Effective Friday, October 1, 2021, HB670 took effect. Maryland Annotated Code, State Government Article, §6-106.2, mandates that when an officer is involved in a police involved shooting, in-custody death, or a use of force that involves serious bodily injury, the investigation will be conducted by the Attorney General’s Office in conjunction with the Maryland State Police. This is going to be a change in how these critical incidents have been investigated in the past. It will be important for you to know the procedures when you are on-call.
Based on information that we have received, it is apparent the Attorney Generals’ Office will be looking at these incidents very closely and will likely lean towards criminally charging police officers in the future. When responding to incidents please keep the following in mind:
- Officers will only be required to answer “Public Safety Questions”:
- Have you been involved in an Officer-Involved Shooting?
- Is anyone injured? Where are they?
- Are there any outstanding suspects? If so, can you provide a description, direction, mode of flight?
- How long ago did the outstanding suspect(s) flee? What weapons are they armed with?
- Did the suspect(s) fire at you? Where was the suspect? Where were you?
- Where were you when you fired at the suspect? Where was the suspect?
- Did you move during the encounter? From where to where?
- Are you aware of weapons or evidence that needs to be secured or protected?
- Are you aware of any witnesses? Where are they?
As a practice, no one from the FOP and no attorney from SBWDLAW will allow an accused officer make any voluntary statements to the investigator with the exception of answering the “Public Safety Questions.”
Upon making contact with the involved officer, please remind them that they are not to make any statements to anyone including their shift partners and supervisors.
Please know that a requirement of the AG’s Office is that the involved officers should remain at the scene until the AG’s Office or MSP investigator arrives at the scene. Photographs of the officer will be taken at the scene. When the involved officer is transported to CID or HQ, the transporting officer must keep their Body Worn Camera activated to record any statements made by the involved officer.
Attached are copies of the AG’s Office Notification Protocols for the Independent Investigation Division, the Media Response procedures for the Independent Investigations, and the Evidence Collection, Storage, and Analysis Protocols for the Independent Investigation Division. Please review these documents so you are aware the new investigative procedures.