PRINCESS ANNE — A former commander of the Maryland State Police barracks on the Eastern Shore was selected by the County Commissioners to chair the newly-created Somerset County Police Accountability Board.
Martin E. Koerner of Marion, a retired MSP captain who also served with the police department in Pocomoke City, fits the state’s legislative mandate that the chair “Be a retired sworn law enforcement officer...with at least 20 years of service in a Law Enforcement Agency.”
The chair also must have either headed a LEA or be in a command or supervisory position.
The police accountability board is a civilian-dominated committee that receives complaints from the public about the conduct of law enforcers, investigates the charges and adjudicates disciplinary action. Commissioners now must appoint at least two and up to six additional members which “To the extent practicable...reflect the racial, gender, and cultural diversity of the county.”
Also to be appointed by the commissioners are two civilians to be on a charging committee — which Mr. Koerner will also serve on. This committee will then name two additional civilian members.
There is also a trial board to populate, which will include an active or retired judge appointed by the County Commissioners and a civilian not on either of the other boards. The third member of the trial board will be a police officer of equal rank to the accused.
Members, who will serve four years, will receive a stipend for their service, and the commissioners set this at $2,500 with the chair — who serves for five years — receiving $3,000. Meetings will be quarterly with the heads of law enforcement agencies, and at the end of each calendar year a report will be submitted covering any trends in the disciplinary process and recommendations on policy changes to improve police accountability.
The accountability board was mandated by the General Assembly and becomes effective July 1.