Frederick County State’s Attorney Discusses Police Reform

The topic is still under debate among legislators in Annapolis









Frederick, MD (KB) Frederick County State’s Attorney Charlie Smith said the police reform package under debate in Annapolis would be a “sweeping change” for law enforcement officers.

“Obviously, there are laws in place for police brutality and for police officers who do wrong, maliciously,” he said. “They’re going to face the Grand Jury just like anybody else would face for this. It’s a sweeping change, I mean they’re gutting LEOBR, I mean and they’re taking away immunity provisions. It’s just — it’s definitely not good for the profession.”

LEOBR refers to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

He said the legislation raises the standard for no-knock warrants and makes changes to officer immunity.

“If a police officer’s acting in good faith, they have limited immunity in terms of being sued. A lot of the measures strip that out now,” Smith explained.

Smith said he believes the police reform package will force many out of law enforcement.

“There’s just certain times where you’re making these decisions, you’re doing it in good faith, and to strip the limited immunity provisions from it, you know, why go into the profession?” he said.

However, Smith also said not all of the proposed amendments are bad.

“Some of it’s good about officer hiring, some of it’s good about records disclosure with regard to police,” he stated. “They’re going to mandate the use of body cameras, which is fine if someone’s going to pay for it.”

He continued:

“There’s room for us to be better, I mean that’s the first thing we’ve got to all agree on. We all can be better, we’ve just got to think outside the box and improve our profession.”