Dozens of police agencies breaking Maryland law compelling data on officer-involved incidents

LANHAM, Md. (FOX 5 DC) -- A FOX 5 review of state reports shows dozens of police agencies are breaking a Maryland law aimed at increasing police transparency.

The law requires the Maryland Police Training and Standards Commission to collect and post reports of serious police-involved incidents and cases of officer discipline.

Public Safety Article Sec. 3-207 (b)(1) states, "The Commission shall develop a system by which law enforcement agencies report to the Commission on the number of serious officer-involved incidents each year, the number of officers disciplined each year, and the type of discipline administered to those officers."

The law took effect in 2017 after fallout from Freddie Gray's in-custody injury then death in Baltimore.

A review of MPTSC reports from 2017 and 2018 show many state agencies are not reporting the information mandated by the law.

In 2017, of 142 law enforcement agencies, 51 or 36 percent did not report. In 2018, the second year after the law took effect, 66 of 148 agencies or 45 percent did not report.

"If agencies aren't complying that's a real big problem," said Del. Erek Barron, who represents Prince George's County's 24th district in the General Assembly.

Barron has fought for increased police transparency in Maryland since 2015.

"It's alarming to know that you have requirements that aren't being adhered to," Del. Barron said.

"We can't know what more needs to be done if people aren't complying with the law," he said.

Four agencies which did not comply in either 2017 or 2018 or both include Prince George's County Police, Montgomery County Police, Charles County Sheriff's Office and Anne Arundel County Police.

All four agencies told FOX 5 that they either were not aware of the requirement or some confusion existed about how, when or to whom to report the information. Since they were contacted by FOX 5 for a response, all four agencies say they have since submitted the required data.

In an email to FOX 5, Prince George's County Police spokeswoman Jennifer Donelan said in part, "Thanks to your inquiry, at 11:23 am on Thursday, June 6th, we successfully provided the annual reports for 2017 and 2018 to the Maryland Police Training & Standards Commission. We are now up-to-date. We have also created a notification process to ensure that this isolated failure never occurs again."

According to the law, no enforcement mechanism is in place to force agencies to comply.

There does not appear to be any such wide-ranging requirement in Virginia or the District of Columbia.