Maryland

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Be sure to check out the Next Steps at the bottom of the page. Go to the References/Further Reading page to see our sources and do some research of your own.

Last updated Jan. 20, 2020

Summary

Key:

Legislation Achieved

Some Progress

No Progress

  • Demilitarization

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    No knock warrants
    1033 program
    Military-style training
    SWAT data

    Maryland a

  • For Profit Policing

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Civil asset forfeiture
    Quotas
    Cost of misconduct

    Maryland b

  • Broken Windows Policing

    Minor offenses
    Objective justification for stops
    Reporting stop details

    Maryland c

  • Accountability

    Yes
    Yes
    Yes
    Yes

    Reckless civil rights violation
    Independent investigation
    Qualified immunity

    Maryland d

  • Reinvesting in Communities

    Mental health response

    Education, housing, and community health resources

    Maryland e

Demilitarization

Learn about demilitarization and the specific issues below on the Demilitarization page (opens in a new window).

 

No knock warrants

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law eliminating the use of no-knock warrants. Locally, the Baltimore City State's Attorney's Office announced in October that her office would no longer authorize no-knock warrants. However, this practice is not legally binding, and can be changed by the next administration.

Pending Legislation: S419, introduced in January 2021, bans the use of no-knock warrants.

1033 purchases

Some Progress:

In 2019, Maryland passed SB 210 requiring that the Department of State Police collect data on the acquisition of equipment from any federal surplus program, report that data to the Governor and General Assembly at the end of every calendar year, and prominently display a link to that data on the Department of State Police website.

Military style training

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law refocusing training away from self-defense responses and towards community centered training like that offered by Blue Courage. Maryland's Police Training and Standards Commission, the agency responsible for training law enforcement officers in the state, requires new officers to go through de-escalation and anti-discrimination training. However, the agency does not endeavor to emphasize community policing over a militaristic response.

SWAT data

Achieved:

Beginning in Spring 2009, Maryland law required that every law enforcement agency with a SWAT team record and submit data about the team's deployments, according to Maryland's public safety article 3-507. In 2017, the state also passed a law detailing information including the race/gender/age of the target of any deployment, the firearm use during the process of the deployment, the alleged crime, and any injuries resulting from the proceedings.

For Profit Policing

Learn about for profit policing and the specific issues below on the For Profit Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Civil asset forfeiture

Some Progress:

In 2016, Maryland updated its reporting standards for civil asset forfeitures, but it has not banned the practice.

Quotas

Achieved:

In 2006, Maryland banned a law enforcement agency from using the number of citations made by an officer as the 'sole or primary criterion for promotion, demotion, dismissal, or transfer.'

Cost of misconduct

No progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law requiring police departments (not state general funds) to cover the cost of misconduct.

Broken Windows Policing

Learn about broken windows policing and the specific issues below on the Broken Windows Policing page (opens in a new window).

 

Minor offenses

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law decriminalizing minor offenses that do not threaten public safety such as spitting and loitering. Locally, many towns/cities de-prioritized the policing of minor offenses (also called Quality of Life Offenses). In Policy 1018, Quality of Life Offenses - Core Legal Elements by the Police Commissioner in Baltimore City, it states that "A verbal warning and counseling is preferable to a criminal/civil citation, and a criminal/civil citation is preferable to an arrest".

Objective justification for stops

No Progress:

Maryland does not require objective justification for police stops, and does not require officers to make detailed reporting of each stop by including race, gender, use of force, and presence of a firearm.

Reporting stop details

Some Progress:

"The Maryland General Assembly has passed a law requiring police departments to report whom they stop and search" but the data filings are incomplete and unreliable. Although incomplete reporting can be accidental, the collection and reporting of the data makes it difficult to draw conclusions.

Pending Legislation:
HB 139 would require each local law enforcement agency in Maryland to post online, every six months, the “age, sex, gender, ethnicity, color, national origin, religion, and disability of the individuals on whom force was used.” HB 139 also mandates officers exhaust all alternatives before turning to deadly force.

Accountability

Learn about accountability and the specific issues below on the Accountability page (opens in a new window).

 

Reckless civil rights violation

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law which eliminates the requirement that an officer must "willfully" deprive another's rights in order to be prosecuted.

Independent investigation

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law institutionalizing an independent prosecutor within the state’s Department of Justice for instances of police misconduct. Locally, Montgomery County requires that, following the death of any person after an encounter with police officers, two independent investigators from "an independent law enforcement entity" must be appointed to open an inquiry and publicly publish their final report.

Pending Legislation:
HB 151 would repeal the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, which affords officers certain protections and the right to have cases of misconduct and/or brutality investigated internally by other law enforcement officers and departments.

Qualified immunity

No Progress:

Maryland has not ended/restricted police officer qualified immunity.

Reinvesting in Communities

Learn about reinvesting in communities and the specific issues below on the Reinvesting in Communities page (opens in a new window).

 

Mental health response

No Progress:

Maryland has not yet enacted a law creating and funding a mental health task force available to respond to crisis calls (in lieu of police). In Jan. 2020, Sen. Pinsky introduced SB 454 requiring police officers and first responders to complete mental health awareness training. However, the bill was vetoed in March. Some cities, like Baltimore, have Crisis Response teams. However, these systems did not protect Ricky Walker Jr., who was shot by Baltimore officers in July 2020. Reports after the shooting show no indication that police dispatchers attempted to connect officers on the scene with available behavioral health resources.

Education, Housing, Community Health Resources

No Progress:

It is important to note that policing does not address the roots of social disadvantage and barriers to (economic) opportunity that often lead to crime. Nor should police be burdened with that responsibility.
Without access to quality resources in healthcare, education, and housing, our cities, neighborhoods, and families will continue to suffer. We should instead reassess the budgets of the state government and reinvest in the services that matter most.

Next Steps

No matter what, register to vote:

Contacting officials is just one piece of the puzzle we can't stop there. We need to make sure our elected officials reflect our values and support reform at every level of government. Register here:

To keep these policies at the forefront:

Keep emailing about them (if you just finished the 5 Days Challenge, keep up the schedule—set reminders in your phone to email about each issue on its specific day).

To ask for more than this:

Use our templates as a model to ask for bigger changes. Color for Change and The Movement for Black Lives both have specific policy related to a reimagined law enforcement system. If you think there are additional policies we ought to consider, send your thoughts our way.

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