Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau has ordered every member of the Police Department to sign a new policy meant to clamp down on leaks of sensitive or crucial information, reports the city’s Star Tribune. The new policy comes with heavy penalties for anyone caught improperly accessing or sharing police data, including possible criminal prosecution, loss of their job or both. “It is critical that we maintain the integrity of any investigation,” Harteau wrote in a note accompanying the memo.
Harteau's note, e-mailed Dec. 10, said the release of information on active investigations “has been detrimental” to the department. State law requires the department to release some basic information on any case, such as the date and time of an incident, or the name of any adult cited or arrested, but many details are kept private until criminal charges are filed or the case is submitted to a grand jury for review. The department's policy manual already prohibits employees from releasing information to the media “on any case where the progress of an investigation may be jeopardized by premature media coverage.”