After Police Shooting, an Investigation Has Been Opened Into an Officer From a Small MD. Police Agency!

After Police Shooting, an Investigation Has Been Opened Into an Officer From a Small MD. Police Agency!

In the wake of a recent officer-involved shooting on Monday, April 15, an investigation has been initiated regarding an officer from the Forest Heights Police Department. The incident unfolded when one of their officers reportedly shot and injured a man who was wanted in a neighboring county, purportedly brandishing a knife as he approached law enforcement.

Deputy Chief Kirk Banton addressed the media briefly, stating, “I’m not going to be answering any questions,” following a concise statement.

Further details have since emerged. The wounded individual has been identified as 35-year-old Johmari Delevante, according to a statement released by the Prince George’s County Police. Delevante was allegedly carrying a “multi-tool” equipped with various tools, including knives, pliers, and screwdrivers. The Forest Heights PD, in conjunction with the Montgomery County Police, reported that Delevante was wanted for allegedly ramming a police car in Rockville the morning prior.

Forest Heights police have pledged to release body camera footage within the coming week.

The Forest Heights Police Department is among 19 predominantly small municipal police departments in Prince George’s County, ranging from District Heights to Bowie to Glenarden. This stands in contrast to Montgomery County, which houses four municipal departments.

Demterious Harris, the Police Chief in Seat Pleasant, emphasized the crucial role played by these small departments in providing community-oriented policing. “I focus a lot on community engagement and really knowing our residents,” he stated. “Knowing the stakeholders, not just residents, the business owners, everyone who has a role here.”

However, municipal departments have not been without their challenges. In Fairmount Heights, a scandal erupted four years ago, resulting in an officer being charged with rape, several suspensions, and the dismissal of the chief by the town council. This left only one officer available to respond to service calls in the entire department.

Devan Martin, a former chief of a municipal department in the county, emphasized the importance of these smaller departments, particularly in areas where the Prince George’s County Police Department is stretched thin. “I think the good outweighs the bad,” he remarked. “I think the quality of the level of policing, the intimacy level of it, it’s a little bit better because of the smallness and nimbleness.”

Chief Harris of Seat Pleasant echoed similar sentiments, expressing a commitment to improving response times and meeting the needs of residents through localized law enforcement services.

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