Wilmington Releases Partial Information About the Earnings of Police Officers
Posted on 04/04/2012 10:44 am
Mayor James M. Baker said today that the City of Wilmington, acting out of respect for both the public’s right to know and police officers throughout Delaware, has made a partial release of information about the salaries and overtime pay earned by Wilmington police officers. The City is making public the rank of each City officer and the amount of regular pay and overtime earned by each officer.
The Mayor said the City will not release the names of the officers until the City receives guidance on a conflict between the Delaware Freedom of Information Act and the Delaware Police Officer Bill of Rights.
Earlier this month, the Chair of City Council’s Public Safety Committee and the News Journal requested the names of all Wilmington police officers along with the salary and overtime earned by each officer. In preparing responses to those requests, the City Solicitor’s Office became concerned about a potential conflict between the Delaware Freedom of Information Act and Delaware Police Officer Bill of Rights with regard to what information can be released publicly about police officers.
Mayor Baker said while the State FOIA law is clear regarding what information should be released about police officers, the City does not want to act in violation of the following section of the Police Officer’s Bill of Rights:
§ 9202. Disclosure of personal assets.
No officer shall be required or requested to disclose any item of personal property, income, assets, sources of income, debts, personal or domestic expenditures (including those of any member of the officer's household), unless such information is necessary in investigating a violation of any federal, state or local ordinance with respect to the performance of official duties or unless such disclosure is required by state or federal law.
65 Del. Laws, c. 12, § 1; 70 Del. Laws, c. 186, § 1.
The City sought guidance from Office of the Attorney General earlier this month on how to proceed with the requests for information from the Council Member and newspaper but has since been notified by the AG’s Office that it does not issue advisory opinions on these matters.
“At this time, the City will release information that is clearly permitted to be released and then let this matter runs its course in the courts or in the AG’s Office,” said Mayor Baker.
“I repeat what I said a few weeks ago regarding this matter, which is that I personally view the payment of public dollars to police officers as public information,” said the Mayor. “One way or the other though, Wilmington stands ready to be advised as to how to respond to these particular requests for information so that the City appropriately conforms to the public’s right to know and the rights of police officers.”