The Justice Department has launched an investigation into whether Maryland State Police has "created racially discriminatory barriers for Black people" in its hiring and promotion practices.
The U.S. Attorney's office announced today that the Justice Department opened a "civil pattern or practice investigation" into the statewide law enforcement agency.
Gov. Larry Hogan and MSP Superintendent Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III are cooperating with the investigation, according to the U.S. Attorney's office press release.
Kristen Clarke, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division, said in a statement:
"Discrimination has no place in any workplace, and especially in law enforcement agencies. Our investigation will determine whether the Maryland Department of State Police has created racially discriminatory barriers for Black people seeking job opportunities and promotions and, if so, identify the reforms necessary to ensure equal employment opportunities. All communities deserve law enforcement agencies that are built upon principles of fairness and equity."
Superintendent Colonel Woodrow W. Jones III responded in a statement:
"The Maryland Department of State Police remains steadfast in its commitment to providing the highest quality of law enforcement services to the people of Maryland, while ensuring fairness within our ranks and in the way public safety services are provided to our citizens. Significant actions have been taken and are continuing to address even the perception of racism or unfair treatment of any kind. I have been committed to addressing issues of diversity and inclusiveness throughout my tenure and work is continuing. Working with the Coalition of Black Maryland State Troopers, the Legislative Black Caucus, the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies, the Maryland State Police Office of Equity and Inclusion and other stakeholders, I have implemented new procedures and initiatives, opened new lines of communication and hired subject matter experts, all for the purpose of ensuring the Department addresses these issues and is a law enforcement leader in these matters. I am aware of the U.S. Department of Justice investigation, after receiving notification late this morning. I welcome this investigation. I have assured the Department of Justice that the Maryland Department of State Police will cooperate fully with the investigation and assist investigators in any way possible. In the interim, the dedicated troopers and civilian employees of the Department will continue to serve and protect the citizens of Maryland with the courage and selfless service they have been known for during the past 101 years."
Anyone with information relevant to the investigation is encouraged to contact the Justice Department at 1-800-556-1950 (option 9), or via email at MDSPInvestigation@usdoj.gov.