The Sheriff made a presentation to the County Council.
Frederick, Md (KM) Following the death of George Floyd earlier this year in Minneapolis, there have been a lot of demonstrations and talk around the country about police reform. During a presentation Tuesday night by before the Frederick County Council, Sheriff Chuck Jenkins says there needs to be a different type of reform when it comes to law enforcement. “So it’s necessary, I think, is for the general public to reform the way it views law enforcement, and get a real understanding of exactly what we do, how complex what we do is, and the diverse roles of law enforcement,” he said. “And I think we need to get back to respecting law enforcement and the men and women that serve.”
During the discussion, Councilman Kai Hagen said the Sheriff is not addressing the issue of systemic racism in law enforcement. He says it has been brought up by a number of citizens. “They also hear you denying both specifically, direct reference and referentially in terms of any other comments you make around the edges that you just don’t believe that systemic racism is a problem in our law enforcement and justice system at all,” he said.
“I will maintain that I do not believe that there is a systemic racism in law enforcement and policing,” Jenkins responded. “You can throw out the stats; you can bring up academia; you can bring up all these studies. But I don’t believe for one minute that it’s a systemic problem.”
The Sheriff said the agency is not perfect, but it’s always working to improve itself.
Related to that, Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater cited a report that shows last year, deputies tended to use force more so on minorities as opposed to the white population. “33% use of force incident were with Black individuals. Only 10.7% of our population is Black. And then 60% on White individuals, and 88.7% of the population is White. There is a disparity. The data shows there’s a disparity,” she said.
Lt. Jeff Null is in charge of training for the Sheriff’s Office. “We use force as reactionary. We don’t choose who we use force on based on anything: race, gender, sexual orientation, anything like that,” he said.
Related to that, Lt. Null said the Sheriff’s Office decided to address biases when it comes to dealing with minority populations. . “:Last year, in 2019, it was decided we were going to do training on anti-bias, implicit bias, racial profiling and hate crimes. So in 2019, we decided to do that, and we actually completed all of that in April of this year,” he said.
As the meeting was ending, Sheriff Jenkins invited elected officials to take a tour of the agency’s offices and the detention center to gain a better understanding of the law enforcement profession. He also said he’s available to speak with anyone in the community on local concerns and policing issues
By Kevin McManus