Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Prince George’s Forms Police Reform Task Force

Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks announced Friday the creation of a police reform task force that will review department strategies and hiring and use-of-force policies.

The group of nearly two dozen will be co-chaired by Circuit Court Judge Maureen Lamasney and Del. Alonzo Washington (D-District 22) of Greenbelt.

“While we have made important strides together as a community to build a responsive, transparent and accountable police department, we realize that there is still more work to be done to address issues that are present in PGPD and in police departments across the nation,” Alsobrooks said in a statement. “I am confident that this group of community advocates and public officials will develop insightful recommendations helping our police department truly become a model for our nation.”

The other members include former county State’s Attorney Glen Ivey, county council President Todd Turner, retired Assistant Sheriff Orlando Barnes, Josephine Mourning, chair of the county’s Southern Christian Leadership Conference, and Krystal Oriadha, co-founder of the LGBTQ Dignity Project.

Earlier in the week, Progressive Maryland’s justice task force released a letter it sent to Alsobrooks’ office outlining a list of demands for police reform, including:

Swiftly and thoroughly investigate all incidents of police wrongdoing.
Deny pay to employees placed on administrative leave after being formally charged with criminal misconduct.
Bring criminal charges against employees separated from the department for disciplinary reasons or violations of general orders.

County Executive Alsobrooks and the County Council must take a firm and sustained stance that denounces racism, discrimination, unlawful use of force and other injustices,” Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland, said in a statement. The proactive measures put forth in these demands are a start at ending these practices and giving Prince Georgians the police department they expect and deserve.”

Alsobrookstask force was established on June 18 after a nearly 100-page report became public, showing that white county police officers allegedly used racial slurs and retaliatory methods against fellow Black and Latino officers, often without punishment, while Blacks and Latinos were transferred to other offices for speaking out against unjust behavior.

Hours after the report’s release, police Chief Hank Stawinski resigned.

The next day, Alsobrooks announced Assistant Police Chief Hector Velez would serve as interim chief during a national search for a new leader of the department of more than 1,600 officers and civilian employees.

After a comprehensive study and review of the police department, the task force will submit a report with recommendations to the county executive by Oct. 30.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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