Elected officials asked for additional information
Frederick, Md (KM). The Frederick Board of Aldermen on Wednesday were presented with an overview of citizen review of law enforcement agencies. Acting Police Chief Patrick Grossman says it was a way for elected officials to learn about various models for citizen review boards, and whether this concept could work in the city of Frederick.
“One size does not fit all,” he said. “Obviously, there are many variances within each municipality and among various programs and lot of other different factors that affect what the actual civilian oversight of law enforcement looks like.”
Some models are more investigatory with expert investigators, and others analyze trends, says Grossman. Under another model, the panel will review investigations, and others audit what goes on in the police department.
“Best fit is better than best practice,” Acting Chief Grossman says.. “So what may be very conducive for other organizations or other municipalities, may or may not work here. So obviously, we have some work that we need to do in order to figure out what is our best fit for the city of Frederick.”
Alderwoman Donna Kuzemchak says she would like to see some form of a citizens review board for Frederick. “Do I think that in the end I probably want something? Yeah, I do,” she said. “At the very least, a type of audit just like we do with our financials every year, our water every year.”
Alderman Derrick Shackelford said he’s open to the idea, but he’s not ready to decide. “I do feel that maybe something is necessary. What I’m hesitant about is I see particularly now with government and municipalities who have done things, who done have things for the sake of saying they’ve done something.”
Alderwoman Kelly Russell, whose a retired police officer, says the Board needs more information before it takes a vote. “I think in order for us to make any kind of informed decision we need to hear from folks who have participated in these, who’ve created these, who’ve studied these, whoever they may be. I think it’s important we get community feedback as well,” she said.
Mayor Michael O’Connor said there will be future discussions on this issue. “This conversation was step one to insure that before we move too far in a direction, that we’re moving in a direction a majority of the board wants to go,” he said. . “We can anticipate a lot but our ability anticipate it and act on that are two different things because we want to be judicious with our time and our money.”
The Mayor said it may be possible to have another workshop on this topic in about eight weeks.
By Kevin McManus