Media Contact

Meredith Curtis Goode,, 443-310-9946

November 17, 2021

STATEWIDE, MD – Maryland communities have demanded real change to realize police accountability for many years, and with continued community pressure and the National uprising after the murder of George Floyd, the General Assembly finally achieved a good start through victories this past session, including the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021. Yet these recent victories can be jeopardized and undermined through local police union collective bargaining (CBA) agreements being negotiated before the new law’s July 1, 2022 effective date.

That is why the 95+ organizations of the Maryland Coalition for Justice and Police Accountability are calling for local jurisdictions to commit to ensuring that any CBA entered into prior to the effective date does not undermine or delay the reforms of the disciplinary process contained in that legislation, and does not bargain away management rights with respect to discipline that should be matters of police policy, adopted with full transparency and public input.

When state policymakers repealed the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and passed the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021, they sent a clear message about the urgent need for more community involvement in the investigation and discipline of police officers accused of misconduct, and sought to remove unwarranted impediments to effective administrative discipline of police officers who commit misconduct.

The MPAA establishes a new disciplinary framework that creates new administrative charging committees, police accountability boards, and amends the makeup of trial boards. Jurisdictions like Montgomery County and Baltimore County have  already entered into new bargaining agreements prior to the effective date, with language that replicates parts of the prior LEOBR and will unconscionably delay some of these changes from taking effect and undermine the work of the General Assembly to reform policing in Maryland and gives the impression that police supersede. That result must be avoided for all other jurisdictions in Maryland.

With police officer contract negotiations currently under way in Baltimore City, MCJPA calls on Baltimore City to ensure that the new contract aligns with the letter and spirit of the MPAA. We remind contract negotiators in Baltimore City - and in other Maryland jurisdictions - that justice delayed is justice denied. Writing contracts that delay the implementation of the MPAA denies Marylanders the justice that the MPAA promises to deliver.

With the repeal of the LEOBR, issues that were previously mandatory subjects of collective bargaining in the Baltimore police union contract, like the composition of trial boards, and whether trial boards have the final say in the punishment to be imposed, are now no longer mandatory subjects, and are either proscribed in the MPAA, or matters of management discretion.

The MPAA creates new opportunities for community input in these disciplinary decisions. That is why the MCJPA believes that those issues, and the other details of the investigatory process that are not mandated in the MPAA, should be policy decisions for police departments – only adopted after an opportunity for public review and input – and not decided behind closed doors as part of CBA negotiations.