image description

AG Frosh Issues Guidance To Law Enforcement

August 25th, 2015 by WCBC Radio

In an effort to rebuild trust between law enforcement and the communities they serve, Attorney General Brian E. Frosh today unveiled new guidance designed to end discriminatory profiling by law enforcement in Maryland, broadening the characteristics that may not be used to single out groups during everyday police activity.

Under a guidance memorandum issued by the Office of the Attorney General, officers in any law enforcement agency in Maryland may not consider race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity to any degree during routine police operations.

“Police do a dangerous, difficult job, and they do it well,” Attorney General Frosh said. “But experience shows us that improper profiling by police does terrible damage. It discourage cooperation by law-abiding citizens, it generates bogus leads that turn attention away from bona fide criminal conduct, and it erodes community trust.”

“The memorandum we are issuing today is meant to put an end to profiling of all kinds, which will help repair the frayed relationships between police and many in the community by making mutual respect the norm in everyday police encounters,” Attorney General Frosh said.

In December 2014, the U.S. Department of Justice issued a similar guidance document addressing police profiling, and then-Attorney General Eric Holder called on states to follow suit. Maryland becomes the first state to answer that call and adopt such discriminatory profiling standards at the state level.

The memorandum contains standards in two categories: routine police work, and investigations. In routine work, profiling based on characteristics such as religion, race or sexual orientation may never take place. During investigations of specific crimes or criminal schemes, law enforcement may take those factors into account if they have credible evidence that those characteristics are directly relevant to the investigation.

The Office of the Attorney General is urging each state and local law enforcement agency to adopt these guidelines into the general orders under which they operate. Through such adoption, a process would be in place for each department to address complaints and violations.

“This is an important step forward, and the standards in this guidance are ones that all law enforcement should follow, including the Baltimore Police Department,” said Interim Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis. “I’m committed to making sure that the standards being released today are part of our practices – for the benefit of our officers and our community.”

“Profiling based on personal bias is not only illegal, but also hurts relationships between police departments and communities,” said Montgomery County Police Chief Thomas Manger.  “This Guidance Memorandum is another good tool to assist cops in remaining effective in their efforts and in continuing to strengthen trust with residents who they serve.”

The Office of the Attorney General will also be convening training sessions in different parts of the state, and will monitor and each year publicize information on the adoption of the guidelines, as well as other recommendations going forward to continue the effort to rebuild community trust.

Leave a Reply

View Mobile Site