FREDERICK, Md. (WDVM) — In the city of Frederick, a workshop was held with city officials and the Frederick Police Department to discuss the use of force, general orders, and the overall training of the department.
“But I think for us in order to address these issues, we have to have these tough conversations and we have to be in the room together,” said alderman, Derek Shackelford.
It was a long and emotional meeting on Wednesday as the Board of Aldermen held a virtual workshop to discuss the Frederick Police Department’s use of force, general orders, and training of the department.
“This is just a manifestation of a problem of this apparent of other sectors of the community and of our society as a large,” said alderman, Ben MacShane.
Acting Chief of Police, Patrick Grossman, discussed the hiring process including a psychological evaluation, the use of force policy, the authorization to use appropriate force, and deadly force guidelines and investigations.
“We certainly know that from national conversations that it is important that we look at the accountability and transparency of our department and that our department reflects the needs of our community and the wants of our community in the best way possible,” said Mayor, Michael O’Connor.
Police officials shared that last year the department responded to over 100,000 calls for services. Around 5,200 arrests were made. The use of force was used 161 times.
“I think as we experience more issues associated with addiction, mental health crisis, and things like that….other social services networks are not quite available as they once were is somewhat problematic if you will,” said Grossman.
Grossman said he would like to have some type of 24/7 mental health staff or center to work with the department during certain calls and situations.
Grossman also discussed the use of police cameras in the department. In 2016, 18 cameras were used in the department. The Mayor and Board of Aldermen approved funding in the FY 2020 budget to expand the program to 85 cameras.
Alderman Roger Wilson asked Grossman during the workshop about annual in-service training for the department. Grossman said there is always a need for more training for officers.
“I thank my colleagues for a passionate discussion on ways the Frederick Police Department can be improved for the future,” said Wilson. ” Today’s [Wednesday] conversation was a start and we have a lot of work to do. I look forward to working with my colleagues, Mayor, and Chief of Police on substantive policy initiatives in response to many loud voices for change.”