ANNAPOLIS — During a time when law enforcement personnel are scrutinized for police shootings, tampering with evidence in certain cases and other unlawful behavior, Maryland personnel received recognition Thursday in Annapolis.
Personnel and officers from state police, sheriff’s offices, park police and other local law enforcement agencies heard two words inside and outside the State House: “thank you.”
Sen. Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-District 27), who represents portions of Calvert, Charles and Prince George’s counties, shared a laugh with several law enforcement officials outside the Senate chamber.
“I’ll see you guys later. Thank you, guys,” he said to several of them including Prince George’s County Sheriff Melvin C. High.
“American law enforcement serves our communities in a very high, excellent way. We all need a pat on the back every now and again,” Miller said. “Law enforcement appreciation day is about … recognizing the important work law enforcement does to ensure we have a great, civil society to recognize the best in America.”
Thursday marked National Law Enforcement Appreciation Day, which began in 2015, one year after a white police officer shot and killed Michael Brown Jr., an unarmed Black teenager, in Ferguson, Missouri.
Race relations and communication with residents and police officers have become strained, especially in minority communities nationwide.
In Maryland, legislation will be reintroduced in regard to Anton’s Law, named after Anton Black, a Black teenager from Caroline County who died in September 2018 while in police custody.
Del. Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery County) introduced the bill last year. One of the three aspects would be to create a citizen complaint process that would require law enforcement to share information and documentation from current and previous police-involved incidents.
Some of those topics could be discussed Thursday afternoon before a law enforcement officers work group before the House Judiciary Committee.
Del. Michael A. Jackson (D-District 27B), who represents parts of Prince George’s and Calvert counties, pursues to balance law enforcement and citizens rights. He’s one of the few state lawmakers who worked in law enforcement as a former sheriff in Prince George’s and now as the county’s deputy director of homeland security.
“It’s pretty challenging for us in these halls here when you look at the amount of legislation that involves around public safety and law enforcement,” he said. “I am reared in the belief this is the greatest country on Earth. That’s why it is imperative to have a relationship with the public. We have that, things will be better for everybody.”