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Silver Spring Justice Coalition Supports Recently Passed Police Data Bill

A community policing accountability organization applauded the county council for passing a measure requiring the police to collect and publish more data on their work.

The law requires data monitoring in a wide range of situations, from stop-and-search encounters to mental health calls and many other scenarios.

Joanna Silver, co-chair of the Silver Spring Justice Coalition’s policy committee, said the coalition was happy to see the bill passed. The coalition “is focused on changing policing services in Montgomery County” to ensure better results and accountability within local police forces, according to its website.

“This is an important bill because it increases transparency in a way that some of the others [police] the bills don’t and gives us information so we can continue to hold the police accountable, ”Silver said in an interview. “It may also be easier to apply than some of the other bills that have been passed. “

Legislation needs the signature of County Executive Marc Elrich to become law. Scott Peterson, a spokesperson for Elrich’s office, said in a telephone interview on Friday that Elrich planned to sign the bill.

Will Jawando, County Council Member, Main Sponsor the invoice’s, said in an interview that the process of the bill began on the basis of a report from the Legislative Oversight Office he requested on police data.

This report found that county police were not collecting certain demographic data on stop and search situations, he said. It also showed the need to collect more police data in a plethora of other areas, he said.

Newly enacted legislation requires the police department to keep public data sets including “data on race, sex, age and ethnicity, and data by district, division and police station” in the records. following cases, among others:

  • Use of force incidents
  • Field interview reports
  • Quotes for minors
  • Criminal citations, including trespassing
  • Quotes about alcoholic drinks
  • Possession of marijuana under 10 grams and smoking marijuana in public places
  • Pointing a service weapon, Taser or pepper spray at someone
  • Searches of a person, including those leading to arrest or the discovery of contraband
  • Stops, including stops and searches that do not lead to summons or arrests
  • Service calls for mental health, addiction, homelessness and unfounded appeals

Lee Holland, chairman of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, the county police union, could not be reached for comment via three phone calls, two texts and an email last week.

The bill was presented at a county council meeting in November 2020, and went through a long legislative process with the Public Safety Committee and the Board’s Health and Health Services Committee, and the entire Board.

The council passed the 9-0 bill on Tuesday, November 2.

Jawando said he didn’t think the bill would require significantly more resources from the Montgomery County Police Department. He said the police can already collect a lot of the data, but they just aren’t doing it.

Over the past two years, county officials have invested millions of dollars in a new case management system, which should help with data collection and storage, he added.

“This is not new data and it is not new technology. … It’s just more than we demand now, ”Jawando said.

He said a good change to the legislation since its introduction was that it would help track mental health outcomes for these kinds of appeals.

Silver said council members worked closely with the Silver Spring Justice Coalition throughout the legislative process and incorporated many of the group’s suggestions. She said some good changes included adding the collection of data and demographics on calls for service regarding mental health, homelessness and addiction, and data on police orders prohibiting people from dying. ” access private property, in relation to trespassing laws.

Steve Bohnel can be contacted at [email protected]


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