The Domestic Violence Unit is currently comprised of sixteen individuals - one Sergeant, one Corporal, eleven deputies, two clerks, and one advocate. The Unit is dedicated to the enforcement of laws pertaining to family and domestic violence. Before 1999, these duties were shared with the Howard County Police Department, but in July 1999 the Sheriff’s Office took on sole responsibility for the enforcement of domestic violence orders in Howard County.

The Domestic Violence Advocate is a civilian employee dedicated to providing victims and potential victims of domestic violence with the assistance necessary to utilize all available resources to stop violence in and out of the home.

Additional positions within the Domestic Violence Unit were made possible by funding granted by the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention in 2008 and 2009 (Violence Against Women Act Funding).

Legislative Updates & Necessary Forms (2009)

Effective October 1, 2009, all respondents subject to a Final Protective Order are required to: (1) refrain from possessing all firearms; AND (2) surrender all firearms in their possession to a law enforcement agency.

Similarly, a judge may now order the surrender of all firearms, under certain circumstances, by a respondent to a Temporary Protective Order. This is discretionary, not mandatory.

The Howard County Sheriff's Office is the designated law enforcement agency for the collection of surrendered firearms. Questions regarding this legislative change should be directed to the Domestic Violence Unit at 410-313-7554.


Please see attached link for rules and guidelines for surrendering your firearms under a court order.

 Surrendering Firearms

Release of Surrendered / Removed Firearms

At the expiration of the protective order, the respondent may apply to retake possession of each firearm surrendered/removed by making a request to the Howard County Sheriff's Office. The HCSO will then conduct a background investigation to determine whether or not the respondent is legally entitled to own or possess the firearm.

If you are the respondent of a Protective Order and are seeking to reclaim possession of a firearm surrendered to or removed by the Howard County Sheriff's Office, please complete the form below and return it to 8360 Court Avenue Ellicott City, MD 21043 Attn: Domestic Violence Unit.

Request for Return of Firearms

Domestic Violence Links:

Victim Information & Notification Everyday (VINE): An information service which can provide you with information on the custody of offenders and upcoming court hearing dates, either by telephone (1-866-634-8463) or through VINELINK.COM. It is a fully automated system, available in English and Spanish 24 hours a day. Operator assistance in using the VINE system is also available by telephone 24 hours a day. Additional information on the VINE system can be found at the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention.

Howard County Domestic Violence Center

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