County Office Building, 701 Kelly Road, Cumberland, Maryland, July 2006. Photo by Diane F. Evartt.
County Court. In 1789, the first year of Allegany County’s formation, the County Court Justices were authorized to assess County charges and levy taxes, which were collected by the Commissioners of the Tax.
Levy Court. By the Court Reform Law of 1790 all nonjudicial powers transferred from the County Court to the Levy Court, thereby empowering the Levy Court to assume the executive functions of County Government (Chapter 62, Acts of 1790). So authorized, the Levy Court began to assess County charges and levy taxes; adjust ordinary County expenses; appoint tax collectors, constables, road overseers, and commissioners; and contract for builders to repair buildings and bridges.
From 1790 to 1799, the Levy Court met in Cumberland on the south side of Green Street at Abraham Faw’s Tavern. Thereafter, the Levy Court met at the first County Courthouse, which was built in 1799.
Originally, five members constituted the Levy Court. They were appointed by the Governor from the Justices of the Peace of the County. In 1829, voters began to elect a nine-member Levy Court to two-year terms (Chapter 25, Acts of 1829). By 1836, a new election district required an additional member (Chapter 106, Acts of 1836). In 1854, the Court was reduced to five members (Chapter 297, Acts of 1854). With a constitutional amendment in 1922, the term in all counties was set at four years (Chapter 227, Acts of 1922).
Today, the Board of County Commissioners consists of three members who are elected by the voters to four-year terms. From among its members, the Board selects the Chair for a four-year term.
The Police Accountability Board receives complaints of police misconduct filed by members of the public. On a quarterly basis, the Board meets with heads of law enforcement agencies and works with those agencies and County government to improve County policing.
Legal mandates providing for the Board also authorized Charging Committees and Trial Boards, whose civilian members are appointed by the Police Accountability Board. On a quarterly basis, the Board reviews disciplinary matters considered by Charging Committees.
Appointed by the Board of County Commissioners to three-year terms, the Board consists of five members. The Chair is chosen by the County Commissioners (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 3-102 through 3-104).
Meeting at least monthly, the Committee reviews the findings of each law enforcement agency’s investigation of police misconduct complaints forwarded by the agency to the Committee. From information related to the investigation, the Committee makes determinations and recommendations. It may review body camera footage, call a police officer before the Committee, determine if a police officer should be charged administratively, or recommend discipline. It may submit written opinions to the director of the law enforcement agency, the accused police officer, the complainant, and the Police Accountability Board.
Five members constitute the Committee. Two are appointed to three-year terms by the Board of County Commissioners, and two by the Police Accountability Board. One serves ex officio. Annually, the Chair is chosen by the Committee (Code Public Safety Article, secs. 3-102 through 3-104).
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