ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — The debate over police reform continues in Annapolis this week, as lawmakers consider bills on transparency and accountability.
Gov. Larry Hogan has the veto pen, but Republicans are the minority in both houses of the General Assembly. They said police reform is needed, but some bills go too far.READ MORE: Where Inflation Is Taking A Breather: Your Doctor's Office
“No one wants to protect a bad cop,” said Clyde Boatwright, Maryland FOP.
Maryland law enforcement leaders joined Republicans outside the Statehouse on Wednesday for what they are calling “sensible” police reform, as the House takes up bills this week.
“We did a bipartisan one and you see in the House a very large contrast,” said Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4.
Sen. Michael Hough said the nine bills passed last week in the Senate are a good start, but he fears House bills overreach.
“If you want better police, why aren’t we talking more about training and innovation?” said Del. Nic Kipke, R-District 31B.
House Bill 670 does address training and certification, but it also repeals the law enforcement officers Bill of Rights, or “Leobor,” something Maryland Republicans said goes too far.READ MORE: Virginia County Plans To Rename Lee Highway For Abolitionist
“The bill before us dehumanizes the men and women who risk their lives to protect our families,” said Del. Kathy Szeliga, R-District 7.
“Leobor” grants certain safeguard to officers being investigated, including allowing officers up to five days before being questioned by investigators.
“What the other side in the House seem to be obsessed with doing is making police the criminals,” Del. Szeliga said.
“We must transform law enforcement to restore trust, transparency and accountability,” said Sen. Bill Ferguson, D-District 46.
Anton’s Law, which would make police disciplinary files public record, was the most divisive of the Senate bills passed.
House Republicans said they want only sustained complaints to be public.
“We’re looking for due process. Exposing officers to public attacks ridicule in the public court is not what we’re looking for,” said Del. Lauren Arikan, R-District 7.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: 5 Deaths Reported Saturday As Hospitalizations Drop Below 200
The House is expected to debate HB670- the repeal of the law enforcement officers’ Bill of Rights, later Wednesday night.