Maryland State Police will soon begin accepting applications for a new commissioner position that could lead to the creation of a new, fully independent watchdog agency to oversee the state’s police force.
The state legislature is scheduled to consider the proposal in early June, but some lawmakers have already voiced concerns about the potential for corruption in the new position.
Maryland State Police Commissioner Timothy Neely was appointed in January, replacing former police commissioner Patrick Lynch.
The state’s attorney general is also expected to appoint a new police commissioner, who is expected to oversee investigations and oversight.
Marylanders are entitled to have two independent political parties represented on their legislature, but a nonpartisan watchdog agency could be necessary to enforce those rules.
Marylands police and fire commissioners, for example, are appointed by the governor and have to be confirmed by a two-thirds majority vote of both chambers of the General Assembly.
The police and firefighter commissioner positions are elected by the voters, and the lieutenant governor, the governor’s chief of staff, and other top officials hold political office.
The inspector general of the state is appointed by a state legislature, and his or her office reviews complaints and investigations against police and firefighters and is charged with overseeing the agency.
The office has been tasked with investigating allegations of police misconduct and corruption.
Under Maryland law, a person who is appointed as a commissioner must be a “registered” political party.
However, state law does not require a commissioner to be registered as a political party until the commissioner is approved by a special legislative committee that meets for a three-day period in a special session.
The special committee is required to be nonpartisan and nonpolitical.
If approved by the committee, the commissioner’s appointment will be confirmed.
Under state law, the state must appoint a commissioner by the close of business on Tuesday, June 7.
If the special committee finds that the commissioner violated state election laws, the office of the commissioner will have three days to file a lawsuit.
If Maryland voters approve the commissioner position, the new commissioner would be the first elected state official to be elected with a Democratic majority in the General House and the first person to be appointed to that position since the creation in 1997 of the Democratic Legislative Advisory Committee (DLAC).
Maryland’s attorney generals office is the only law enforcement agency to have a Democratic governor and two Democrats on its board.
The DLAC is a bipartisan committee of legislators appointed by both parties.
In April, Maryland became the first state in the nation to create a new political party, the Democratic Party of Maryland, and that party is required by state law to submit candidates to the general election.
Marysville Mayor Stephen Stoddard, the DLC’s chairman, said he was disappointed that the new commission would not be comprised of Democrats.
“We have a very strong Democratic majority, but it doesn’t mean we have to accept Democrats as members of the commission,” Stoddards said in a press conference.
“Our party is very inclusive.
I’m hopeful the commissioner and other commissioners will have a great partnership with us to ensure that Maryland’s political parties are inclusive.”
In a statement to Time, Maryland State Attorney General Brian Frosh said that he had not spoken to any party leaders about the appointment.
He said he believed that “the majority of our commissioners are qualified for the job,” adding that it was important to be inclusive and nonpartisan.
Frosh’s office also announced it was launching a special commission to investigate corruption within the state police.
In March, a state judge dismissed an internal affairs investigation into allegations of excessive force against an officer.
The inspector general’s office will conduct the investigation.
Maryloneys political party has said it does not intend to make any formal announcement until the DRLAC is complete.