Transparency? Hyattsville refuses to talk tasers with Route 1 Reporter

Last year, Leonard Shand was killed in a hail of gunfire by police in Hyattsville after a 30-minute walking standoff. That day, before the shooting, police tried unsuccessfully to tase Shand three times. That aspect of the events leading up to Shand’s death led Route 1 Reporter to file a Public Information Act request with city officials seeking documents quantifying and detailing all taser misfires between January 2010 and December 2018. Earlier this week, after paying $480 in fees (thank you subscribers), Hyattsville officials turned over dozens of pages of use-of-force reports and technical reports filed by city police officers. 

Now, Hyattsville officials say they decline to speak with Route 1 Reporter about the contents of those documents. That should be troubling for government transparency advocates and police reform activists looking for the city to make good on its “commitment to transparency”. 

Already, Hyattsville city officials have been selective with their disclosures about the incident in a cynical attempt to manage public relations.

Prince George’s new fire chief breaks glass ceiling

Prince George’s County’s 13th fire chief is Tiffany Green, the first woman to hold the position. Green was sworn in Tuesday at a ceremony in Upper Marlboro, fetted by county officials including County Executive Angela Alsobrooks. 

Green is a 21-year veteran of the Prince George’s County Fire and EMS Department. She succeeds Benjamin Barksdale, who retired in 2019. 

“When I started in this department in 1999, the concept of a female fire chief was unheard of,” said Green during remarks after her swearing in. “I am honored to be your fire chief. I have sat where you are.

Mount Rainier says pit bull ban is ‘lowest law-enforcement priority’

Mount Rainier City Council approved a measure declaring county laws banning pit bulls to be the ‘lowest law-enforcement priority’ for its city police officers. The measure, approved by a vote of four-to-one at Mount Rainier’s Jan. 14, 2020, meeting, instructs the police department to “deprioritize, to the greatest extent possible” enforcement of the pit bull ban. The measure is the brainchild of freshman City Councilor Scott Cecil, who introduced the resolution in late 2019. He said the measure does not prohibit city police from taking action against an individual harboring a pit bull if a situation warranted such a citation.

Hyattsville won’t share video from fatal police shooting

Hyattsville officials now say they cannot yet share with Mount Rainier officials body camera footage its officers recorded during the events that led to the fatal 2019 police shooting of Leonard Shand. 

In a statement read during Hyattsville’s Jan. 21, 2020, City Council meeting, City Administrator Tracey Douglas said she had been advised against releasing additional information on the incident until after Prince George’s County police completed its investigation into the shooting. Douglas’ statement was a response to a Jan. 6, 2020, request from Mount Rainier City Councilor Scott Cecil to see video from Hyattsville police officers on the scene of Shand’s death. Shand, 49, died after 11 officers, including six from Hyattsville, opened fire him at the end of a half-hour early-morning walking standoff that started Sept.

In firehouse dispute, court sides with Mount Rainier volunteers on key issues

A judge’s ruling clears the way for the Mount Rainier Volunteer Fire Department to return to active, independent service as the Bunker Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company. Where that happens, however, could be another story. A ruling issued Feb. 21, 2019 by Prince George’s County Circuit Court Judge John Davey settles a contentious lawsuit brought by former members of the Mount Rainier Volunteer Fire Department against Prince George’s County fire and rescue officials and the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department. “The Bunker Hill Volunteer Fire And Rescue Co.

Update: Suspect arrested for Hyattsville murder

Prince George’s County Police have arrested a suspect connected to a Jan. 30, 2019, murder in Hyattsville. This is the sixth homicide to be reported in Prince George’s County since the start of 2019. According to a notice from the Hyattsville City Police Department, officers responded to a call for a possible fight at 3700 Hamilton Street around 1:35 a.m. on Jan. 30, 2018.