urge the council to pass a strong Police Accountability Board now.


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