Tonight, in the face of four open federal lawsuits against the Hyattsville City Police Department, the City Council will consider funding a new round of training programs designed to help supervisors spot and put a stop to police misconduct.
The two-and-a-half day training program, entitled Early Warning System: Managing Misconduct for Supervisors, will review the history of police misconduct in the United states as well as law enforcement ethics, police corruption, and early intervention systems to appropriately respond to reports of police misconduct.
The training will also cover police sexual misconduct, examining seven profiles of sexual abuse by police and discussing prevention strategies.
The training also includes a session on how law enforcement offices should respond to reports of police-involved domestic violence.
The class would be led by Steve Rothlien, deputy director for the Public Agency Training Council, which provides a wide range of training services to law enforcement agencies. Rothlien spent 30 years with the Miami-Dade Police Department. By the time he retired in 2005 he was the second highest ranked officer in the department.
The idea for the police misconduct training session sprang from a January 2012 meeting between ranking members of the Hyattsville police department and a representative from the Local Government Insurance Trust, which is essentially the city's insurance agency.
During that meeting, Hyattsville Chief of Police Doug Holland, Acting Capt. Samuel Alexander and Jeff Perkins, a loss control associate with the Local Government Insurance Trust, discussed the three-year track history of lawsuits filed against the city police department.
At the time of the meeting, there were three active federal lawsuits against the Hyattsville police department. Two of them involve allegations of use of excessive force. A third-–filed by a former city police officer-–alleged racial discrimination in the city's promotional process.
A fourth lawsuit, alleging workplace sexual harassment in the city police force, was filed in late June, about six months after the meeting between city police officials and insurance representatives.
At the time of the meeting, an investigation by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission into the workplace culture of the city police department was still open.
Perkins was told of other police training programs conducted by the department, including multicultural sensitivity, interpersonal communications, police ethics and verbal judo training.
But Perkins suggested the new round of training for managers, and urged the police department to apply for grants to fund the program.
The grant application was submitted to the Local Government Insurance Trust in early April. By mid-may, the trust approved a $9,300 grant to fund the training.
The class is slated for late August at the city municipal building. First priority goes to Hyattsville police supervisors and commanders, with the remaining seats open for representatives of other local city police agencies.