Hyattsville Administrator: Bringing officers back was right decision in pandemic

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Hyattsville City Administrator Tracey Douglas addressed the full-duty re-activation of several police officers involved in the still-under-investigation fatal shooting of Leonard Shand in 2019.

Douglas’ comments, during Hyattsville’s April 22 City Council meeting, came in response to a prompt from Councilor Joseph Solomon to address the decision, which was conveyed to City Council after its April 6 meeting and disclosed to the media in an April 14 press release.

“That was a decision that the chief of police made. It was an important decision. It was a very difficult decision that she grappled with. But it was necessary to make sure we can continue to keep our community safe,” said Douglas during the virtual meeting. “We did bring those officers back on duty. They’re excited to support the community and we think this was the right decision based on the current environment.”

City officials, in their announcement the officers would be re-activated, said the move was necessary because the coronavirus outbreak was exacerbating pre-existing staffing shortfalls within the department.

Douglas said the city does not know when the Prince George’s County Police Investigation of Shand’s final moments will be complete.

Last week, some Hyattsville police operations had to be moved to a mobile command center after the building was completely closed down when a janitor who recently worked in the building contracted coronavirus.

The city is employing some countermeasures to maintain police operations. The city police department has partnered with the Energetics Technology Center to pilot a “decontamination station” to methodically and thoroughly clean police equipment, clothing and vehicles after each officer’s shift. Since April 10, police have begun using a tent outside of the City Administration Building on Gallatin Street where this decontamination process takes place. ETC, an Indian Head-based nonprofit military research & development firm with a 2018 $5.7 million budget funded entirely government grants and in particular by Naval Sea Systems Command contracts to conduct applied research for such things as undersea warheads.  

Editor’s note:Route 1 Reporter is – normally – a subscriber-supported local news website. Due to the state of emergency, articles about the coronavirus pandemic will be available for free. If you like the reporting, please support Route 1 Reporter on Patreon.

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