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Anne Arundel County Police - Public Information Request - December 17, 2021

On October 1, 2021, the Maryland General Assembly enacted the Maryland Police Accountability Act. While the law makes some administrative or criminal investigations of misconduct by a police officer public, other records pertaining to technical infractions remain exempt from release. Since the legislature and courts have not yet provided guidance on the terms used in this definition, agencies are left to use their best judgment to determine whether a record involves a technical infraction, creating implementation challenges.

A technical infraction is defined as a minor rule violation by an individual solely related to the enforcement of administrative rules that do not involve an interaction between a member of the public and the individual; does not relate to the individual’s investigative enforcement, training, supervision or reporting responsibilities; and is not otherwise a matter of public concern. We are working tirelessly with our records management team and our Office of Law to ensure that what we release adheres to all laws governing the release of otherwise privileged information.

The Anne Arundel County Police Department averages nearly 5,000 requests for department records per month. Since the implementation of our Body Worn Camera (BWC) Program in July, we receive approximately 1,000 additional requests per month for BWC footage.

All of these requests must be reviewed and manually redacted prior to release to protect personal privacy, including medical, witness, juvenile and complainant information. Because this law is an unfunded mandate, it creates significant operational burdens on the department’s civilian staff. To compensate, it was necessary for the Department to hire additional contractual workers. Employees, both sworn and civilian, have also been reassigned from their normal operational duties to satisfy these requests within the time constraints required by law. 

Our goal is to meet the requirements of the law while continuing to fulfill the needs of the community we serve. We understand that being transparent is essential to public trust and we thank you for your patience as we continue to work to meet the legislative intent of this new law. 

For more information on the Maryland Police Accountability Act see the below link:

https://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2021RS/Chapters_noln/CH_62_sb0178e.pdf

For more information on how to file an MPIA and the potential associated fees see the below link:

https://www.aacounty.org/departments/police-department/central-records/pia-request/index.html

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