Article - Natural Resources
(a) (1) The Secretary shall, within the limits of any appropriation made for this purpose, appoint Natural Resources police officers as the Secretary deems necessary for the efficient administration of the Natural Resources Police Force.
(2) Each appointee to the Natural Resources Police Force shall have the character, education, and other qualifications established by the Secretary under this subtitle.
(3) (i) When the Department advertises for or recruits new Natural Resources police officers, the Department shall include advertising that is targeted toward racial and ethnic communities or other individuals who are underrepresented in the Natural Resources police workforce, including advertising in newspapers or on radio stations whose primary audience is the underrepresented communities and individuals.
(ii) The Secretary may contract with an outside vendor to assist in carrying out subparagraph (i) of this paragraph.
(b) The Secretary shall issue to each person appointed as a Natural Resources police officer a commission and badge stating “Natural Resources Police Officer”.
(c) Except when on detective duty, every Natural Resources police officer shall wear in plain view a “Natural Resources Police Officer” badge when acting in an official capacity.
(d) The badge is property of the State, and upon the termination of a commission of any Natural Resources police officer, it shall be returned with the commission to the Secretary.
(e) (1) All Natural Resources police officers, including persons appointed for training prior to regular assignment as a Natural Resources police officer, shall remain in a probationary status for a period of 2 years from the date of initial appointment to the Natural Resources Police Force.
(2) The Secretary may discharge an employee in probationary status for any cause which is deemed sufficient in the sole discretion of the Secretary.
(f) (1) In cases of inconsistency between this subtitle and the provisions of the State Personnel and Pensions Article, the provisions of this subtitle shall control as to all matters relating to the Natural Resources Police Force.
(2) Except as expressly provided in this subtitle, the State Personnel and Pensions Article does not apply to or affect the compensation, rank, grade, or status of Natural Resources police officers.
(3) Except as expressly provided in this subtitle, the compensation, civilian classification, and status of civilian employees of the Natural Resources Police Force shall be determined in accordance with the State Personnel and Pensions Article.
(g) (1) The Natural Resources Police Force shall take all necessary actions to pursue diversity within its sworn and civilian ranks so that it reflects the demographics of the State to the extent practicable, including:
(i) Expanding and diversifying the Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy applicant pool by:
1. Strengthening the Natural Resources Police Cadet Program; and
2. Increasing recruiting efforts at historically black colleges and universities; and
(ii) Establishing a diversity study group to:
1. Review departmental recruitment procedures;
2. Identify barriers to diverse employment within the ranks of the Natural Resources Police Force; and
3. Propose corrective actions.
(2) (i) 1. The Natural Resources Police Force shall develop an action plan to diversify its workforce based on recommendations by the diversity study group established under paragraph (1) of this subsection.
2. The Secretary shall ensure that all hiring and promotion is consistent with the action plan developed under this subparagraph.
3. The Department shall:
A. Publish the action plan developed under this subparagraph on its website; and
B. At least every 3 years, evaluate and update the action plan developed under this subparagraph.
(ii) On or before December 1, 2022, the Natural Resources Police Force shall report to the General Assembly, in accordance with § 2–1257 of the State Government Article, on the action plan required under subparagraph (i) of this paragraph, including:
1. Specific and measurable goals for achieving diversity among its sworn and civilian employees, including a date or dates by which the Natural Resources Police Force shall meet the goals;
2. A demographic breakdown of the following for the Natural Resources Police Force for the immediately preceding 3 calendar years:
A. Sworn and civilian employees;
B. Attrition rate;
C. Managerial and leadership positions;
D. Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy classes; and
E. Disciplinary action for sworn and civilian employees;
3. A plan to promote diversity among managerial and leadership positions;
4. The frequency with which the Natural Resources Police Force offers diversity– and implicit bias–related training to its sworn and civilian employees and in Maryland Natural Resources Police Academy classes;
5. A plan to address implicit bias among its sworn and civilian employees;
6. A plan to promote diversity in recruitment and retention efforts, including efforts to recruit from historically black colleges and universities;
7. The number of reported incidents of racially insensitive behavior in the immediately preceding 3 calendar years; and
8. Current disciplinary policies related to improper social media usage and otherwise racially insensitive or otherwise discriminatory actions, and plans to strengthen these policies in the future.