City of Annapolis
Public Information Office
160 Duke of Gloucester Street
Annapolis, Maryland 21401
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Media Contact: Mitchelle Stephenson, 410-972-7724 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Annapolis Police Issue Policies and Procedures to Comply with Maryland Police Accountability Act
Annapolis, MD (September 30, 2021) – The Annapolis Police Department (APD) will issue a new Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) and two General Order policies on Friday, October 1, 2021, to move the City into compliance with new Maryland state laws passed in the General Assembly earlier this year. The laws are known together as the Maryland Police Accountability Act.
Earlier this year, APD convened an Implementation Team, with participants from APD, Office of Law, Office of Human Resources, Office of Information Technology, and the City Manager’s Office.
The Act has numerous provisions and rolling implementation dates. The first phase is October 1, 2021, and includes three provision changes: Maryland Public Information Act; search and seizure warrants; and officer involved death investigations. The SOP and General Orders will be available in the Policies and Procedures section of the APD’s page of the City website: www.Annapolis.gov.
Public Information Act - This SOP, listed under subject identifier, “Access to Records,” involves access to public records. APD, with the Office of Law, has adopted new policies and procedures to handle incoming public information act requests for records pertaining to internal affairs investigations. As of Friday, Oct. 1, records for adjudicated internal affairs investigations will no longer be a required denial under the Maryland Public Information Act. Journalists and members of the public wishing to review these records must make a written request and submit the request in-person at the Annapolis Police Department. Records inspections are subject to the fee schedule approved by the Annapolis City Council. Per the Maryland Public Information Act, APD has 10 days to respond to the request and 30 days to deliver the requested information. It is important to remember that the new provisions under the Maryland Public Information Act do not automatically permit inspection of these records. Records related to internal investigations may be withheld from public inspection if their release would be contrary to the public interest. Additionally, certain information may be redacted to protect personal information, personnel records, and public privacy.
Officer Involved Death or Potential Death Investigations - This General Order is a new policy for the APD and requires that the Maryland State Police (“MSP”) and State Attorney General Internal Investigations Division (“AG-IID”) handle investigations of incidents involving death or serious injury due to the action or omission of a law enforcement officer. Under existing rules APD Criminal Investigation Division (CID) handles these inquiries. After Friday, Oct. 1, any such incidents will be handled by MSP/AG-IID. All commanders, supervisors and responding officers are aware of this new policy.
Search and Seizure Warrants - This General Order is an update to an existing policy within the APD and is in regards to “no knock” search warrants. Under the new policy, not only do the supervisor and State’s Attorney need to sign-off on such a warrant, as required under the law, but under the APD policy, the Chief of Police and Deputy Chief must also sign off. In addition, the law requires that law enforcement officers must be readily identifiable. APD policy requires officers must be in uniform and only Annapolis Special Emergency Team (ASET) can execute a no knock warrant.
Additional measures were required under the Act by or before October 1, including a provision that police not acquire surplus military equipment, including weaponized drones, aircraft and vehicles, firearm silencers, and grenade launchers. APD already had a policy in place prohibiting the acquisition of such equipment and no further action was determined to be necessary to be in compliance. The City is also already in compliance, since 2016, with the Act’s requirement that all law enforcement agencies require the use of body worn cameras by July 1, 2025.
Next year, the Police Accountability Act will require additional policy and procedure implementations including: in March 2022, a requirement for the City of Annapolis to submit all use of force settlements to the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention, Youth and Victim Services; and, in July 2022, new requirements around police accountability and discipline, training standards, and reporting for ASET and use of force.
City Manager David Jarrell said of the implementation team’s effort, “we had a tight time frame to get these policies drafted and approved and our officers and commanders trained. I appreciate the work of all who participated.”
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