A Montgomery County councilman trying to end what he calls the disparity of policing in the county announced a bill that would require police to take a 30-hour, five-week course to make officers more sensitive to the needs of the community.
Councilman Will Jawando made the announcement on the campus of Montgomery College, where the course would be taught by criminal justice professors and retired police officers. It would be in addition to the traditional 24 weeks of police academy training.
“This course will focus on skills that aren’t currently taught in the academy,” Jawando said. “Things like racial equity, social justice, communication skills, de-escalation techniques, the history of policing, because you need these skills to work in a community as diverse as ours.”
Jawando says 50 percent of the people arrested by Montgomery County police are Black but only 18 percent of the people who live in the county are Black.
“We’ve had cases of people unfortunately died, Black people, in interactions with police, and then we’ve had people who have a record and they have trouble getting housing and a job and everything in between, and people that just don’t feel safe, that question whether they should call the police, and that shouldn’t be the case in a county as great as ours.”
Montgomery County police said it’s their policy not to comment on pending legislation.