Montgomery County Police Audit: Data collection is ‘woefully inadequate’.
“The MCPD [Montgomery County Police Department] is a high-performing organization,” the report concludes. “Yet, like all successful organizations, there are not only opportunities for improvement, but continuous improvement is essential to keep pace with ever-changing environmental circumstances and public expectations.”
The county hired an outside consulting firm specializing in public safety, Effective Law Enforcement for All, to audit the department’s policies and practices. The audit is just one of many steps the county and jurisdictions across the country have taken to try to change policing.
Police Shooting Database: Records of every fatal shooting in the United States by a police officer since 2015
The report highlighted “major gaps in data collection and analysis”. He also said that “inadequate data hampers any understanding of the real issues around use of force incidents” and recommended making use of force data public.
“MCPD’s systems for tracking and classifying uses of force, [Crisis Intervention Team] responses and calls for service are outdated and woefully inadequate in relation to departmental needs, generally accepted practices and the public’s demand for transparency,” the report states.
Police officials said better data tools are on the way.
“The Montgomery County Police Department is in the process of being procured for a new records management system, which will allow for the implementation of multiple datasets,” they wrote in a letter that was part of the audit. published on Friday.
The larger report highlighted highlights of the ministry’s work.
Crisis counselors are hailed as alternatives to the police. It’s too heavy a burden, some say.
“There was excellent handling of domestic violence service calls; officers used appropriate de-escalation when necessary and were empathetic, well-trained and knowledgeable,” the report said.
Listeners watched more than 500 video recordings taken by officers’ body cameras that showed them interacting with residents. “Most officers were courteous and friendly when handling service calls and traffic stops,” the audit said, adding that “there was no indication of racial bias in the [body camera] incidents observed. However, among the randomly examined traffic stops [body camera] sample, most interactions included people of color.
David Douglass, an official with Effective Law Enforcement for All, said Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones has adopted a detailed review of its operations and is open to suggestions and recommendations. Speaking directly to him at a press conference on Friday, Douglass told Jones: “You’ve accepted this, you’ve taken it in, you’ve made everyone available to us. You’re a partner with us.
The police department has already made some changes based on the preliminary audit findings released earlier. Some of those changes include the decision to hire “a civilian PhD, to oversee the police training program” and “to lead the development of law enforcement training materials, as recommended by the audit.”
At a press conference Friday, County Executive Marc Elrich (D) noted that the decision to have the audit done predated the murder of George Floyd, who was killed by Minneapolis police.
“This decision to go in this direction was made before George Floyd,” Elrich said. “We didn’t wake up when George Floyd arrived.”
In his letter addressing the audit, Elrich added that the county must continue to expand its efforts to address mental health issues.
“Too often, law enforcement has had to deal with situations that society has failed to resolve. My administration has invested in the continued expansion of mobile crisis and outreach teams,” he wrote. “These teams have increased calls that receive a mental health provider only or a joint response from the mental health provider and law enforcement. In 2020, MCOTs responded to 495 service calls. In 2021, that number has grown to 979. This expansion will continue and shift to more responses reserved for mental health professionals.
External Audit Reveals Shortcomings in Key Areas of Montgomery County Police
The auditors concluded that the department’s Crisis Response Team unit “does not use data or analytics to inform strategy or operations. His work has been described as being “responsive” to incoming calls and recommendations. »
Auditors also looked at Internal Affairs investigations into incidents where officers used force.
“Revise the MCPD’s use of lethal force investigation policies and protocols to require a prompt, separate, and parallel administrative investigation of each shooting involving an officer, and to require the preparation of a report documenting the findings of the investigation,” said one of the suggestions. “This would be an improvement over the current SAI administrative report.”