About

County Executive Calvin Ball established the Police Accountability Board (PAB) in February 2022. When fully operational, the board will work with law enforcement agencies to review outcomes of complaint investigations, policy, and determine trends that could improve policing.

Comprised of seven voting members, consisting of two at-large members, and one from each of the five councilmanic districts, Board member responsibilities include:

  • 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 (Maryland Public Safety Code Ann. § 3-102)

The Police Accountability Board officially began its work on July 1, 2022. Any citizen complaints after July 1, 2022, will be referred to PAB for review.

Complaints may be submitted directly to the Howard County public safety agency, Howard County Police Department, or the Howard County Sheriff’s Office. Complaints may also be sent to the Board directly through an online complaint form.

Questions about the complaint process or board operations can be sent to Keyonna Kinsler, Police Accountability Board Liaison by email at  [email protected]

Board Information
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Meeting Dates and Agendas
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Meeting Videos
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Police Accountability Board Meeting 9/14/2022

Police Accountability Board Meeting 9/8/2022

Police Accountability Board Meeting 8/24/2022

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Board Members
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  • Nellie Hutt, Chair, At-Large
  • Brenda McChriston, At-Large
  • Herman Charity, District 1
  • Arnettia Wyre, District 2
  • Ricardo Morales, District 3
  • Paul Rivers, District 4
  • James Gormley, District 5
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
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What is the Police Accountability Board?
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The Police Accountability Board (PAB) is a citizen board that is comprised of seven voting members: two at-large members, and one from each of the five councilmanic districts. The board was enacted as part of the police accountability and discipline process enacted by the legislature as stated in the Maryland Police Accountability Act of 2021 which replaces the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

In Howard County, County Executive Calvin Ball established the Police Accountability Board (PAB) in February 2022. The board will work with law enforcement agencies to review outcomes of complaint investigations, review policy, and determine trends that could improve policing and otherwise works with law enforcement agencies in the county government to improve matters of policing. The Board will also provide a yearly report to the County Council on its activities and will meet with a youth representative two times per year.

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What are the main responsibilities of the Howard County Police Accountability Board?
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  • 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 (Maryland Public Safety Code Ann. § 3-102)
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What will the process for handling complaints of police misconduct look like?
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Starting July 1, 2022, the PAB or Law Enforcement agency receives a misconduct complaint from the public. Complaints may be sent anonymously. These complaints are then sent to the Law Enforcement Agency for investigation.

Upon completion of the investigation, the Law Enforcement Agency forwards the investigatory file to the Administrative Charging Committee, which reviews the file and determines whether to charge the officer.

  • If the officer/deputy is NOT charged, meaning the allegations are unfounded or the officer is exonerated, the Administrative Charging Committee will issue a written opinion detailing findings, determinations, and recommendations.
  • If the officer/deputy IS charged, the Administrative Charging Committee will still issue a written opinion detailing findings, determinations, and disciplinary recommendations.
  • The Chief of Police or Sheriff then offers discipline recommended by the Administrative Charging Committee or a higher level according to the state-created disciplinary matrix. The Chief or Sheriff may not issue a lesser level of discipline.
  • The officer or deputy then has the option to accept the discipline or have the matter referred to a Trial Board for a hearing.
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Will the Police Accountability Board follow the laws of the Open Meetings Act?
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Yes. The legislation requires the Police Accountability Board to comply with the Open Meetings Act.

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What are the terms of members on the PAB?
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The membership terms are staggered for 1, 2, and 3 years.

One (1) appointee shall have a term of one (1) year, two (2) appointees shall have a term of two years, and two (2) appointees, one of which shall be the chairperson, shall have a term of three years, as provided in the Resolutions that confirm the appointments, which shall become effective July 1, 2022

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Are police officers permitted on the PAB?
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No. 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.

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What was the appointment process for members?
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The County Executive invited eligible and interested parties to apply for consideration with confirmation of appointments by the County Council.

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How are members of the Administrative Charging Committee and Trial Board chosen?
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Members of the Administrative Charging Committee and Trial Boards are appointed by the Police Accountability Board and by the County Executive. State law requires the Police Accountability Board to appoint two (2) members to the Administrative Charging Committee and one (1) to the Trial Board.

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How are discipline decisions made by this Administrative Charging Committee?
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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.

(1) Each category is defined, along with example violations.

(2) Three penalty levels are included in each category which are based on the number of similar violations in a specified period of time.

(3) A disciplinary range is used for assessing the recommended discipline.

(4) 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.

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Who maintains the Disciplinary Matrix and where is it kept?
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The Disciplinary Matrix will be maintained and published by the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission on its public website.

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What is the role of the Trial Board?
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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 Sherriff is appealed by an officer.

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How many members will be on the Trial Board?
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 A trial board must be composed of the following participants;

(1) an actively serving or retired administrative law judge or a retired judge of the District Court or a circuit court, appointed by the chief executive officer of the county;

(2) a civilian who is not a member of an administrative charging committee, appointed by the county’s police accountability board; and

(3) a police officer (or deputy in the Sheriff’s Department) of equal rank to the person who is accused of misconduct, appointed by the head of the law enforcement agency.

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Why will there be multiple Trial Boards?
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A separate trial board will be convened for each incident and only when requested by the officer or deputy.

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What is required for complaints filed with the Board?
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Maryland Public Safety Code Ann. § 3-102 (c) requires the following information for Public Accountability Board complaints.

A complaint of police misconduct filed with a police accountability board shall include:

(i) the name of the police officer accused of misconduct;

(ii) a description of the facts on which the complaint is based; and

(iii) contact information of the complainant or a person filing on behalf of the complainant for investigative follow-up.

(2) A complaint need not be notarized.

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Can complaints to the Police Accountability Board be filed anonymously?
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No. As per Maryland Public Safety Code Ann. § 3-102 (c)(iii) all complaints must contain the “contact information of the complainant or a person filing on behalf of the complainant for investigative follow-up.”

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How long does the Board have to submit complaints to a law enforcement agency for investigation?
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Maryland Public Safety Code Ann. § 3-102 (d) requires that “a complaint of police misconduct filed with a police accountability board shall be forwarded to the appropriate law enforcement agency within 3 days after receipt by the board.”

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Can complaints include photos or videos?
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The PAB’s Complaint Form portal cannot accept photos or videos. However, the complaint form can note in the Incident Information under the summary of the incident that there are photos or videos that support the complaint. This information will be requested as part of the investigative process from the law enforcement agency.

 

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