‘If you’re law enforcement and you commit crimes, your pension will be at risk,’ Maryland Lawmakers Push To Revoke Pensions Of Convicted Officers

Maryland State Police officers line up for their graduation. Photo by Maryland GovPics via Flickr.

What’s happening?

Two Maryland lawmakers—state Sen. Jill P. Carter (D-Baltimore) and Del. Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery County)—plan to reintroduce legislation that would allow the Maryland Office of the Attorney General to revoke a portion or all of a law enforcement officer’s pension following a felony conviction, Julie Scharper reports for the Baltimore Banner. Both Carter and Wilkins supported a similar bill last year, but it ultimately failed to pass. 

Why are lawmakers calling for this law again?

Carter and Wilkins are pushing for the legislation after news that a state parks officer would begin receiving a $94,500 annual pension even though he’s currently jailed and awaiting trial on rape charges. 

“We need to send the message that if you’re a law enforcement officer and you commit crimes when you are on duty, your pension will be at risk,” Wilkins said.

Government agencies are often required to pay significant settlements to victims of police misconduct, and the two lawmakers said the bills they plan to sponsor will allow governments to recoup some of those costs. Elected officials and high-ranking state employees are already barred from collecting their pensions if they’re convicted of a felony while in office.

Anything else I should know? 

Last year, Maryland passed a landmark police accountability law, which may have contributed to the previous pension bill’s failure, according to Carter. Clyde Boatwright, the president of the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police, urged state lawmakers to wait on the results of the accountability bill before moving forward with the pension laws. 

You can read more here.

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