A law enforcement reform subcommittee approved its first round of recommendations to increase police accountability.
The Law Enforcement Accountability Task Force Transparency and Accountability subcommittee finally came to an agreement on a list of recommendations to send to the task force as a whole.
Much of the subcommittee expressed frustration at its failure to agree on a set of recommendations for over 8 months. Haneef Salaam, a criminal justice reform advocate was among them.
“People’s lives are on the line, communities are hollering and screaming for us to do something and we can’t even get a recommendation out,” said Salaam.
The task force chair, State Rep. Franklin Cooke (D-New Castle), addressed those concerns.
“I don’t think we’re dragging — I don’t think no body in here would raise their hand and say 'Franklin, we're dragging.' I don’t think we’re dragging, I think we peeling back the onions,” said Cooke.
Much of the debate centered on two proposals, overhauling the Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights and creating a disciplinary database.
State Sen. Brian Pettyjohn (R-Georgetown) and Fred Calhoun from the Fraternal Order of Police opposed overhauling the entire bill of rights, saying review is needed, but overhaul is a step too far.
The task force also agreed to create an additional recommendation, ensuring there would be two law enforcement disciplinary databases.
One would be internal to law enforcement, for hiring and personnel decisions, and the other would be an anonymized, public facing database, to help researchers and regular people hold police departments accountable.
Roman Battaglia a corps member with Report for America, a national service program that places journalists into local newsrooms.