Given recent events in our country, it is time for Maryland to consider updating its law regarding police rights, the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

This law has enabled regressive policing throughout the state, most notably in Baltimore. There is something wrong with a law that prevents a police commissioner or chief from taking adverse personnel actions against officers who have engaged in unprofessional behavior, but that is precisely what LEOBOR does.

Unlike jurisdictions in Texas, Minnesota, Florida and Georgia, where bad cops can be fired immediately, Maryland’s law makes such actions impossible, leaving decisions in the hands of a police union review board instead of police leadership, where such decisions belong.

Reasonable people can debate whether the actions of the police officers involved in the death of Freddie Gray were criminal, but it was clear their actions were contrary to normal procedure and subject to termination for cause. In any other state, they would have been fired, but in Maryland, thanks to LEOBOR, they are back on the job. That is a disgrace, and the General Assembly needs to address this embarrassing law in the upcoming session if the state wants to regain public trust in law enforcement.

Then-Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake (D) warned the General Assembly about the corrosive nature of this law on the public trust, but she was ignored. The time has come for the state legislature to heed her warning and repeal LEOBOR.

Brad Schwartz, Olney