When Charles County Sheriff Troy Berry was first sworn into office in 2014, he pledged to build trust between law officers and the community. Following the death of George Floyd and protests with calls to defund the police, Berry says he is at a crossroad.
"The police and community relations are hemorrhaging and moving towards life support," Berry said.
He is now proposing initiatives asking Charles County to enhance policing strategies. His request includes $1.5 million for body worn cameras, expanding conflict resolution, prohibiting neck restraints and reviewing use of force policies.
Berry is also interested in establishing a youth advisory council.
Berry said he and his department need to be sure to solidify police community relationships in regards to trust and confidence.
Sheriff Berry's proposal to revive the board of public safety is getting push back. The NAACP doesn’t want elected leaders and law enforcement representatives to review and oversee police.
"We are asking for oversight of our police department but we want citizens to have that oversight. We do not want that oversight to fall into the hands of the law enforce the agency that’s in the community," said Dyotha Sweat, the president of the Charles County NAACP.
The Board of Charles County Commissioners will begin discussing the sheriff's policing proposals this week.
"The whole concept of defunding all of these talking points that have been brought to the forefront as a result of the murder of George Floyd, it requires absolutely the input of our entire community," said Reuben Collins II, the president of Charles County Commissioners.