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Police Accountability Board

The Police Accountability Board was established to work with law enforcement agencies to review, provide policy advice and report on disciplinary matters stemming from public complaints about police misconduct.

 
 

About the Police Accountability Board

During the 2021 General Assembly session, the legislature passed a package of police reform bills. That legislation is the result of months of hearings, debates, and negotiations among advocacy groups, professional organizations, communities, and elected officials across the state.
 

One of the bills, now codified as Public Safety Code Title 3-101., et seq. (HB 670), mandates that counties establish Police Accountability Boards (“PAB”) to:
 

  • Provide policy advice through meetings with law enforcement agencies, review of disciplinary matters stemming from public complaints, and annual reporting.
  • Work with law enforcement agencies and the county government to improve policing and police accountability in the County.
  • Appoint 2 civilian members to the Administrative Charging Committee and one to the Trial Board to adjudicate complaints submitted by members of the public.
  • Receive complaints of police misconduct filed by members of the public.

In Anne Arundel County, the PAB works with the county government and law enforcement agencies to improve policing and police accountability in the County.
 

Public Safety Code Title 3-101., et seq. (HB 670), defines many requirements of the structure and duties of the PAB.  On April 29, 2022, Bill 16-22 (codified as 3-7A) was enacted by the County Council to establish the Police Accountability Board. Anne Arundel County seated its PAB prior to the July 1, 2022 deadline and the Board held its first public meeting on July 18, 2022. The Board has been meeting monthly ever since. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the Police Accountability Board?
    The Police Accountability Board (PAB) is a component of the new police accountability and discipline process enacted by the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 that replaces the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

    The PAB is comprised of 9 voting members. One of the 9 members must be an Annapolis resident, who is appointed upon recommendation by the Mayor and Annapolis City Council.
  • Why did Anne Arundel County implement a Police Accountability Board?
    House Bill 670 required each Maryland county to establish Police Accountability Boards to:

    Hold quarterly meetings with heads of law enforcement agencies and otherwise work with law enforcement agencies and the county government to improve matters of policing; Appoint civilian members to charging committees and trial boards; Receive complaints of police misconduct filed by members of the public; On a quarterly basis, review outcomes of disciplinary matters considered by charging committees; and
    By December 31 each year, submit a report to the governing body of the county that identifies any trends in the disciplinary process of police officers in the county and makes recommendations on changes to policy that would improve police accountability in the county.
  • What are the qualifications of those who serve on the PAB?
    Anne Arundel County Code 3-7A states that representatives on the PAB must possess diverse skills and backgrounds including:
    Active in community organization;
    Active in civil rights organization;
    Retired law enforcement;
    Expertise and experience in the practice of criminal law;
    Expertise in behavioral health;
    Clergy or faith leadership experience;
    Expertise and experience in community policing;
    Training in sociology, education, social work, or criminology;
    Expertise and experience in management of a law enforcement agency, managing personnel discipline matters;
    Expertise and experience in policing standards;
    Juvenile Services; and

    Other life experience that may be valuable to the board
  • What is the process for handling complaints of police misconduct?
    Once a complaint of police misconduct is submitted to the Police Accountability Board, a copy of the complaint is immediately forwarded to the agency that the complaint is made against. If the incident described in the complaint meets the standard of police misconduct, it will be investigated by Internal Affairs. Once fully investigated, the investigatory file is forwarded to the Administrative Charging Committee who determines whether or not an officer should be charged.

    If the Officer is NOT charged, meaning the allegations are unsubstantiated or the officer is exonerated, the Administrative Charging Committee will issue a written opinion detailing findings, determinations, and recommendations.

    If the officer IS charged, the Administrative Charging Committee will still issue a written opinion detailing findings, determinations, and disciplinary recommendations.

    The Chief of Police then offers discipline recommended by the Administrative Charging Committee or a higher level according to the state-created disciplinary matrix. This matrix can be found here: https://mdle.net/standards.htm.

    The officer then has the option to accept the discipline or have the matter referred to the Trial Board for a hearing.
  • Will the Police Accountability Board follow the laws of the Open Meetings Act?
    Yes. County Code 3-7A (Bill 16-22) requires the Police Accountability Board to comply with the Open Meetings Act. This will require reasonable advance notice of meetings, an agenda be made available as soon as practicable (at least 24 hours before meeting), arrangements be made for the public to attend and minutes, archived video, or an audio recording will be made available following the meetings.
  • Will background checks be required for applicants?
    Yes. All members of the PAB are subject to a background check.
  • Are members of the PAB compensated?
    County Code 3-7A (Bill 16-22) that voting members of the Board may be compensated for their services as provided for in the annual budget.
  • Will background checks be required for applicants?
    Yes. All members of the PAB are subject to a background check.
  • Is there a training program for members of the PAB?
    PAB members will be required to take ethics training, implicit bias training, and complete the Citizen’s Police Academy, as well as complete any training the State, County Executive, or PAB itself may require.
  • How many members will there be on the Police Accountability Board?
    Bill 16-22 states that the Police Accountability Board has 9 voting members. 1 of the 9 members must be an Annapolis resident, who is appointed upon recommendation by the Mayor and Annapolis City Council.
  • Will there be non-voting members on the board?
    No, there are not any ex-officio (or non-voting) members on the board.
  • Are there any residency requirements for serving on the PAB?
    County Code 3-7A (Bill 16-22) states, all board members are required to have been residents of Anne Arundel County for at least three years immediately prior to being appointed. One member is required to have been a resident of the City of Annapolis for at least three years prior to being appointed.
  • What are the terms of members on the PAB?
    As codified in 3-7A-105, which governs the terms of voting members. The initial terms of voting members shall be staggered so that four members, including the chair, shall serve initial terms of three years and five members shall serve initial terms of two years. After the initial terms, the term of a voting member is three years.
  • Are there limitations on the number of terms a member can serve?
    Members are ineligible for immediate appointment after serving 2 full terms.
  • Are police officers permitted on the PAB?
    An active police officer is not permitted to be on the PAB under State law. Retired or former officers are not prohibited from serving on the Board.
  • What are the main responsibilities of the PAB?
    The Police Accountability Board’s responsibilities include the following actions:
    • Accepts and forwards complaints from citizens for investigation by the police and sheriff’s departments
    • Appoints members to Charging Committees and Trial Boards
    • Reviews outcomes of disciplinary matters considered by the Charging Committees and Trial Boards
    • Submits an annual report to the County that identifies any trends in disciplinary actions against law enforcement personnel
    • Makes policy recommendations that would improve police accountability and meets with community youth representatives at least twice a year
    • Holds quarterly meetings with heads of law enforcement agencies and otherwise works with law enforcement agencies in the county government to improve matters of policing
  • How many members will be on the Administrative Charing Committee?
    The Administrative Charging Committee consists of 5 members - the chair of the Police Accountability Board (or their PAB designee), two civilian members selected by the PAB, and two civilian members selected by the chief executive officer of the county.
  • How are discipline decisions made by the Administrative Charging Committee?
    The Charging Committee will use the Model Uniform State Disciplinary Matrix as responsive measures to determine whether a police officer’s sustained violation of an agency’s policy. This Matrix was developed for all jurisdictions throughout the State of Maryland as part of the legislation that developed the Police Accountability Board structure. The Disciplinary Matrix includes a breakdown of six different categories of violations, labeled A through F, with A as the lowest level of discipline and F as the highest.
    • Each category is defined, along with example violations.
    • Three penalty levels are included in each category which are based on the number of similar violations in a specified period of time.
    • A disciplinary range is used for assessing the recommended discipline.
    • Based on aggravating and mitigating factors, the disciplinary range can increase or decrease upon review of the totality of the circumstances surrounding the sustained violation.
  • Who maintains the Disciplinary Matrix and where is it kept?
    The Disciplinary Matrix will be maintained and published by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission on its public website here.
  • What is the role of the Trial Board?
    The trial board adjudicates matters for which a police officer or deputy is subject to discipline. The trial board meets when the decision of the Police Chief or Sheriff is appealed by an officer.
  • How many members will be on the Trial Board?
    As required by law, the Trial Board includes 3 members - an active or retired administrative law judge, or a retired district or circuit court judge, appointed by the County Executive; a civilian who is not a member of an administrative charging committee, appointed by the Police Accountability Board; and a police officer of equal rank to the accused officer, appointed by the Chief of Police that employs the officer subject to the complaint
  • Why will there be multiple Trial Boards?
    A separate trial board will be convened for each incident and only when requested by the officer.

Complaint Process

PAB Complaint Process Flow Chart

Helpful Documents

For questions and/or feedback email PABcomments@aacounty.org

 

Meeting Schedule

Full Calendar