We need to reimagine policing starting from a national level. Our nation has over 18,000 policing agencies but no national standards for training those that police the public. Knees to the neck and chokeholds are still legal in some areas despite their well-publicized and often catastrophic impacts. Policies and procedures can differ from state to state, county to county, and city to city. We’re asking law enforcement officer to take on tasks that are outside of their training and expertise, tasks often suited better for social workers and therapists. I grew up in a family of officers and witnessed firsthand that many have been given a bad name based on the actions of a few bad apples. As a nation we spend $119 billion yearly on police, $81 billion on corrections, and $49 billion on courts. In Maryland, we spend $813 per capita on policing and corrections. That’s almost $500 more than the national average. A public health approach with national standards will provide desperately needed reforms, not just in Maryland, but throughout the nation.
- Propose legislation to fund the nation’s first non-profit prison. 83% of incarcerated individuals will recidivate within nine years. In this plan all net revenues from federal and state contracts will be reinvested in resident safety, programming, education, healthcare and staff development. The plan also secures a balanced approach of safety, mutual respect and supportive rehabilitation that will enhance existing security protocols, reduce violence and encourage self-improvement. Re-entry preparation will begin on day one of incarceration reducing the trend of recidivism and providing long lasting social and financial benefits to society at large.
- Introduce legislation that provides a national standard for training law enforcement officers. Through training and education, we will ensure all citizens and guests of our nation equal and fair treatment by law enforcement agencies. I will work with the Federal Bureau of Investigations to develop and implement a national level training program with recommendations from social and mental health professionals, as well as law enforcement agencies across the nation.
- Support community policing. This is achieved through forming a partnership between the community and those that police it with dignity and respect.
- Declare war on poverty. Poverty is the root cause of nearly every problem that takes place in society. A little more than 9% of Marylanders live below the poverty line, more than half a million people. Poverty is what drives crime and inequalities, as most living at or below poverty are the minority population. We need to reassess our policies and procedures to combat this very solvable problem.