Policy for Responding to a Request for Assistance by Federal Authorities under the Patriot Act

10/27/2003

 

In keeping with Greenbelt’s Community Pledge "to foster a community which is respectful, safe and fair for all people," the City Council reaffirms the City’s commitment to human rights and civil liberties. The City recognizes and values the social, religious and ethnic diversity of our residents. Greenbelt does not engage in any discriminatory behavior, or racial/religious profiling in its practices or programs.

The City strongly supports and defends constitutionally protected rights including:

- freedom of religion, speech, assembly and privacy

- protection from unreasonable searches and seizures

- due process and equal protection to any person

- equality before the law and presumption of innocence

- access to counsel in proceedings

- the right to a speedy and public trial

City employees are reminded of these important principles and directed to practice them when carrying out their duties. The City is concerned that certain provisions of the Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56) may undermine these principles.

Below is a procedure for responding to any requests for City assistance under the Patriot Act.

1. If a Federal authority makes a request for City staff assistance under the Patriot Act (Public Law 107-56), the Employee should:

a. Ask for identification.

b. Ask for legal documentation (subpoena, search warrant, etc.) as appropriate.

c. Immediately alert and direct the individual to the Department Head.

d. If the employee’s Department Head is not available, the staff member should contact the City Manager.

e. Advise the Department Head/City Manager if the individual has presented identification and a search warrant or subpoena.

f. During evenings and weekends, the Department Head should be contacted at home or via mobile telephone. 

2. The Employee should record the Federal authority’s name, agency and nature of the documentation (If possible, make photocopies.) If valid identification is not provided, the Employee should refuse to comply or cooperate further and so advise the Authority. The matter should be referred to the Department Head for further handling.

3. If the Employee is unable to contact the Department Head/City Manager, then the Employee should comply as outlined below:

a. If the request does not require immediate handling, then the Employee should inform the authority that he is referring the matter to his Department Head.

b. If the request requires immediate handling, then the Employee should respond, using their best judgment regarding the legality and reasonableness of the request, by either:

(i) Complying and cooperating with the request; or

(ii) If the Employee believes the request to be illegal, then he/she should refuse to cooperate and provide the reason for the refusal.

c. Following either 4a or 4b, the Employee should contact the Department Head/City Manager as soon as possible to advise them of the situation.

4. A Department Head should contact the City Manager as soon as possible when he/she is notified of a request under the Patriot Act.

5. The City Manager will inform the City Council as soon as possible when he is notified of a request under the Patriot Act.