Four years after the death of George Floyd, the Caucus of African American Leaders is giving a vote of confidence to the Annapolis Police Department. You read that right.

In what they are calling a “historic” event, the Police Department, as well as the ACLU of Maryland, is being recognized by the Caucus of African American Leaders — a consortium of hundreds of people from civil rights groups that includes members of the NAACP, the National Coalition of 100 Black Women and others. It was founded in 2013.

“Oftentimes there is a vote of no confidence, and it is done when police misconduct is done and it sparks protests, demonstrations, and boycotts — and rightfully so,” said Carl O. Snowden, convener of the caucus.

But in the case of the Annapolis Police Department, which Snowden’s organization has twice given a vote of no confidence under previous police chiefs in 2016 and 2019, recent efforts by the department should be lauded.

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“We believe that when police officers do something wrong, they must be criticized. However, when they are doing the right thing, they must be commended,” Snowden said.

In addition to having the second Black police chief in the history of the department, Edward Jackson, Snowden said it’s the most diverse department in its history — noting increased numbers of women and African American officers. He also pointed to the department’s Returning Citizens Program, which Snowden said is “one of the best” in Maryland.

The department didn’t have its first Black officer until 1960 — and even then, Black officers were not allowed to arrest white people, according to Snowden.

These factors have significantly improved police and community relations, said Snowden, who also mentioned a recent successful gun turn-in effort by the department, which he said was a “great indicator” of the department’s improved relationship with the community.

Snowden touted the ACLU’s “long record” and specifically mentioned the organization’s voting rights lawsuit against the Town of Federalsburg in Caroline County. The lawsuit allowed African Americans to be elected to serve on the town council for the first time, Snowden said. No African American had served on that town council in its 200 years, Snowden added.

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“What is amazing is that these two organizations are being recognized at the same time,” he said. “Some people see them as polar opposites.”

The two organizations will be formally honored at 5 p.m. tonight at the Wiley H. Bates Legacy Center, 1101 Smithville St., in Annapolis. The free event is open to the public, and a catered meal will be served. The event is on a first-come, first-served basis, with room for around 100 attendees, according to Snowden.