Police organization blasts Montgomery Co. use-of-force policy

An organization representing 1,200 Montgomery County, Maryland, police officers called legislation restricting use of force “extremely flawed” and said the council bill would make it “difficult to protect the health and safety of law enforcement,” as well as the public.

In a statement on the organization’s website, Lee Holland, corporate vice president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 35, called for a veto of the legislation and complained the council engaged in a “closed-door process.”

The statement said that members’ voices were “muzzled” by the legislative process, although Holland testified before the council’s Public Safety Committee on July 9.

Holland said three letters submitted to Council President Sidney Katz were not included in the legislative packet on the bill.

The bill passed by the county council prohibits or limits police from using “carotid restraints,” known commonly as chokeholds, bars police from striking a restrained person and shooting at or from a moving vehicle. The bill also restricts the use of no-knock warrants.

The FOP argues the bill limits an officer’s ability to investigate crimes and creates different standards for use of force that could delay an officer’s ability to make split-second decisions “causing potential deadly consequences.”

The bill also allows the use of force policy changes to go into effect without being subject to collective bargaining by the police union.

The county council passed the legislation 9-0.

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