A new law in Maryland opens to the public more police disciplinary records.
According to a Nov. 24, 2021, report in The Washington Post, the new law has left police departments scrambling to respond to new records requests.
Advocates for open records and police accountability applaud the law.
“The inability to obtain records in police misconduct cases leads to an erosion of trust in the police, and erosion of police legitimacy, and all of that makes it more difficult for the police to do their job,” Philip M. Stinson, a criminologist at Bowling Green State University in Ohio, told The Post. “Because if people don’t have trust and faith in their local police departments, they aren’t going to cooperate with law enforcement, they aren’t going to respect law enforcement officers.”
Stinson said that in New York, Illinois and other places where misconduct records have become more accessible, fears of officers being harassed have not come to pass.