Death Notification: Officer Brett Lanasa

It is with great sorrow that the Lodge announces the sudden passing of Officer Brett Lanasa #2971. Brett was a graduate of the 69th recruit class. He was assigned as the prisoner officer in the Catonsville District Court.

He is survived by his wife and three sons. Brett was 58.

Viewing: Ambrose Funeral Home 1328 Sulphur Spring Road Arbutus, MD 21227 on
August 27 and 28, 2015 3pm – 5pm and 7pm – 9pm.

Funeral: Saturday, August 29, 2015 at 1pm at the Church of the Ascension 4603 Poplar Avenue Halethorpe, MD 21227

Interment: Meadowridge Memorial Park 7250 Washington Blvd

In lieu of flowers, Brett’s family have asked that monetary donations be made to arbutuslittleleague.org (an address for mailing these donations is forthcoming)

Ambrosefuneralhomes.com

After Baltimore riots, changes to police ‘bill of rights’ sought

August 24, 2015
As the national debate continues over police shootings and the use of excessive force, a Maryland legislative panel Monday weighed whether changes should be made to the protections afforded to officers accused of misconduct.

Police officers, advocates of police restructuring, sheriffs and police chiefs offered testimony on the merits of reducing a provision that gives officers 10 days to receive representation before cooperating with an investigation, opening trial boards to the public, and increasing from 90 days to a year and one day the length of time that someone may file a brutality complaint against an officer.

Officials from the state NAACP and the ACLU of Maryland said they hope the panel will consider recommending that the General Assembly do away with the “10-day rule” and increase the time for filing a complaint — actions they say are necessary to repair the fractured relationship between police and communities. In this Aug. 9, 2015 photo provided by Noah Scialom, a member of the Baltimore Police Department points a gun during a confrontation with dirt bikers, bicyclists and onlookers in Baltimore. Police in riot gear cleared the crowd from a street near Druid Hill Park after they said some had thrown objects at officers. (Noah Scialom/AP)

An effort to make changes to Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights (LEOBR) earlier this year died in committee.“We think without radical reform, communities across the state will not have the confidence in their police force that everyone should have,” said Rion Dennis, co-political action chair for the Maryland State Conference of the NAACP. “If we cannot count on [police officers] to be orderly themselves, it becomes a real breakdown in society.”

The legislative work group was formed by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) after the Baltimore riots in April and the death of Freddie Gray, a 25-year-old black man who suffered a severe spinal cord injury while in police custody. Gray’s death sparked unrest in the city and placed Maryland at the center of a national discussion about police use of deadly or excessive force on African Americans. Six police officers have been charged in Gray’s death.

The panel, which has examined police training and recruitment, focused its efforts Monday on the country’s oldest Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights, enacted in Maryland in 1974.

Police union officials said the policy, which is designed to provide due process rights to officers, needs no revision.

“The LEOBR works and does not need to be changed,” said Frank D. Boston III, the legislative counsel for the Maryland Fraternal Order of Police. “It weeds out the bad police officers or bad apples and serves to protect the good police officers who are doing their jobs.”

Dale Jones, president of the Fraternal Order of Police in Prince George’s County, said 198 officers have been terminated or resigned with prejudice for misconduct over the past 10 years, an indication that the LEOBR serves its purpose.

Police chiefs and sheriffs said they are willing to help the committee make adjustments to the statute if it will provide accountability and trust in the administrative process.

“We have a perception problem that we don’t fire bad cops, but I think we do fire bad cops,” said Phil Hinkle, an attorney and chief of staff for the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. “If opening up the hearings [when a police officer goes before a trial board], if that’s what it’s going to take to help the perception, bring it on.”

Del. Curt Anderson (D-Baltimore City), the committee co-chairman, asked several chiefs whether their trial boards are open to the public. Prince George’s officials said their hearings are open to the public but are not advertised.

Hinkle said his office had no concerns with shortening the 10-day rule to five days or even three days.

Del. C.T. Wilson (D-Charles) said one of the biggest complaints he has heard from constituents about police brutality is the amount of time officers are given before they are required to cooperate with an investigation.

“We have to find a middle ground,” Wilson said, adding that an officer has a year and a day to file an assault charge against a suspect and that the same time frame should be given to a person who accuses an officer of excessive force.

During a news conference before the hearing, advocates also raised concerns about the process by which the panel has gathered information over the past few months.

Marion Gray-Hopkins, a Prince George’s mother whose son, Gary A. Hopkins Jr., an unarmed college student, was killed in an altercation with police in 1999, said that she has no confidence in the panel’s work.

“I think it’s a dog and pony show,” she said.

The panel has held all its hearings in Annapolis. One town hall was held this past month to receive information from the public, but some who attended said they were not permitted to discuss their recommendations for changing policy, including the LEOBR.

“Having [hearings] in the middle of August in the middle of the day also makes it difficult for regular people to come out and let their voices be heard,” Dennis said, “and that’s who really needs to be heard on this issue, because people every day are having adverse run-ins with police wherein the system of accountability has shown to be broken.”

 

 

 

 

Maryland police union officials oppose changes to rights law

By Michael Dresser The Baltimore Sun

Maryland police unions say the Law Enforcement Bill of Rights is working well.
Representatives of Maryland police unions urged a legislative panel Monday to uphold a law that protects the rights of accused officers, but their managers told the panel they’re open to changes to improve public perceptions.
The differing messages came at a hearing of the General Assembly’s Public Safety and Policing Workgroup on the state’s Law Enforcement Officers Bill of Rights. The law, known as LEOBR, has been the target of critics of the criminal justice system who contend it protects “bad apples” on police forces from internal discipline.
Frank Boston III, legislative counsel for the state Fraternal Order of Police, said the current law is fair and has been working well to protect the public and officers.
“It weeds out the bad police officers, the bad actors and it serves to protect the good officers who are only doing their jobs,” he said.
Boston acknowledged that in the current political climate, with the conduct of police officers a matter of national scrutiny, lawmakers may want to make changes. He said the union would work with the panel as it considers changes to recommend to the legislature.
“We’re not here to be adversarial,” Boston said.
Representatives of their superiors, the state’s police chiefs and sheriffs, testified that the 40-year-old law is in need of revision and signaled that they are sympathetic to some of the changes suggested by such groups as the NAACP and ACLU of Maryland.
Among those revisions is cutting the 10-day period in which an officer suspected of misconduct has to retain a lawyer before they must submit to a departmental disciplinary interrogation. Advocates say the officers don’t need nearly that long to find counsel and say the 10-day rule makes it easier for police to collude on a cover story. FOP representatives contended that collusion simply doesn’t occur and denied any need to change the rule.
The police chiefs and sheriffs staked out a middle ground. Their witnesses said the rule doesn’t impede them significantly because their internal investigators seldom want to interrogate suspected cases until they have thoroughly investigated the case. But they signaled that they’re willing to see a change if it allays public suspicions about the process.
“If the perception from the public is that this is so important to our jobs, let’s make it three days or five days,” said Phil Hinkle, chief of staff to the Charles County Sheriff’s Office. The law, he said, can be improved.
“We have a perception problem that we don’t fire bad cops, but we do fire bad cops,” he said.
The chiefs and sheriffs are working on proposals to revise the law and expect to release them in about 30 days, said Karen J. Kruger, general counsel for the Maryland Chiefs of Police Association.
Other changes being sought by advocates and resisted by the police unions include giving civilians a role in adjudicating police investigations.
Herbert R. Weiner, general counsel for the state FOP, told the panel that fellow police officers are best able to determine whether another office has committed misconduct.
“Who would be the judges of police officers? Plumbers?” he said.
But the Rev. Todd Yeary, legislative chair for the NAACP, had no problem with that.
“The plumber can vote. The plumber can run for public office. The plumber can serve in the General Assembly,” Yeary said. If the plumber can help write laws governing police, he asked, why couldn’t he participate in a trial board.
House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller formed the work group after a legislative session that saw many proposed bills on police reform but little in the way of concrete action. Legislative leaders pointed out that it was the first year of the legislature’s four-year term and that many freshmen legislators were still learning the ropes.
The work group includes senators and delegates of both parties, representing urban, suburban and rural jurisdictions. Among its members are lawmakers with experience as police and prosecutors.
The impetus for police reforms grew after the death of Freddie Gray, 25, of injuries suffered while in Baltimore police custody set off rioting in the city. Six police officers were indicted for their roles in Gray’s arrest and transport, charged with assault and manslaughter — and in the case of one officer, second-degree murder.
The hearing Monday was the work group’s first to focus specifically of the police bill of rights, which spells out protections for officers accused of misconduct. Critics of the law, including the ACLU of Maryland and the NAACP, contend the law go too far in shielding officers in cases of brutality and other misconduct.
Police unions contend the law, first adopted in 1974 but amended many times since, is necessary to protect their members from frivolous charges and to ensure due process.
Kruger told the panel that Maryland became the first state to adopt such a law in the wake of the civil unrest of the late 1960s.
Leading off the hearing with a briefing on the law’s details, Kruger said any law that has been on the books for 40 years needs to be updated, including some made obsolete by technology.
Among the changes she urged was to drop the references in the current law to “police brutality” and to change them to “excessive use of force.”
Del. Curt Anderson, the House co-chair of the work group, said he believes there is a consensus of the panel to make that change. Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat, said that while some advocates might want to do away with the 10-day entirely, the work group is more likely to seek a middle ground.
mdresser@baltsun.com
Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Orioles Tickets Raffle Winner

The winner of the drawing for the 4 tickets to the Baltimore Orioles vs. Minnesota Twins on Sunday, August 23, 2015 @ 1:35 pm is Mike Horner

Congratulations!! You can call the lodge to make arrangements to pick up your tickets.

In August We Remember Three Fallen Heroes

The Anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Bro. Michael Howe is August 11, 2015. .
On the morning of August 10, 2008, Lieutenant Michael Howe was with his tactical unit at the scene of a murder-suicide in Precinct 4/Pikesville. When he returned home after the incident, he suffered a massive stroke and was taken to the hospital. He died on August 11, 2008.
Please remember and honor Bro. Howe by wearing your Memorial Ribbon Bar on each August 11th

The Anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Bro. Samuel Snyder is August 23, 2015. In August of 1983, Corporal Samuel Snyder, a thirty-year veteran of the department, was shot by a deranged subject while responding to a call for assistance from fellow officers in Towson. Corporal Snyder died on August 23, 1983 as a result of his wounds. Please remember and honor Bro. Snyder by wearing your Memorial Ribbon Bar on each August 23rd.

The Anniversary of the line-of-duty death of Bro. Jason Schneider is August 28, 2015. Officer Schneider was fatally wounded On August 28, 2013 while serving a high risk search warrant with his tactical unit in Precinct 1/Wilkens, for a suspect wanted in a shooting. While making entry he was fatally wounded by one of the suspects. Before succumbing to his wounds he, along with another team member, returned fire killing the suspect. Please remember and honor Bro. Schneider by wearing our Memorial Ribbon Bar on each August 28th.

Towson police officer works to ‘maintain calm’

Keenen Green grew up in Parkville. It’s his old neighborhood and he knows it well. Now, in a twist of fate, Green patrols it as a Baltimore County Police Officer assigned to the Towson/ Precinct 6.

“I didn’t always want to be a policeman. When I was in high school, I began looking into careers and the more I read about it, the better it sounded,” said Green, 24.

Green was scheduled to be honored Tuesday by the Baltimore County Police and Community Relations Council as Towson/Precinct 6’s Officer of the Year for 2014. Nominated five times in 2014 as the precinct’s officer of the month, his supervisors chose him three times for that honor.

According to supervisors, wrote Wesley Wood of the police relations council, Green was instrumental in apprehending suspects for, among others, serious assault, first-degree burglary and commercial armed robbery. The most visible case he worked on was the murder at the Welcome Inn in August 2014. Green’s documented information directly led to the arrest of four people involved, including the shooter by the Baltimore County Police Homicide Unit.

Green, the son of Paula and Vernell Green, attended Halstead Academy, a Baltimore County public elementary school, where he credits Gary Dousett, the Baltimore County Police Department’s community outreach officer there, with being as close to a mentor as you can have at that age.

“His attitude, his selflessness” inspired me. “It was a positive experience,” said Green, a graduate of Dumbarton High School Class of 2009, who is studying for an associate’s degree in criminal justice from the Community College of Baltimore County. “Now I work with him.”

At the age of 19, Green was hired as a cadet with the police department, where he worked in the Evidence Management Unit until he reached 21, at which point he entered the Baltimore County Police Academy. Six months later, in June 2013, he was sworn in with the graduating rank of officer. He has since been promoted to officer first class.

Upon graduation, he was assigned to the Towson precinct, where has worked for the past two years. “It’s more than what I thought it would be,” Green said of being a policeman. “It’s a huge shift, a mindset, in how people treat you and how I treat people.”

When he talks about a shift, Green, who is African-American, isn’t referring to race. “Most people — 95 percent — treat you the same way,” regardless of race, he said.

Rather, he is talking about being super-cautious in responding to calls, “to making sure everyone goes home safe — the public and me,” said Green, who often responds to 911 calls.

“It’s usually the worst moment of [the caller’s] life. People are very emotional. I listen to both sides without bias. I maintain a level of calm,” he said.

Green also has a way of communicating in other situations that puts people at ease. “You don’t talk down to people. You treat them with some type or respect, and they’re willing to talk to you,” Green said. For example, during the interrogation of a suspect for one crime, Green found out that the man had witnessed the murder at the Welcome Inn, a key factor in helping to solve that crime.

Each of the 10 police precincts in Baltimore County has a Police and Community Relations Council, neighborhood groups that support the precincts. Each precinct council selects an Officer of the Year for that precinct. Capt. Jay Landsman Jr., commander of the Towson Precinct, provided the Towson council with synopses of 2014’s officers of the month for its decision.

Said Landsmann, “Officer Green has a level of maturity and skill beyond his two years’ experience” on the police force.

“It’s not just finding the bad guys. It’s the way Green does interviews, talks to people on the street and gathers information that assists [other officers] in building a case,” Landsman said.

As for Green, he sees himself staying with the police department and, eventually, segueing into the narcotics unit. “I want to get drugs off the street,” said Green, who is proud to be a police officer.

“It’s been a positive experience. I’ve enjoyed the past two years,” he said.

Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun

Fallen Hero Anniversary Date: Officer Charles A. Huckeba

The anniversary date of the line-of-duty-death of Charles A. Huckeba is Monday, July 6, 2015.

Officer Charles Huckeba was gunned down on July 6, 1977 in the Precinct1/Wilkens area while police were attempting to talk an armed, drug abusing man who was barricaded in his family’s home into surrendering.

Under Departmental regulations Memorial Ribbon Bars may be worn on the uniform, above all other ribbons above the badge, on the anniversary dates of Baltimore County police officers killed-in-the-line-of-duty.

Members are encouraged to honor and remember Charles A. Huckeba by wearing their Memorial Ribbon Bars on July 6th of each year.

Raffle to benefit the Baltimore City Officers Suspended without Pay

We are selling raffle tickets for the Baltimore City officers who are suspended without pay.  All proceeds will go directly to them.  Anyone interested in purchasing a ticket may come to the lodge and make a purchase or send a payment (cash or check made to FOP Lodge #4) to the lodge and we will fill out your information on the ticket(s).  Winners will be notified immediately after the drawing. Tickets are $10 each or 3 for $20.

raffle ticket sample

Maryland’s Highest Court Rules That Records of Police Misconduct Can be Kept From Public

Internal records related to a police officer’s misconduct cannot be disclosed to the public and are exempt from the Maryland Public Information Act, the Court of Appeals ruled Thursday.

The question before the state’s highest court centered on whether citizens have a right to know the outcome and other information about an investigation once misconduct allegations are sustained. In a 5-2 ruling, the court said the law exempts personnel information from disclosure and does not differentiate between “sustained” and “unsustained” complaints.

read the opinion:

http://www.mdcourts.gov/opinions/coa/2015/84a14.pdf

FOP President Canterbury’s Statement on Violence Against Police

FOP: A WEEKEND OF HATE IN REVIEW

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, renewed his call for Congress to expand the existing Federal hate crimes law to include protections for law enforcement officers in the wake of the assault on the Dallas Police Department, an attack on Philadelphia police officers and the shooting of a Florida State Trooper.

“Talking heads on television and inflammatory rhetoric on social media are inciting acts of hatred and violence toward our nation’s peace officers,” Canterbury said. “Our members are increasingly under fire by individuals motivated by nothing more than a desire to kill or injure a cop. Enough is enough!”

“And what is the response from our leaders in Washington? The President and his Administration want to limit our access to anti-ballistic equipment and other surplus gear because it looks too scary,” Canterbury said. “The House passed a spending bill eliminating the program to help communities hire more police officers and refuses to reauthorize a program to help departments buy soft body armor.”

“We need help, we need the right equipment to keep us safe and we need Congress to protect law enforcement officers by expanding the existing hate crimes law to protect police officers.”

Canterbury recounted numerous incidents in the past several days in which law enforcement officers were deliberately targeted for death or injury:

**A gunman armed with assault weapons and explosives used an armored car to get close to the headquarters of the Dallas Police Department and opened fire in an effort to kill law enforcement officers. One of the pipe bombs the assailant had placed outside the building was detonated. Fortunately, no officers were injured in this full-scale assault. Law enforcement officers used .50 caliber rounds to disable the armored vehicle–rounds which new regulations issued by the Obama Administration are now“prohibited” from Federal issuance to State and local agencies.

**Just hours after the incident in Dallas, a gunman opened fire on Philadelphia police officers who were responding to a 911 call. The gunman then barricaded himself in a home resulting in a stand off that lasted several hours. The Philadelphia Police Department deployed a SWAT team and an armored vehicle to protect responding officers. These armored vehicles are now categorized as “controlled equipment” under the Administration’s new guidelines to make them more difficult for local law enforcement to obtain to “soften” the appearance of local law enforcement agencies. While no officers were injured, the gunman killed another man and himself before the incident was resolved.

**In Brevard County, a Florida State Trooper, Lieutenant Channing Taylor, approached a vehicle which was experiencing problems with the headlights while stopped at a gas station. As the driver was producing her drivers’ license, the passenger–a 15-year old boy–drew a handgun and shot Lt. Taylor. The officer returned fire, killing his assailant, and the driver attempted to flee. Lt. Taylor is expected to make a full recovery from his wounds.

“Our nation’s law enforcement officers are in harm’s way–that is the nature of our profession and we understand that goes with the job,” Canterbury said. “Yet we will not allow ourselves to be targets for every would be assassin that wants to make his name by killing a police officer and we deserve the support and respect of our national, State and local leaders.”

“This Administration needs to put public safety ahead of appearance when it comes to equipment programs, the House needs to fund hiring and soft body armor programs and Congress needs to expand the hate crimes law,” Canterbury said. “Summer is not quite here and I do not want to spend it attending funerals for officers killed just because they wear a badge. Enough is enough!”

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.

Injured Baltimore County Officer and Family in Need of Assistance

On May 12, 2015 PFC James Morrison, a 16 year veteran of our agency and a 19 year member of the Maryland Army National Guard, was involved in a serious motorcycle accident which has left him paralyzed from the chest down.

Jim will be undergoing a period of extensive rehabilitation, and he and his family will be facing a series of financial challenges for his care, transportation, and housing modifications.

If you are interested in reading more of Jim’s story and are willing and able to contribute, an online donation www.crowdrise.com/supportforjimmorrison, has been established to raise funds for him and his family.

Donations to Baltimore City Fraternal Order Of Police Lodge #3

Dear Members and Supporters,
The messages of support and encouragement for the officers involved in the situation in Baltimore have been overwhelming. We are extremely grateful and humbled. Along with that support are the many, many people who wish to donate monetarily to support these officers during what appears to be lengthy judicial process. Please know that those donations are very appropriate as these officers will be suffering a loss or reduction of pay and benefits until such time as they are rightfully acquitted.

As often happens during times such as this, there are those who choose to prey on the kindness of others by falsely offering their own methods of donation collection, only to reap the benefit of that generosity for themselves.
As a result, Baltimore City Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #3 is asking the public to be very wary of anyone or any group requesting donations. We are strongly advising that any donations be made to the following organizations as these are the only two with which we are currently associated.
1. Baltimore City FOP, Lodge #3 : By Mail: 3920 Buena Vista Avenue Baltimore, MD 21211 or through a link we have established on our website

Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights is based on basic Constitutional Principles

Over the past several months there has been much discussion about police misconduct, transparency and accountability of officers. This has been magnified by recent national and local events.

There have been outcries from some citizens and politicians blaming Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights (LEOBR) as the cause for these recent events. There has recently been a particular focus in the media and by Baltimore City’s Mayor on statements and interviews of officers after an incident. There have been reports and statements that officers cannot be interviewed about an incident because the LEOBR mandates that an agency cannot interview an officer for ten (10) days. Therefore, investigators cannot get the information needed to complete an investigation. This is simply inaccurate.

There are two separate and distinct investigations involved in situations such as these, a criminal investigation and an administrative investigation. At times they may be parallel but sometimes they conflict and as always, the criminal investigation must take priority.

In a criminal investigation officers have the same rights under the United States Constitution as any other citizen. Just because they are police officers does not mean they lose constitutional rights under the fifth and fourteenth amendments that are afforded to all citizens. They have the same absolute right to remain silent and the right to an attorney for representation and advice. A question often asked to police chiefs is “Why don’t you just order the officer to answer questions or provide a statement?” The answer is that one can order an officer to answer questions and provide a statement. The result would be that none of those responses, no matter how compelling, can be used in court because those statements would be inadmissible under the United States Supreme Court decision Garrity v. New Jersey 1967. Not Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights.

In Maryland, administrative interviews or interrogations of law enforcement officers “for a reason that may lead to disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal” are governed by Public Safety Article 3-104 of the LEOBR. Specifically, 3-104J refers to an officer’s right to representation. An officer “has the right to be represented by counsel or another responsible representative” available for consultation during an interrogation as stated in the United States Supreme Court decision National Labor Relations Board v Weingarten 1975.

An officer may waive that right at any time and begin to answer questions immediately.

If the officer decides to consult with “counsel or another responsible representative” he or she has 10 days to have that representative available and present for an interrogation.

If the officer does not have representation available within the 10 days, the officer forfeits the right to representation and can be compelled to answer all questions. The ten (10) days is a deadline for the officer, not the agency.