My name is Emily Blank. I’d like to thank this body for its work on police reform, which is long overdue, and for which many Americans, indeed many Marylanders, have clamored. I strongly urge you to repeal the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR).
Leviticus 19 says, “You shall commit no injustice in judgment; you shall not favor a poor person or respect a great man; you shall judge your fellow with righteousness.” This verse from the sacred writings common to several religions suggests that even those in highly regarded professions must be held accountable for their actions.
There are two main factors in the dysfunction of discipline of police offices. 1) At the moment, police discipline is entirely controlled by police officers. 2) The entire structure of LEOBR is about depriving police chiefs of management authority over police. Instead, it puts discipline in the hand of other police officers. The Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBR) is one of the most regressive laws in the nation. LEOBR permits non-transparent self-investigations by police departments, and has created a culture of impunity that is compounded by the fact that the Maryland Public Information Act (MPIA) denies the public access to critical information about police misconduct. When an officer harms, or even worse, kills, a citizen, we may never know exactly what happened.
While I respect all the good that many police officers do, police who commit criminal acts do NOT deserve rights unavailable to other citizens.
“Justice, Justice, you shall pursue” Deuteronomy 16:20