Prince George's County Executive Lawerence J. Hogan asked the County Council yesterday to pass emergency legislation that would give police authority to gather explicit evidence against employees of message parlors believed to be fronts for prostitution.
If the council passes the bill, police would be allowed to engage in sex in gathering evidence for a prostitution charge. Currently, police are allowed only to negotiate with alleged prostitutes about the price.
"We want to prevent a situation from occurring where money exchanges hands and she says 'nothing happened, I just took the money,'" said police, chief Jack McHale. "We want to get enough evidence so we can arrest them and get a conviction."
The bill has prompted a debate among police officers, their wives and county officials over the merits of entrapment and whether it is legal -- or moral -- for police to engage in illegal activities in the name of the law.
"That law would be legalizing prostitution for police officers," said Lisa Reinoehl, president of the Ladies Auxiliary of the Fraternal Order of Police. "I doubt that any of the wives would support their husbands going into the vice squad to do that."
Police union president Laney Hester said he would oppose the bill when the council votes on it next month. "My assumption is that they've all been smoking dope," said Hester, referring to Hogan and McHale. t"who wants to fondle a prostitute or be fondled by one?"
The bill, which was suggested by Director of Licenses and Permits William Gullett, was the result of year long meetings among Hogan, McHale, county attorney Robert Ostrom and the state's attorney office.
County officials estimate that there are at least 15 massage parlors in the county and about six health clubs that offer massages.