News from Annapolis
Delegate Trent Kittleman - District 9A
April 6, 2021
Week 12
Contents:

  • Police Reform Legislation
  • Answers to 'Name that Symbol'
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Police 'Reform' Legislation
WARNING: This legislation could be hazardous to
your health, your safety, & and your well-being.
Maryland, along with the rest of the country, is currently reacting to the nationwide coverage of some very ugly behavior by rogue police officers. Reacting to police misconduct is certainly appropriate.

Unfortunately, the House of Delegates has over-reacted to the problem and is on the verge of passing legislation that is so extreme, it will cause a serious increase in the number of retirements and resignations from police forces throughout the state, and will make it that much harder to recruit new officers.

It could also cause Maryland to turn into a 'haven for criminals.' How this has happened in the House is discussed in the article below, written by my colleague, Lauren Arikan, and reprinted in the Baltimore Sun.
Police Reform Legislation will turn Maryland into a Haven for Criminals
Del. Lauren Arikan: Weaponized ‘woke-ism’ is going to cause rampant crime in Maryland |
By DEL. LAUREN ARIKAN . APR 02, 2021
According to Merriam-Webster, “woke” is to be aware of and actively attentive to important facts and issues (especially issues of racial and social justice). After months of nationwide riots that spawned from an alleged desire for racial justice, being woke has now become weaponized.

All over social media, if you do not acquiesce to woke culture, you are attacked, berated, and marginalized. This is more than simply the squeakiest wheel getting the oil. Extreme woke leftism is spreading like a cancer among our youth and on our college campuses. These folks command almost no knowledge or life experience, yet they spend their days online proselytizing into liberal echo chambers about fictional things like critical race theory.
Down in Annapolis, we have seen a shift in the last three years from a much more cohesive Democratic Party to one that is being held hostage by extremist woke advocates.

After 17 hours of negotiations between Democrat leadership, Republican leadership, and advocates on the Senate side, a package of police reform bill came out that was almost completely bi-partisan. It delivered what both sides thought was a solid compromise.

On the House side, while Republicans worked with Democrat House leadership over many hours, the level of extremism from a small group of liberals was so strong, that we simply couldn’t come to an agreement.
As rumors circulated about an increasing threat of violence from extremists toward delegates and senators, it became apparent that Maryland Democrats are now crafting legislation not because it’s the best policy, but under duress from a violent fringe that is willing to use physical threats to accomplish their goal of destroying our police.
Last week during bill hearings in the House for the Senate package we had woke leftists come in and suggest that black officers are perpetuating “white supremacy” more than white officers because they are like the black slave drivers of the Antebellum South. To compare an entire race of people that work in law enforcement of being akin to slave drivers is absolutely disgusting. The woke left has become the racists they claim to hate.
Just this week, we had a black delegate, Dr. Brenda Thiam, from Washington County, essentially be called a house slave on her social media account, by an extremist liberal from her community that worked for a local Democrat. The Maryland Democrats have allowed these fringe voices to become so emboldened that they don’t even hide their overt racism.
*****
I shudder to think of the effect this legislation will have on recruitment of new police officers. In Baltimore County, a survey was sent out to almost 1,000 local FOP members, 83% said they would leave the job if this legislation passed.

Not only will police officers in Maryland have to fear for their lives when they are called to the rescue of our citizens, but we may simply not have anyone left to answer the call at all, and ultimately, Maryland will be far less safe because of it.
**************
Lauren Arikan is a Republican representing District 7 in the Maryland House of Delegates. This article is one of a series of weekly commentaries from Harford County state legislators regarding the 2021 Maryland General Assembly session.
by JAZZ SHAW, 9:21 am ,July 23, 2020
"Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare announced his retirement in a surprise move Tuesday night, ending two decades with the department in which he worked his way up from patrolman to top cop. . . .

"Nobody was trying to force the popular Chief out of office, however. In his announcement, he cited the fact that he was not going to stand by and watch so-called police reforms “remove the teeth from policing.” (Baltimore Sun)

"To see somebody in law enforcement with that sort of record and the respect of both the cops and the community walk out the door is alarming to say the least. But both the state and county legislatures are currently ramming through “reforms” for the police in response to the mobs ruling the streets and Altomare doesn’t care for them at all.

". . . this could very easily be viewed as the canary in the coal mine in terms of the future of policing in America. We’re already seeing cops retiring in droves in Minnesota or simply quitting the force altogether. The same thing has been happening in New York City. A report from CNN last month found spiking resignations and retirements in a half dozen cities around the country." READ MORE
Police Reform Legislation:
House Bill 670 v. Senate Package of Bills
  • Repeal of LEOBR. This House Bill repeals the long-standing "Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights (LEOBR) and establishes a new Independent Investigative Agency; County Police Accountability Boards; and County Administrative charging Committees that, along with the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission will administer the process of disciplining officers against whom a Complaint has been filed.
This Senate bill also repeals the LEOBR and creates a new disciplinary system. In doing so, SB 627 exercises a fair balance of preserving appropriate law enforcement officers' rights while eliminating the over-protection provisions that have so often created an atmosphere of mistrust between the police and the citizens.
  • Expanding transparency. HB 670 now allows anyone to request documents that were formerly exempt from disclosure as personnel records. Now, the state must release records from criminal investigations of misconduct, internal affairs records, hearings, and disciplinary decision-making records. All records must be released regardless of whether there was any truth to the complaint prompting the investigation.
This provision is the same in the Senate bills.
  • Anonymous & Unsworn Complaints. Complaints against a police officer may be submitted anonymously and without being sworn or notarized.
This provision is the same in the Senate bills.
  • Can Never Expunge. No records relating to an investigation, regardless of its outcome, may be expunged or destroyed.
. . . an officer may have the record of a complaint expunged from the officer’s file if the investigation:
-exonerated the officer, determined that the charges were unsustained or unfounded, or if the hearing board acquitted the officer, dismissed the action or made a finding of not guilty.
  • "Implicit Bias" test tThe Maryland Police Traning & Standards Commission must develop an Implicit Bias test to administer to new recruits and be taken annually by all officers. (The problem here is that no reliable test exists. Extensive conversation with local medical and psychological teams agreed with Harvard University experts who said, "If you’re looking for tests that identify potential job candidates with hidden bias, I’m sorry to say that such a test doesn’t currently exist.")
NO SENATE BILL
None of the Senate Police Reform bills mentions a "bias test," to the best of my knowledge.
  • No-Knock Warrants. In order to obtain a No-Knock warrant, the bill raises the standard of proof the officer must show to "clear and convincing evidence." In testimony, the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, said, "If adopted, this standard will create untenable safety risks for officers and result in the escape of suspects and destruction of critical evidence."
The primary difference is that the Senate bill does not raise the standard of proof.
  • Annual Mental Health testing. All officers must be recertified each year which mandates a mental health assessment along with a physical agility assessment.
Mandates a "mental health consultation" only for an officer who has been involved in an incident involving "a serious injury to the police officer, an officer-involved shooting,or any use of force resulting in a fatality or serious injury."
  • Penalty for violating the Use of Force Statute. The original bill provided for a maximum 10-year jail term for an intentional violation. For a reckless violation, the original bill established a maximum 5-year jail term. The House amended this provision to now read that an officer who "uses lethal force against a person in a manner inconsistent with [the Use of Force Statute] that results in death may be charged with manslaughter or murder." If the misuse of lethal force does not result in death may nonetheless be charged with Reckless Endangerment or Assault.
NO SENATE BILL
None of the Senate bills create a new penalty for violation of the Use of Force Statute.
  • Use-of-Force standard. And most problematic is the new Use-of-Force standard
Use of Force Standard in HB 670
A police officer may not use force against a person unless the force is necessary force and proportional to:
***** Prevent an imminent threat of physical injury to a person, or
***** Effectuate an arrest of a person who the officer has probable cause to believe has committed a crime, taking into consideration the seriousness of the alleged crime.

A police officer may use force only after exhausting reasonable alternatives to the use of force, and only until the use of force accomplishes a legitimate law enforcement objective,

A police officer shall cease the use of force as soon as:
***** The person on whom the force is used:
·       -----Is under the officer’s control; or
·       -----No longer poses an imminent threat of physical injury or death to the police officer or to another person; or
***** The officer determines that force will no longer accomplish, or is no longer reasonable and proportional to accomplish, a legitimate law enforcement objective.”

A police officer may not use lethal force against a person unless:
***** Lethal necessary force is used as a last resort to prevent imminent threat of death or serious physical injury to the police officer or another person;
***** The use of lethal force presents no substantial risk of injury to a third person; and
***** All reasonable alternatives to the use of deadly force have been exhausted.
The Maryland Troopers Association testified against this standard: "Officers cannot be expected to ponder or consider multiple factors in life and death situations where citizens and the officers' safety is at issue.. . . the reasonableness of the officer's actions must be based on the information the officer has in the moment force is used."
The Maryland Troopers Association Testimony.
ANSWERS TO:
How many State Symbols can you identify?
(and don't ask Siri! -- or Alexa!)

Maryland State Tree
  1. White Oak
  2. Red Leaf Maple
  3. Loblolly Pine

Maryland State Gem
  1. Quartz
  2. Agate (River Stone)
  3. Coral

Maryland State Boat
  1. Skipjack
  2. Cutter
  3. Sloop

Maryland State Insect
  1. Lepidoptera Butterfly
  2. Bumble Bee
  3. Checkerspot Butterfly

Maryland State Horse
  1. Thoroughbred
  2. Quarter Horse
  3. Appaloosa

Maryland State Dog
  1. Chesapeake Bay Retriever
  2. English Cocker Spaniel
  3. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel

Maryland State Exercise
  1. Swimming
  2. Walking
  3. Biking

Maryland State Sport
  1. Archery
  2. Fencing
  3. Jousting

Maryland State Team Sport
  1. Soccer
  2. Baseball
  3. Lacrosse

Maryland State Drink
  1. Water
  2. Beer
  3. Milk