In April 2021, the Maryland General Assembly passed comprehensive legislation titled the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. Among other things, this legislation includes the establishment of a Police Accountability Board (PAB) within each county across the State. The Prince George’s County Police Accountability Board is mandated to provide independent oversight to law enforcement agencies and make recommendations to improve policing and ensure greater accountability of law enforcement officers in the County. The PAB is responsible for evaluating police departments’ disciplinary processes regarding complaints of police misconduct that involve a police officer and a member of the public. The PAB seeks to identify any trends within policing, and recommend the creation of new, or modify existing, policies and procedures that will help to ensure greater police accountability and, thus, improve the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
HOW MANY MEMBERS ARE ON THE PAB
The Prince George’s County PAB is comprised of eleven members. Six members, including the chair, are appointed by the County Executive and five members are appointed by the County Council.
WHAT ARE THE TERMS OF THE BOARD MEMBERS?
PAB member term is four years. Board members can serve no more than two consecutive terms.
WHAT ARE THE DUTIES OF THE PAB?
The statutory duties of the PAB include the following:
- Hold quarterly meetings with law enforcement agency heads and otherwise work with the law enforcement agencies and local government to improve police services;
- On (at least) a quarterly basis, review the disciplinary outcomes of matters submitted to the Board by the Administrative Charging Committee and Administrative Hearing Boards;
- At least once a year on or before December 31, submit a report to the County Executive and County Council that (1) analyzes the outcomes of all disciplinary matters, (2) identifies any trends from the disciplinary processes of the law enforcement agencies, and (3) where appropriate, makes recommendations for increased police accountability and improved policing;
- Appoint two (2) civilian members to the Administrative Charging Committee;
- Appoint one or more civilian members to the Administrative Hearing Board(s) in the County;
- Receive complaints of police misconduct filed by members of the public, and within three (3) business days from the date of receipt, forward these complaints to the appropriate law enforcement agency for investigation;
- Maintain its records and establish a record retention schedule in accordance with State law;
- Maintain confidentiality relating to all matters before the PAB; and
- Otherwise abide by all Federal, State and County laws, and develop rules of procedure not inconsistent with such laws.
In addition to its statutory duties, the PAB should also consider the following policies and procedures:
- Meet periodically with members of the public and community leaders to discuss the details of its annual report(s) and respond to any inquiries about policing in the County; and
- Attend town halls and other significant community events in which police-related matters are discussed.
- Attend training as deemed necessary by the PAB chair or as directed by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission. Training may include but is not limited Use of Force Training, Grand Jury Training, and Judgment Enhancement Training.
DOES THE PAB FOLLOW THE LAWS OF THE OPEN MEETINGS ACT?
Yes. The PAB is required to comply with the Open Meetings Act.
ARE MEMBERS OF THE PAB COMPENSATED?
Yes. The PAB members are compensated based on an hourly rate for time spend performing the statutory and discretionary duties of the PAB.
ARE POLICE OFFICERS PERMITTED TO SERVE ON THE PAB?
An active police officer is not permitted to be on the PAB under State law. However, retired, or former officers may serve on the Board.