Police/Fire

Harford County Sheriff’s Office responds to Attorney General Frosh’s legal challenge



HARFORD COUNTY, MD—The Harford County Sheriff’s Office has issued a response to Attorney General Brian Frosh’s legal challenge that was filed this week.

On Monday, Attorney General Frosh alleged that the HCSO was interfering with its investigation of a police-involved shooting that took place in Forest Hill on Saturday (details available here).

The response from the Harford County Sheriff’s Office reads as follows:

On the court filing…Sheriff Gahler offers, “It is shameful that Mr. Frosh would not work to resolve these issues in the many months available, but for purely political purposes has chosen to use this tragedy as political fodder. Our citizens deserve better and the families that are tied to this investigation deserve better.”

More than eight months ago, Sheriff Gahler initiated contact with the Office of the Attorney General to discuss concerns with the legality of protocols issued by the Attorney General related to the newly established Independent Investigation Unit (IIU). In short, the concern of Sheriff Gahler was that the protocols were not based in law, but rather the improper assumption of legislative authority on the part of the Attorney General.



Prior to the new law taking effect in October 2021, Sheriff Gahler shared his policy with the Attorney General on how the Harford County Sheriff’s Office would respond to police involved incidents that result in the death of a civilian, a policy which is in full compliance with Maryland Law, including Senate Bill 600, passed in 2021, that established the IIU. At no time since receiving Sheriff Gahler’ s concerns and/or a copy of the HCSO Policy has Mr. Frosh indicated that any element of the policy was in conflict with Maryland Law, only his self-ordained protocols that, again, are not supported in Maryland Law.

Since the outset of the tragic event in Harford County on Saturday and continuing still today, Sheriff Gahler and the Harford County Sheriff’s Office have continued to try to work in complete cooperation with the IIU to ensure both agencies are able to complete their respective investigations. By statute, the IIU’s scope is very narrow, and only extends to the actions of the deputies involved in the loss of life. The Harford County Sheriff’s Office still has a responsibility to investigate any and all events leading up to that point for any criminal acts, in addition to the actions of the deputies.

Now, this matter is out of the hands of the Harford County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of the Attorney General and will be resolved by a court of law. In the meantime, we will continue to offer complete access to any video and other evidence the IIU may need to complete their investigation while moving forward with our investigation.

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