Leaked internal documents show Maryland State Police supervisors discussing a points-based system that state lawmakers are comparing to a ticket and arrest quota, a practice that was banned in the state more than 15 years ago.
The documents reviewed by The Baltimore Banner include a February 2022 “goals and expectations” memo from a barracks on the Eastern Shore that lays out in detail how many traffic stops, citations, warnings, arrests and other metrics would meet the law enforcement agency’s monthly “expectations.”
For a state trooper in the Princess Anne barracks, that means making at least 70 traffic stops per month, issuing at least 35 citations and two to three arrests. The metrics also include a range of “driving under the influence” arrests to be made per year, which is listed as four to six.
A second document shows what appears to be an email sent to state police supervisors. It begins, “I just pulled the last 6 months of stats to help determine who is getting a new car.”
“I added the information below for your reference to help you identify any Troopers who are falling behind,” the email states. “The average point total was 1089. If you have a Trooper who is significantly below that, it is an indication that there may need to be additional coaching or corrective action taken.”
The email then ranks 13 troopers, whose names have been redacted, and whose “points” scores range from 471 to 2,269.
The documents surfaced during the sixth hour of a Judiciary Committee hearing in the General Assembly on Tuesday, but the Maryland State Police appeared to be unaware of the memo and email when contacted for comment on Wednesday.
A spokesperson later confirmed the documents were authentic but said the agency “does not use performance quotas for troopers.”
“Rather, performance expectations are evaluated using a scale,” said spokesperson Elana Russo. “Work productivity is only one out of 15 performance factors and standards used to evaluate a trooper’s performance.”
Del. Robin Grammer, an Essex Republican, said the documents were sent to him anonymously. They included a note that indicated the points-based system was in use in “a few barracks on the Shore.” The tipster expressed concern that the points system was not good for the mental health of the troopers.
“From what I have been told most troopers disagree with this but have no voice to help combat this practice,” the tipster wrote. “They are threatened with disciplinary action if they do not meet these required goals.”
Grammer, who has introduced legislation that would tighten the state’s existing ban on ticket and arrest quotas for law enforcement, said the practice amounted to “politicized law enforcement, and the cops are not to blame.”
“These are taxpayer-paid incentives for juicing up the numbers so that local politicians look good,” Grammer said.
Del. Caylin Young, a Baltimore City Democrat who sits on the Judiciary Committee, described the documents as “inappropriate and irresponsible.” He worried the practice would incentivize officers to chase numbers instead of public safety.
As for the email, Young said he is still trying to learn more about the points-based system, but it gave the appearance of quantifying arrests and stops for troopers in exchange for being awarded a new vehicle.
“They’ve gamified public safety in a way where the incentive is not actual safety, the incentive is the material benefit,” Young said. “That’s difficult for me to reconcile.”
Grammer said the documents are solid proof of why his legislation is necessary. It’s not the first time he has introduced such a bill.
The practice of law enforcement quotas was banned by Maryland lawmakers in 2006, Grammer said, but he added that the opposition to the legislation significantly weakened it.
“The bill was amended and chopped to hell so that it was basically meaningless, and in 2023, we still have quotas,” Grammer said.