Give Police Accountability Boards Independent Power

Act Now

Maryland legislators must pass a bill to clarify that local governing bodies have the power to empower their Police Accountability Boards (PABs) to issue subpoenas, interview witnesses, employ all other investigative techniques necessary to draw accurate conclusions about incidents, and to investigate claims.

The Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 required local jurisdictions to create PABs, with the intention of providing independent, more community-controlled oversight into police misconduct. Police investigations and subsequent discipline are routinely inadequate in Maryland. Report after report in different counties show how police routinely fail to adequately respond to internal and external complaints of racial harassment, discrimination, and misuse of force. Most complaints, even for serious misconduct allegations, are deemed "not sustained," which means they don’t move forward. This is unacceptable.

Join the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability and contact members of the House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee to vote "Yes" on SB 285.

Message Recipients:
House Judiciary and Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Members

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Dear Committee Member,

In recent years, my community supported passage of the Maryland Police Accountability Act, which required local jurisdictions to form new community police oversight boards called Police Accountability Boards. These boards should have independent investigatory powers. Unfortunately, local elected leaders were worried that such powers were not authorized by the MPAA. We need you to fix that.

As a Maryland resident, I urge you to support SB 285 to give PABs the independent investigatory powers that they require to do their jobs.

Police rarely sustain complaints, so PABs cannot merely trust these investigations at face value. With independent investigatory powers, Police Accountability Boards can assess the quality of internal investigations into police misconduct.

Without independent investigatory powers, PABs cannot fulfill their purpose. Yet, currently, no PABs were given this critical power by local jurisdictions, because the Fraternal Order of Police sowed doubt about whether the MPAA allowed it.

Let’s work together to pass a bill to clarify the power PABs require and vote "Yes" on SB 285.


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