NAACP seeks info on police contract negotiations

DOVER — The president of the NAACP’s Central Delaware branch wants to know more about city police labor negotiations.

La Mar Gunn said he’s also requested information on use of force policies from Dover Police Department and Delaware State Police.

As the new year approached, Freedom of Information Act requests to Dover Police had not yet yielded results, Mr. Gunn said.

Last week, Mr. Gunn said he met with Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen for approximately two hours in Dover and at

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La Mar Gunn

least found law enforcement officials receptive to his concerns regarding use of force policy.

Another meeting is scheduled for Jan. 6, he said.

On Monday via FOIA, Mr. Gunn requested a copy of the proposed labor agreement with the Fraternal Order of Police and the City of Dover.

Dover City Clerk’s Office Administrative Assistant Jody Stein replied within 24 hours, citing Delaware Code that “states that any records involving labor negotiations or collective bargaining shall not deemed public.

“For this reason, we are unable to provide the proposed agreement that you requested.”

Ms. Stein referred Mr. Gunn to the current FOP-City of Dover agreement posted online at www.cityofdover.com/Labor-Contracts and noted that a tentative labor agreement with the FOP is on the draft agenda for consideration at City Council’s regular meeting set for Jan. 11, 2016.

Mr. Gunn then sent an e-mailed letter to Dover City Manager Scott Koenig and city council members which read:

“How do you suppose concerned members of the community can participate, express concerns, and make suitable recommendations if the subject document remains concealed?

“This is contrary to what was discussed, agreed to, and voted on during your last session. Please contact the City Clerk and authorize her to provide the Proposed Agreement.

“Public engagement and transparency require timely disclosure of information and I hope that you agree. Thank you in advance for your prompt reply and action on this matter.”

On Monday, Mr. Gunn filed a FOIA request with the city asking for copies of Dover PD’s Excessive Force Continuum and all Defensive Tactics released lesson plans provided to Dover PD trainees.

On the heels of a not guilty finding of assault against Dover Police Cpl. Thomas Webster IV involving an August 2013 apprehension, Mr. Gunn said is seeking more information city and state law enforcement’s policies and guidelines regarding use of force.

According to state FOIA law, “Within 15 business days from receipt of your request, the City must either provide you with access to records, deny your request, or state that additional time is needed.”

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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