Police use of force policies under review in Montgomery Co.

Montgomery County, Maryland, is still working to select a new police chief, but that process hasn’t slowed the business of shaping departmental policy.

“We are in the process of revising our ‘use of force’ policy,” Acting Chief Marcus Jones told the County Council on Tuesday.

For example, there is currently no departmental rule that requires officers to report potential abuse by fellow officers. That could soon change.

Jones said the department is looking to implement policies with which “officers actually have to report out when they see those sights of excessive force that should be brought to a supervisor’s attention.”

What happens when an officer witnesses citizen abuse by another officer, but doesn’t take action to stop it? Assistant Chief Dave Anderson said department work performance standards rules could potentially be applied for disciplinary action, or even criminal prosecution.

The use of force issue was part of an information-gathering, brainstorming session in anticipation of Council Chair Nancy Navarro’s introduction of legislation to create an official definition for “community policing” that might also include best practices.

“I appreciate council President Navarro noting the difference in definition as it relates to community policing,” Jones said.

“Many people have different perceptions and realities of what community policing actually is.”

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