ROCKVILLE, Md. (WDVM) — The Montgomery County Council decided to table a vote on a community policing bill on Tuesday. The bill has been in the works since last year.
Bill 33-19 looks to add additional requirements when it comes to reporting the use of force, tracking data and strengthening the department’s relationship with vulnerable populations and communities of color. Councilmember Craig Rice shared a personal connection to the issue of community policing.
“When I look at the time I was stopped as a young black man driving home from work and asked why I had a pager and was asked where I was going and I hadn’t done anything wrong. That was here in Montgomery County,” said Rice.
Rice says a lot has changed since then, but there’s still more work to be done.
“I find it offensive and objectionable when people who don’t look like me and have the same experiences as me, wanna tell me what I should do when it comes to shaping the relationship I think I need to between my community and my police officers,” said Rice.
Since the public safety committee’s last work session, language requiring an expansion of the Montgomery County Police School Resource Officer program was deleted from the bill. Police Chief Marcus Jones weighed in on the role of SROs in public schools.
“People look at the uniform and the first thing they think about is an authoritarian figure. I think there’s still a misperception about our school resource officers and the role they play in our schools,” said Jones.
The council voted to postpone a vote on the bill to allow for more discussion on the issues at hand.
“I want to make make sure this legislation is the best it can be. I think and that is why we need to pause,” said Councilmember Evan Glass.
The council did not immediately reschedule a vote on the bill.