CALL TO ACTION: Don’t Let Cops Write Your Reforms – Demand REAL Change in 2016

By Lawrence Grandpre | Uncategorized

Jan 08

Maryland’s Lawmakers Are About To Ask You to Help Them Co-Opt The Police Reform Movement. 

Tell Them No Thanks! 

The 2016 Maryland General Assembly is fast approaching.  We want to begin to give legislators the message that we want substantive police reform to pass during this year’s session.

Very soon the “work group” consisting of member of the Maryland State House and the Senate will release its recommendations on how to improve policing in the state. It has become clear from the conversations we have been having with folks in the know is that the most substantive changes to the Maryland Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR), ones which begin to address the root cause of police brutality, the skewed power dynamic between the police and the community, will NOT be among the recommended reforms.

Instead, a watered down package influence by, and more agreeable to, the police officers union (the Fraternal Order of Police or “FOP”) will be presented and likely supported by the Democratic Party leadership.

People in the community consistently told us they had little confidence in this process…it appears their skepticism was well founded.

The script below is designed to help guide your conversations with legislators about police reform.  Please use it, SHARE it and encourage people to use this moment to push REAL police reform.

Contact us directly info@lbsbaltimore.com if you want to be actively involved in putting pressure on legislators.  Here are particular legislators that we want to target during this year and where their districts are located.

These are some of the most direct targets for now. They sit on the legislative committee that will determine if our bill will have a chance to pass.

House:

Kathleen Dumais, Vice Chair: District 15, Montgomery County- Phone: 301-858-3052- Contact Online 

Joseph Vallario, Chair: District 23b, Prince Georges County- Phone: 301-858-3488- Contact Online

Vanessa Atterberry: District 13, Howard County- Phone: 410-841-3471 | 301-858-3471- Contact Online

Will Smith: District 20, Montgomery County- Phone: 410-841-3493 | 410-841-3493 -Contact Online

G. Valentino-Smith: District 23a, Prince Georges County- 410-841-3101 | 301-858-3101 Contact Online

Carlo Sanchez: District 47b, Prince Georges County- Phone: 410-841-3340 | 301-858-3340- Contact Online

Glen Glass: District 34a Hartford County- Phone: 410-841-3280 | 301-858-3280- Contact Online

Susie Protor: 27a Charles and Prince George’s Counties- 410-841-3083 | 301-858-3083- Contact Online

Senate

James Brochin: District 42, Baltimore County (Towson)- Phone: 410-841-3648 | 301-858-3648- Contact Online

Bobby Zurkin: District 11, Baltimore County (Owings Mills)- Phone: 410-841-3131 | 301-858-3131- Contact Online

Michael Hough: District 4, Carroll & Frederick Counties- Phone: Phone: 410-841-3704 | 301-858-3704- Contact Online 

We need to get our bill out of committee and these legislators were on the fence about their support for police reform last year.  If you have family and friends that live in their districts please have them contact us so that we can give them a very specific script on talking to those particular legislators.

If you don’t see your Representative or Senator listed, or are not sure who they are, you can use this website to get that information, as well as their contact information.

 

Call in script

“I am a resident of the ___legislative district. I am calling in support of Amendments to the officer bill of rights. I would like to know what Senator ______’s position is on this bill.

[Here are the major changes that we care about]

-Allowing residents of a community to serve on the trial boards that determine disciplinary measures against officers that have engaged in misconduct. Currently only other law enforcement officers serve on this board.
– Expanding who is able to interrogate officers alleged to engage in excessive force beyond only other police officers. 
-Removing  the 10 day window that police officers are given before they are compelled to make a statement in the event that they kill someone in the line of duty.
-Allowing family members to file complaints on behalf of a victim of police misconduct.
Requiring that police officers are questioned before they receive information about the complaint against them.

I strongly urge that you support this legislation.  None of the items listed above put law enforcement at a disadvantage, but were designed to create greater police accountability, trust and cooperation.”

Notes: If they ask you about other proposed changes, make it clear that the advocates are willing to negotiate, but that the talking points above are the main elements that we want.”

If they ask for specific names of advocates you can tell them Dayvon Love from Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle, Sara Love of the ACLU, and Rion Dennis. 

Below is an email version of this that you can also use.

Email script

“Delegate/Senator ______,

I am a resident of Maryland’s ___ Legislative District.  I am urging you to support Amendments to the officer bill of rights.   Here are the main elements of the changes  that I think are crucial:

-Allowing residents of a community to serve on the trial boards that determine disciplinary measures against officers that have engaged in misconduct. Currently only other law enforcement officers serve on this board.
-Removing  the 10 day window that police officers are given before they are compelled to make a statement in the event that they kill someone in the line of duty.
-Allowing family members to file complaints on behalf of a victim of police misconduct.
-Requiring that police officers are questioned before they receive information about the complaint against them.

I strongly urge that you support this legislation.  None of the items listed above put law enforcement at a disadvantage, but were designed to create greater police accountability, trust and cooperation.

Thank You,

-[insert your name]”

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About the Author

Lawrence Grandpre is the Director of Research for Leaders of a Beautiful Struggle. His focuses include criminal justice, police accountability, and community-based economic/educational development. He is the co-author of "The Black Book" and his work has been featured in The Guardian and The Baltimore Sun.