MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (WDVM) — In Montgomery County, there is a new way to investigate alleged police misconduct after the county council voted unanimously to create a board of citizens to oversee the process. 

After George Floyd was killed by Minneapolis Police, Maryland lawmakers based a bill requiring that all counties establish committees to examine police misconduct by July.

“We have over 17,000 law enforcement agencies in this country, and yet, we have just over 200 civilian oversight agencies,” said Paul Henderson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Department of Police Accountability. “We already know that those are proven best practices to get to race-neutral outcomes, and to reform law enforcement agencies.”

The Silver Spring Justice Coalition says community involvement is the reason the bill is as strong as it is but this was not the disciplinary system that they wanted. While they are happy the board members are compensated, have independent legal counsel, and full-time dedicated staff.. they say it still has limits such as the investigative power they have and the police misconduct they oversee. 

“Although in the end again, this is not the system we wanted,” said Joanna Silver, Co-Chair of Silver Spring Justice Coalition. “The system handed down by the state of Maryland still imposes a trial board at the end, so a police officer who receives discipline from this new system is still entitled to appeal it to the trial board that is not civilian-based.”

Lee Holland the President of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35 says this system isn’t necessarily completely need for Montgomery County as they have had a civilian arbitrator for over 30 years. 

“The difference in that now is that right the police chief picks a person there is an administrative law judge or an arbitrator, and the FOP picks a person to sit in the board,” said Holland. “So the difference now is instead of the FOP picking the person or the union, that person is picked by the police accountability board.”

The salaries of these positions range from $10,000 to $22,000 a year.