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Maryland Attorney General Recommends New Racial Profiling Guidelines

Updated on August 28, 2015

Racial Profiling Guidelines are the First Based on FBI Suggestions

Maryland’s attorney general recommended restraints on police profiling in August 2015 intended to prevent any image of discrimination during crime investigations.

The new guidelines from Attorney General Brian E. Frosh are likely to influence profiling policies in other areas of the United States as police grapple with accusations of racism against African Americans.

Frosh said in his guidance memorandum that police must remain neutral on profiling issues of race, national origin and religion unless they are directly related to apprehending a criminal suspect.

Frosh’s guidelines are not enforceable as regulations. They merely affirm that ethnic or religious profiling not necessary for investigations could violate rights in the U.S. and Maryland constitutions.

We believe that this standard will provide an important measure of fairness and respect for members of all these groups, while improving the environment in which law enforcement conducts its work, Frosh said in a statement for his press conference.

Local police departments have the option of adopting the guidelines to make them enforceable rules within their own organizations. Several police chiefs have hinted they would follow the guidelines.

Frosh’s announcement this week makes Maryland the first state to develop local guidelines that follow a federal policy on racial profiling released in December 2014.

The policy forbids the FBI from considering race, ethnicity, gender, national origin, religion, sexual orientation and gender identity when deciding whether to open an investigation. Racial profiling also is banned in national security cases for the first time under the policy.

Frosh called discriminatory profiling crude and often unfair.

Ending discriminatory profiling does not require law enforcement to ignore or reject bona fide leads and credible intelligence, his memo says. It does require police to rely only upon information that is trustworthy and is relevant to the investigation of a specific offense, organization, or crime scheme.

Maryland Seeks Resolution to Racial Profiling Problems

Maryland's new racial profiling guidelines are expected to be a model for other states.
Maryland's new racial profiling guidelines are expected to be a model for other states.

How far can racial profiling go?

Do you think there should be restraints on police racial profiling during criminal investigations?

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    • Tom Ramstack profile image

      Tom Ramstack 2 years ago from Washington, D.C.

      I wonder whether respect for human rights and dignity, as well as training on appropriate police techniques, might also help them.

    • profile image

      Big E 2 years ago

      The police need to be black! Black skin will help them.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 2 years ago from usa

      T S

      ''gray area is how to define the laws'' Lawyers seem to know how we go about to define the law, litigation. Today in D C right is wrong and wrong is right. In the end the judicial system will decide!

    • Tom Ramstack profile image

      Tom Ramstack 2 years ago from Washington, D.C.

      We are a nation of laws. The gray area is how to define the laws and how to apply them to different situations.

    • JON EWALL profile image

      JON EWALL 2 years ago from usa

      we are a nation of the rule of law The Obama administration does not follow the laws of our country to the letter of the law. The men and women hired to defend and enforce the law is not the problem (racism).

      4/29/15 Saving Baltimore the remedy for black rioting isn’t more money,…

      7/18/15 Obama collecting Personal Data for a SECRET race database /15 A crippled presidency

      Wake up America Racism A Racist prejudice against people of other races

    • profile image

      Tom Ramstack 2 years ago

      I understand how you feel. However, personal biases are not something the attorney general can resolve with any set of guidelines. I think what Frosh did is a good first step.

    • RonElFran profile image

      Ronald E Franklin 2 years ago from Mechanicsburg, PA

      I'm sure having guidelines is a good first step. But, given that much racial profiling is done below the level of consciousness, I hope there will be a focused effort at training officers to recognize and compensate for their own unconscious biases.