2020 Maryland Statutes
Courts and Judicial Proceedings
Title 10 - Evidence
Subtitle 4 - Wiretapping and Electronic Surveillance
Section 10-413 - Hostage and Barricade Situations

    (a)    The Secretary of State Police or the commander of the law enforcement agency of any political subdivision of this State may designate one or more law enforcement officers as a hostage and barricade communications specialist.

    (b)    Each telephone company providing service to Maryland residents shall designate one or more individuals to provide liaison with law enforcement agencies for the purposes of this section.

    (c)    The supervising law enforcement officer, who has jurisdiction in any situation in which there is probable cause to believe that the criminal enterprise of hostage holding is occurring or that a person has barricaded himself within a structure and poses an immediate threat of physical injury to others, may order a telephone company, or a telephone company employee, officer, or director, or a hostage and barricade communications specialist to interrupt, reroute, divert, or otherwise control any telephone communications service involved in the hostage or barricade situation for the purpose of preventing telephone communication by a hostage holder or barricaded person with any person other than a law enforcement officer or a person authorized by the officer.

    (d)    A hostage and barricade communications specialist shall be ordered to act under subsection (c) of this section only if the telephone company providing service in the area has been contacted and requested to act under subsection (c) of this section and the telephone company:

        (1)    Declines to respond to the officer’s request because of a threat of physical injury to its employees; or

        (2)    Indicates when contacted that it will be unable to respond appropriately to the officer’s request within a reasonable time from the receipt of the request.

    (e)    The supervising law enforcement officer may give an order under subsection (c) of this section only after that supervising law enforcement officer has given written representation or oral representation of the hostage or barricade situation to the telephone company providing service to the area in which it is occurring. If an order is given on the basis of an oral representation, the oral representation shall be followed by a written confirmation of that representation within 48 hours of the order.

    (f)    Good faith reliance on an order by a supervising law enforcement officer who has the real or apparent authority to issue an order under this section shall constitute a complete defense to any action against a telephone company or a telephone company employee, officer, or director that arises out of attempts by the telephone company or the employee, officer, or director of the telephone company to comply with such an order.

    (g)    For the purposes of this section, “supervising law enforcement officer” means an officer:

        (1)    Having a rank at least equivalent to a lieutenant of the Department of State Police or higher; or

        (2)    In charge of one of the following:

            (i)    A State or county law enforcement agency;

            (ii)    A Department of State Police barracks; or

            (iii)    A district or region within a county or Baltimore City.

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