Sheriff Jenkins

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins

Members of the Frederick County Council pushed Sheriff Chuck Jenkins at a meeting this week on police practices in the wake of police-involved killings of Black Americans in other parts of the country.

Council President M.C. Keegan-Ayer (D) invited the sheriff to a council session Tuesday night to address his department’s practices and policies, but the conversation strayed to national issues surrounding police.

The meeting was tense at times and, early on, the discussion turned to a debate on policing across the country. Topics ranged from use of force to racial bias training.

Councilman Kai Hagen (D) and Jenkins (R) disagreed over how to describe the death of George Floyd, a Black man who died in Minneapolis on May 25 after a white police officer pressed his knee against Floyd’s neck until he couldn’t breathe, according to Associated Press reports.

Hagen called Floyd’s death a murder, while Jenkins stopped short of saying so, though he said the way Floyd died was an “egregious, unreasonable, excessive use of force, unnecessary force.”

Jenkins also disagreed that there is systemic racism in policing, while Hagen felt its existence was undeniable.

“Policing practices and policies were called into question in every law enforcement agency in the country, including here locally, were basically, unfairly I think, unfairly blamed and severely scrutinized for what were termed as racial injustices and systemic racism in policing,” Jenkins said.

In a subsequent interview, Jenkins said he believes there are officers in the country who develop biases and prejudices throughout their career. He noted that potential hires to the sheriff’s office are evaluated by a psychiatrist/psychologist to see whether the person has an existing bias or tendency to profile people, so they can be “weeded out” before they are hired.

While Hagen said much of the information Jenkins provided to the council was helpful, he said the sheriff had multiple opportunities to acknowledge systemic racism exists in the country, or Frederick County, but failed to do so.

Council Vice President Michael Blue (R) and Councilman Steve McKay (R), however, said there are racist officers in law enforcement, but that they are not emblematic of greater systemic issues.

“I don’t believe there is systemic racism in law enforcement, I think there are bad people in all professions … Doctors kill people all the time, but we’re not talking about defunding hospitals,” Blue said. “I think there needs to be more respect afforded to law enforcement.”

Jenkins said deputies are taught to treat Frederick County residents the way they’d want their loved ones to be treated, regardless of who they are.

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater (D) pointed to the number of Black residents FCSO deputies used force against in 2019 — about one-third of use of force incidents — calling it a disparity when compared to the 10.7 percent population of Black residents in the county.

Jenkins cautioned those who examine statistics to consider the individual’s criminality and their propensity to act, rather than other defining factors such as race. He also asked that council members consider what it’s like to stare down the barrel of a firearm and how quickly police need to act.

Jenkins called for increased support of police, in contrast to a call by some groups across the country to “defund police.”

“It shouldn’t be defund police, it should be defend police and fund the police,” Jenkins said.

While some groups across the country call for a ban on chokeholds, Jenkins said Frederick County deputies aren’t trained to use them. The exception for use is a life-or-death struggle, he said.

When deadly force is used, FCSO undergoes a thorough internal administrative review of the incident to see if policies were followed, concurrent with the criminal investigation, which is then handed off to the Frederick County State’s Attorney’s Office to consider prosecuting.

Each use of force by deputies is “thoroughly reviewed” and documented by the sheriff’s office, according to Jenkins. Out of roughly 132,000 police contacts with the public in 2019, Jenkins said 74 resulted in use of force.

At the meeting, Jenkins and his staff also spoke to anti-discrimination training, militarization of police, no-knock warrants, training on how to interact with people who have developmental disabilities, and the law enforcement accreditation process, among other issues.

Citizens Advisory Committee: What is it?

Council members and the sheriff’s office also discussed the citizens advisory committee, a roughly 10-person body whose members are approved by Jenkins after the committee votes to fill a slot, he said.

Blue currently sits on that committee, and maintains its functions and composition are misunderstood. The committee is meant to be a “sounding board” for the sheriff’s office, and to plan annual banquets and other fundraising events for the sheriff and office, Blue said.

Some have called for greater oversight of Jenkins’ office, but several county officials have stated he is an elected official, governed by the state constitution. Blue said he would not support a committee with more oversight.

Hagen, however, said additional oversight must be independent of the sheriff himself.

“If you’re going to have some level of citizen engagement and oversight, and you want that to be legitimate and meaningful, you can’t be the one to pick the people and establish the terms — that’s just fundamental,” Hagen said. “It’s not an enforcement thing … [but] if he feels so certainly that he’s doing everything with the utmost transparency … why wouldn’t he support an advisory commission that had guaranteed access to certain kinds of information?”

McKay would need to hear more about the nature of the committee, including how it was established. And it could require a change to state law, he added.

“The question starts with the presumption that the committee has an oversight role, and that’s what I don’t know, and I didn’t really hear any indication that it was,” McKay said.

“The sheriff is an elected officer, and so ultimately, the oversight is the ballot,” he added.

Fitzwater suggested during the meeting that more information should be made more easily accessible on how to apply to the committee, who can serve on it and other details.

Blue supported that suggestion but added that the committee itself consists of a diverse group of individuals, representative of the entire Frederick County community.

However, Hagen said the sheriff picking its members is still a core issue.

“If you look around [the country], you can see a variety of different models for how these things are done … but we know there are ways it can be done,” Hagen said.

Jenkins, in an interview, said he does not anticipate making changes to the sheriff’s office training or policies based purely on the council’s feedback from the Tuesday meeting but said the department will continue to try to improve and seek training opportunities.

“No, I don’t think we’re perfect,” Jenkins said, “but I think we do pretty damn well.”

Follow Mary Grace Keller on Twitter: @MaryGraceKeller 

Steve Bohnel is the county government reporter for the Frederick News-Post. He can be reached at sbohnel@newspost.com. He graduated from Temple University, with a journalism degree in May 2017, and is a die-hard Everton F.C. fan.

(58) comments

huskycats

You didn't answer my question Purple. Are you doing anything to help your people?

huskycats

No, that's not C.D.'s point. He quoted statistics. Every day you hear about black on black shooting and what about innocent babies being shot in their strollers, that happened several times recently, but you'd rather look the other way, not talk about that and call someone a racist. YOU are the problem, how about trying to do something about this instead of ignoring it. Yeah, I know, I'm a racist now too, right?

PurplePickles aka L&M

@huskycats.

It’s frightening how well you know CD and yourself, there’s really nothing to add ???

phydeaux994

DM(not CD), doesn’t mention that after slavery ended Blacks in America were funneled into the inner Cities as they moved North with no education, no jobs, lousy housing and no opportunity to succeed. Go to the ghettos of any City of the World jammed full of poor hopeless people that prey on each other to survive. What do you think that Black Lives Matter (too) protests are all about? Give them the same opportunities to succeed that you have as a White citizen huskycats and they will succeed. BTW, if you believe that YOUR race, WHATEVER IT IS, is Superior to another race or races, you are a Racist. Look at the definition in any Dictionary. What do you believe huskycats??

C.D.Reid

Fido, it's C.D., not DM. Just how long are you going to continue this farce? And why are you doing it in the first place? Am I really that far burrowed into your head?

phydeaux994

There are no CD Reid’s in FC. You said your Dad was a prominent DR in a particular field at FMH. That was easy to find. He owned a farm in Ceresville, where you said you grew up. He had four sons, none with the initials CD. Only one son, DM Reid now lives in Thurmont @10 E... street. You are 66 according to White Pages. You have lived in AL, SC, and others. You came from wealth, which is not how you have portrayed yourself. I looked it up because I was shocked when you said your Dad was a DR. of means in FC. Too much fits to be coincidence. I like puzzles, especially when I solve them. I was never going to out you but you keep up with the false denials. Peace.✌️😷

NewMarketParent

@huskycats

I will believe that you honestly care about violence when you address domestic terrorism. Until then, you should really learn the fine art of pounding sand.

jth7100

CD's point is that blacks are just more likely to be criminals. It's in their blood I guess. Whites are just more upstanding people and in this completely equal society, you get what you deserve. Nothing is going to penetrate that view.

NewMarketParent

@jth7100

Correct! And if it walks like a white supremacist and talks like a white supremacist...

NewMarketParent

@jth7100

Using that same logic, he is really going to hate the domestic terrorism stats and what they imply.

phydeaux994

They don’t imply anything. RRR(RadicalRightRepublicans) don’t ever watch MSM, or read Left Wing press that report things like RW Terrorism, or the DHS report of the 2020 Election being the most secure in the Nation’s history. That is Fake News. The only TRUTH for them comes out in TRUMP TWEETS and TRUMP RALLIES. 🙈🙉🦧

PurplePickles aka L&M

Fascinating article and it's nice to see that a few members of the County Council are not afraid to hold the sheriff accountable, I will remember that the next time I vote.

I agree with Kai Hagen, ----who said additional oversight must be independent of the sheriff himself....this is common sense, isn't it? Why would you let the foxes guard the hen house? You know the foxes are never going to admit they ate the chickens....

Councilwoman Jessica Fitzwater (D) pointed to the number of Black residents FCSO deputies used force against in 2019 — about one-third of use of force incidents — calling it a disparity when compared to the 10.7 percent population of Black residents in the county. Good for Ms. Fitzwater to point this out....

Jenkins cautioned those who examine statistics to consider the individual’s criminality and their propensity to act, rather than other defining factors such as race. ...what he is really saying and in a less obvious racist way is POC are natural born criminals.

Jenkins is a full on racist and his words prove it.

He also asked that council members consider what it’s like to stare down the barrel of a firearm and how quickly police need to act...I have no problem if there is an actual gun barrel the cops are staring into and they have to make a split second decision to kill or be killed, what I have problem with is when there is no gun barrel anywhere in site and a cop kneels on a POC neck for 8 minutes, or shoots a POC in the back as they are running away, choke hold someone until they die, shoots a little boy for playing with a toy gun OR shoots a young woman dead inside her apartment.

There were no gun barrels they were staring down in the above incidents.

Jenkins deliberately missed the point Ms. Fitzwater was making. Because he if got the point it would be admitting he is a full on racist.

NewMarketParent

@PurplePickles

Trumpkins fully leaned into the fascism and went on Faux News demonizing immigrants and painting this really bleak picture of his own county.

Trumpkins, you leaned in and hooked your caboose to the T Train. It has now crashed. Where the engine goes, the caboose does too.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP

What happened? I looked away for a few minutes and everything just disappeared? I didn't think anyone's comments were that bad ? I guess we won't be having that train wreck today? Sorry folks but it seems the train wreck will be postponed.

NewMarketParent

It is absolutely breathtaking to watch all of these folks who never walked nor tried to walk in the shoes of a POC attempt to deny a problem that does not affect them in any single way is a problem.

These same people are like: "Voter fraud is rampant!"

Comment deleted.
PurplePickles aka L&M

@NMP & Phy

I can't believe that Ren nor Stimpy has replied yet? Maybe they are napping ? I can just picture the two of them curled up together taking a much needed nap....they were a tad riled up this morning.

Comment deleted.
NewMarketParent

@phydeaux994

Is that really their strategy? Is it to garner sympathy because the big bad, smarter liberals attack their horrible arguments, weak strategy and mock them?

Sounds like the turtle defense.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@Phy & NMP

So what I understand from you two is that Ren & Stimpy get so owned by the libs they disappear their own embarrassing comments? Makes sense to me now, that’s a typical Trump supporter for you! And I get called a Snowflake.... lol.

yogib

Well Kai, your comments sure got confirmed, as most of these responses prove your points.

huskycats

It's been quite a while since Jenkins won and you lost Kelly, get over it girl !

C.D.Reid

She'll never get over making a fool of herself, it's ingrained in her persona.

Comment deleted.
Comment deleted.
NewMarketParent

@CDeez

I will believe that when you get rid of your "Benghazi, Never Forget!" tattoo. Don't worry though in the Biden administration we will make all speed bumps of Hillary's emails so that conservatives will never be able to get anywhere.

BetteBrown

There is systemic racism, not only in law enforcement, but throughout our society. Given the evidence, I don't think this should even be a matter of debate. The issue with law enforcement is that they have such a great potential to change or end a life. Teachers and medical professional also have a lot of power to change our lives, for better or for worse, so the systemic racism in those realms is also worrisome. But I don't think it's enough to focus on just one area of life, such as law enforcement, in isolation. Overt, obvious racism is rare now compared to past decades. It's our unconscious (implicit) biases that are causing problems. This is the cause, I think, of the disconnect between those of us calling for change of various types vs those who say "well I'm not racist, I don't care about the color of anyone's skin." Yes, I know. You don't care about skin color, neither do I. But most of us, of all races, do hold and sometimes act on unconscious biases, and when we act on those biases, the negative effects are typically felt most strongly by African American men/boys and other people of color. This becomes apparent when you look at practices and policies the effects of which have actually been studied. For example, (1) the disproportionate use of excessive and lethal force against African American people by law enforcement officers. (Disproportionate means you're looking at a total number of incidents divided by the total number of people of that race in the population -- I'm including this definition only for the people who inevitably will argue using only total number of incidents, without a denominator.) (2) Teachers unintentionally (unconsciously) punishing little boys with dark skin more harshly than other kids, or who expect less from them. (3) Doctors feeling less need for pain meds for people of color vs Caucasians. This should not just be about weeding out people who express overt racism from law enforcement, teaching, medicine, etc. Sure, continue that, of course. But systemic racism is primarily driven by biases we all have but aren't aware of. Here's supporting evidence for my examples above:

https://www.pnas.org/content/116/34/16793

https://www.gao.gov/mobile/products/GAO-18-258

https://www.apa.org/monitor/2016/11/cover-inequality-school

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4829078/

Other aspects of the problem specific to law enforcement would include the common practice of sending armed officers -- who are not, and shouldn't be expected to be, mental health or addiction experts -- to a call where such an expert would be more appropriate and safer to have in the lead.

KarlBickel

[thumbup]

bosco

Systematic racism is just as hard to prove as systematic corruption in the Democratic political machine. Anecdotal information of isolated incidents is not proof. [ninja]

Comment deleted.
C.D.Reid

Hey NewMarketMommy, if you're aware of data and science that conclusively says bosco is wrong, why don't you post it here instead of just stupidly spouting off. Actions speak louder than words so, as the saying goes, "Put up or shut up."

BetteBrown

Did you even bother to look at the sources I cited? It's not anecdotes; it's peer reviewed science. And I had a lot to choose from. -- these are just the ones with the best visual representations of data. I'm guessing you won't look at data because it might conflict with your world view. Cognitive dissonance is real man. Be brave. Face it!

NewMarketParent

@BetteBrown

*narrator* He won't.

BetteBrown

Also, it's systemic not systematic. Important difference. Google it.

NewMarketParent

@BetteBrown

Please keep dropping knowledge on these folks. They hate the light, but they sure do need it.

bosco

For you nit pickers who could never ever possibly post a wrong word, here is my corrected version.

"Systemic racism is just as hard to prove as systemic corruption in the Democratic political machine. Anecdotal information of isolated incidents is not proof."

[ninja]

NewMarketParent

@BetteBrown

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

BetteBrown

Sorry, the Google it was @Bosco

BetteBrown

@NewMarketParent, thank you. Usually I don't even let myself glance at comments on FNP stories. The attitudes ... Yeesh.

NewMarketParent

@BetteBrown

No thanks necessary. People need to continue the good fight and remember that they are on the right side of history.

Some of these people and their attitudes have lived lifetimes being unchallenged to the point where they actually believe their own BS. They put themselves in the Faux News fart bubble where they breath in their own sick until they are good and amped up believing that they are alpha and the omega.

I'm not here for that. My GAF is all out and I am all about taking children to the woodshed.

PurplePickles aka L&M

@BetteBrown

You are always welcome in the sandbox........

petersamuel

BetteBrown You say "Disproportionate means you're looking at a total number of (police) incidents divided by the total number of people of that race in the population." That would make perfect sense if crime rates were similar across the races. But police go where there's crime and crime rates are way higher among blacks than among whites. Take murder. In 2017 the latest year for which there are national statistics by race there were 9458 murder arrests. 5,025 or 53 percent of the arrested perpetrators were black, 4,188 or 44% were white. Blacks are under 14% of the population. Robberies are similar. 40,024 of robberies (54%) were committed by blacks 32,128 (44%) by whites. The murder rate was 17 per million in the white population, but 116 per million in the black population -- 6.8 times as high. Whites committed 129 robberies per million population, blacks 923 per million -- a rate 7.2 times as high. The discrepancies are not as large for most other types of crime, but of 30 types of crime in the FBI breakdown in only three categories (DUI, liquor laws and drunkenness) are white and black crime rates similar. In 27 out of 30 categories of crime black crime rate are higher than white crime rates. Aggregate crimes (all 30 categories) show 27 percent committed by blacks, about twice their share of the population (14%.) Incidents are indeed disproportionate to population, but police incidents are related to crime because cops go work at crime scenes.

Data drawn from here:

https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2017/crime-in-the-u.s.-2017/topic-pages/tables/table-43/

DickD

Peter, have you ever considered cause and effect? If you discriminate and it's obvious, you so discord. Those who are discriminated against know it. They are not getting the fruits of their labor. Worse yet they are relegated to a lower level of living. Naturally, they do whatever they can to survive and that includes crime. The part of the police going to the crimes is just a part of the cause and effect.

petersamuel

DickD: the police issues are a distraction, I agree. The problems are deeper more intractable issues.

DickD

Good comment, Bette. You could also add management in lar corporations, where some Blacks or others of color are not promoted, when they deserve it. Still I am against a quota system, as that is reverse discrimination. As you say education is a part of it, a very important part. We need to make sure ALL young people are as good as they individually can be. When that happens and EVERONE is promoted on their individual worth and abilities, we will finally achieve true integration for all, as money should follow the promotions and education.

mgoose806

Not sure why sheriff Jenkins wastes his time responding to a self promoter. Kai Hagen doesn’t respect law enforcement or Sheriff Jenkins personally. Give him the attention he deserves. NO attention.

C.D.Reid

[thumbup][thumbup][thumbup]

MDchange

Agreed. Hagen is clueless. We should focus on the actions of the few bad cops, but Hagen loses all creditability when he effectively refers to all cops as racists. If he doesn't believe that, then he should clarify his statement... with details.

NewMarketParent

@MDchange

The fish rots from the head. Leadership matters and it sets the tone for the department. If you have leadership that is openly blowing dog-whistles, then that indicates to the department that racism and cruelty are not bugs, they are features. Thank you for coming to my TED talk.

NewMarketParent

@mgoose806

There is this word in the dictionary. It is called C-O-N-S-T-I-T-U-E-N-T. I have spelled it out for you so that you may look it up and educate yourself. You're welcome.

mgoose806

irrelevant= you

NewMarketParent

@mgoose806

But did you look up constituent though?

bnick467

Of course a racist sheriff is going to deny that there is systemic racism among the police forces of the nation.

NewMarketParent

@bnick467

Yup...

I am shocked that there is gambling in this establishment. Absolutely shocked!

C.D.Reid

So, Hagen "said the sheriff had multiple opportunities to acknowledge systemic racism exists in the country, or Frederick County, but failed to do so." In other words, Hagen wants someone to acknowledge something exists even though they don't believe it does, but they should admit it because Hagen believes it does. Why does that guy insist on being such a jerk? He's a total embarrassment to both politics and Frederick. And, unfortunately, a perfect example of what Frederick has evolved into. Absolutely disgusting.

kaihagen

So...let me guess...you also don't think there is any systemic racism in our justice and law enforcement in this country?

C.D.Reid

Hagen, what I think about the matter has nothing whatsoever to do with my initial comment. My point was you tried to get the sheriff to agree with something YOU believe, whether he thinks it true or not. Neither I, the sheriff, nor anyone else needs the sorry likes of you to think for us.

Now, that being said, "No," I do not believe there is systemic racism in our justice system and law enforcement in this country. If minorities are being arrested disproportionately to their percentage of the population, maybe that's because they earn it. All blacks make up about 14% of the country's population, but black males constitute about 35% of the prison population. In your little PC mind you call that "systemic racism" without knowing the details of each individual case but maybe, just maybe, they're incarcerated because they committed crimes that deserve them to be. Ever think about that? Are you aware that the primary cause of death of black males between the ages of 15 and 35 are other black males between the ages of 15 and 35? By your "reasoning," of the 35 out of 100 blacks who commit crimes worthy of incarceration, only 14% of them should be locked up in order to maintain the appearance of no "systemic racism" in the justice system. Yeah, right, good luck with that attitude. As I said, you're an embarrassment to both politics and Frederick. And, as I have also previously said, you're a coward for trash talking Sheriff Jenkins' participation in the 287(g) program, but then are too afraid to sit down and discuss it with him when invited to do so WFMD's Mid Maryland Live show. Now, why don't you just take a drive and see how many downed balloons you can rescue the county from?

NewMarketParent

@CDeez

And that is why you are huge part of the race problem of our country. Your steady diet of bias-confirming information sources feeds you a false, self-confirming narrative that anyone who is not white is the problem. You take that and your obvious excitement at Eugenics and it is fairly easy to see that have no desire to see that wart on the end of your nose.

mgoose806

Based on your disrespectful behavior towards Sheriff Jenkins, it is clear that you don't like him. It's sad, because the Sheriff Jenkins has served this community for decades. While you have a very short list of accomplishments. Kai, first heard of you when you were a freshman commissioner. From day one whining because you wanted a Mac Laptop, at twice the cost, then a Windows PC the standard County Commission issue. Since then, your body of work has been trivial and irrelevant to the lives of the Frederick County Citizens. Sheriff Jenkins and over three hundred Deputies and Staff are trying living through this Pandemic as best they can, along with all 1st responders. You on the other hand have done nothing to help Frederick County get through a health crisis of our lives. Stop the confirmation that you don’t like the Sheriff with your adolescent outbursts on the social issue of the moment.

petersamuel

Kai: is there any racism in the justice system. Almost certainly some as elsewhere because people develop stereotypes and because they have their likes and dislikes. But saying racism is 'systemic' says you think it is built into and deeply embedded into the system of law enforcement. What is the evidence for that?

NewMarketParent

@CDeez

I'm sorry. Do you have any sort of credentials to deny that water is wet? Where is your degree in hydrology or hydrological studies?

Comment deleted.
C.D.Reid

It came from you, Plumbum, so yes, it came from no where.

DickD

Floyd's death was murder. It far beyond what was necessary and the police officer knew it. Is there systemic racism? Ask yourself, would you want to be stopped by the police if you were Black. I wouldn't. Are all police racist? Certainly not, but there's a small percentage who are. Should we defund the police? Certainly not, but some of the current funds should be used for additional training to ensure that no police officer does what happened to Floyd.

I do agree that police officers can become cynical and it is very easy to use excessive force if there's a combative citizen not following a legitimate order. That's where the training should focus.

It's good that the Council and the Sheriff are discussing this.

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