Montgomery County

Montgomery County to Introduce Police Reform Bill

Police reform bills are surfacing nationwide

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Days after the D.C. Council voted on police reforms, the Montgomery County council will formally introduce its own proposal Tuesday.

Police reform bills are surfacing nationwide in the wake of the death of George Floyd and the protests that have followed.

The legislation in Montgomery County would require the police chief to issue a new policy for the use of force by officers. The bill leaves it up to the chief to make that directive, but requires a number of provisions to be included.

The new legislation would ban the use of deadly force and neck restraints other than when there’s imminent threat to life or serious injury. Police would be prohibited from striking people who are restrained. And it requires police to intervene if they see fellow officer using excessive force.

Montgomery County council member Will Jawando said police use of force policies should be reviewed.

“Our policy should always be for us to use the least amount of force required.  Sometimes that means waiting for backup or deescalating,” Jawando said.

Montgomery County police have had a use of force policy posted online. It instructs officers to consider whether a person poses an “imminent threat to health and safety” before deciding whether to use force and to consider whether that person is “actively” resisting arrest.

The new legislation to update the existing policy will be introduced Tuesday with public hearing likely later this year.

The Montgomery County Police Department declined to comment on the proposed changes. The county's police union has not yet responded to a request for comment.

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