Philadelphia Clarifies Police Detention Policy After Officer Confusion


The Philadelphia Police Department has issued a “clarification” missive to officers about the department’s new interview and interrogation policy, which went into effect on Jan. 1, reports the Philadelphia Daily News. The memo noted that “it is entirely reasonable under the Fourth Amendment to temporarily detain all persons found at a crime scene. It is also expected.”

The three-page note makes it clear that temporarily detaining people at a crime scene wouldn’t conflict with a passage in Directive 151, the new interview policy, which states that a complainant or witness can refuse to be taken from a crime scene to a detective division for questioning. “There was some confusion,” said Capt. Francis Healy, who crafted the policy with the help of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Pennsylvania Innocence Project. Healy heard that some unhappy cops were “taking things to the nth degree” and emphasizing that witnesses could leave. Several investigators said the new policy could make it more difficult to solve violent crimes.

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