BALTIMORE (WJZ) — After a state action on policing reforms, many are now looking to Congress to act.
Several police reform bills are now law after Maryland state lawmakers earlier this month overrode Gov. Larry Hogan’s veto, including increased transparency in police discipline files and establishing a statewide use of force.READ MORE: The Fight For Cruelty-Free Cosmetics: Maryland Will Be 5th State To Ban Testing Makeup On Animals
Some, however, want more community oversight.
“They didn’t come forward with the bold responses, the bold legislative initiatives that the community cried out for,” said Rev. Kobi Little, Baltimore City NAACP.
WJZ’s Paul Gessler: “Where do these reforms on the state level fall short or go too far in terms of what can or should be passed on the federal level?”
“This is work in progress. We have to constantly work at doing better,” said Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.
Sen. Van Hollen on Monday said Congress needs to make accountability a priority and work to limit chokeholds and no-knock warrants. He is co-sponsoring the George Floyd Justice In Policing Act.
Another bill would establish more alternatives to policing, which Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott says he is rolling out next month.
“We’ve been requiring too much of police and putting way too much on their shoulders,” Mayor Scott said.READ MORE: Johns Hopkins University Helping India Fight Covid Surge
“Then, there is no need to call police until it’s absolutely needed,” said Ashiah Parker, with No Boundaries Coalition.
“There are alternatives to calling 9-1-1. You can call our crisis hotline and we can respond,” said Edgar Wiggins, with Baltimore Crisis Response.
“We really need to make conflict management and resolution a part of our culture,” said Erricka Bridgeford, with Baltimore Ceasefire.
Rev. Kobi Little urged Congress for increased funding of mobile crisis centers.
“If you only have two mobile crisis units and you have five crises going on at one time, that means that three people are going to jail instead of getting the help that they need,” Rev. Little said.
The mayor said reform efforts should work in concert with a push to immediately drive down crime and prevent gun violence.
“We’re going to be pushing this diversion work very shortly, but it doesn’t have to be an either-or,” Mayor Scott said.MORE NEWS: Driver Sought In Fatal Hit-And-Run Crash That Killed Lakisha Furnanders
The mayor did not indicate when that 911 diversion program would start, or just how it would work. He said more information will be released in a few weeks.