MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. - Montgomery County is working to build the next generation of police officers. Council members just signed a new bill to help recruit and retain talent.
The county hopes this Community Informed Police Training Act will help reimagine public safety and rebuild trust with law enforcement.
The legislation is a collaboration between the Montgomery County Police Department and local educational partners like Montgomery College.
The new bill requires 30 hours of training for cadets where they will learn to better understand racial equity and social justice. They'll study policing history as well as active listening and conflict resolution, and civic engagement.
Montgomery County is one of the most diverse places in the nation and Councilmember Will Jawando says the officers serving the community need to reflect that.
Jawando says the main goal of the Community Informed Police Training Act is bridge the gap between police and the local residents and to ensure people feel safe.
"We are at a moment now where we are reasking and appropriately reasking the question, what do we want the role of police to be? What should they do in our society? I think we’ve asked them to do too much, and I think many police officers agree with that," Councilmember Jawando explained. "We’ve asked them to be counselors, mental health therapists, and deal with people experiencing homelessness. They’re not trained to do those things, and then we haven’t invested in those resources as a society to have other trained professionals step up."
Jawando hopes this bill will serve as a model and can be built upon in the future.