Every month, the Spy and our nonprofit media partner, WHCP Community Radio, have the opportunity to talk to Justin Todd, the Chief of Police for Cambridge, about public safety and crime prevention issues. As viewers have noted over the past several interviews, Chief Todd has thought long and hard about law enforcement during his lifetime career, and each session is an extremely helpful exchange on how small cities like Cambridge can fight crime effectively.
But this month’s installment last Wednesday was particularly insightful as Todd talked candidly about the unintended consequences of Maryland’s Juvenile Justice Reform Act of 2022. The law generally prohibits enforcement officers from detaining anyone under 13 after committing most crimes. The legislation’s goal was to steer youth away from formal court processing, protect due process rights, safeguard against deceptive interrogation techniques, limit solitary confinement and restraints, and other issues related to being separated from families.
In the case of Cambridge, this has led, for example, to an unprecedented surge in stolen cars by kids, but even more devastating for Todd is that gangs have recruited some of these children, now in hand with their “get out of jail” cards, to commit serious crimes.
As Cambridge ‘s law enforcement attempt to cope with this unique loophole, the chief is hopeful that Annapolis lawmakers will begin to address this issue in this year’s legislative session.
The Spy’s Dave Wheelan talked to Chief Todd by Zoom this week.
This video is approximately five minutes in length.