Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility
Guidelines proposed by Maryland Attorney General Brian E. Frost call on law enforcement agencies to not "consider race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity to any degree during routine police operations." (File photo)

Frosh issues guidance to end racial profiling by police

Maryland could become the first state in the nation to have law enforcement agencies adopt a series of guidelines aimed at eliminating racial profiling by police officers.

The guidelines proposed by Attorney General Brian E. Frosh are based on federal guidelines drafted by the U.S. Department of Justice in December.

“Police do a dangerous, difficult job and they do it well,” Frosh said in a statement. “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.”

Frosh is expected to release the memo during a Tuesday news conference in Annapolis.

Frosh’s guidelines call on law enforcement agencies to not “consider race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation, disability or gender identity to any degree during routine police operations.”

The attorney general said the guidelines go further than state law already in place to prevent profiling but do not create a new law or specific enforceable rights. Police departments are encouraged but not required to adopt the policies set forth within the memo.

Frosh said the guidelines are “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.”

Frosh’s memo calls on police departments to set standards within their respective general orders to ensure that profiling based on race, religion and sexual orientation are prohibited.

Those same characteristics can only be taken into account during investigations of specific crimes if police officers deem them to relevant to the investigation.

Frosh said he plans to hold training sessions around the state as well as report annually on which departments adopt the policy.