Article VIII. Custody and Disposition of Abandoned, Lost or Seized Personal Property
Section 2-27 Purpose and Scope of Article.
The purpose of this Article is to set forth the authority and procedures by which Easton Police Department shall maintain custody over, and dispose of, personal property in its position. It is not intended to affect or modify the laws of the United States of the State of Maryland regarding the definition of contraband or its forfeiture or disposition as those laws pertain to the Town. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-28 Custody.
Unless otherwise provided by law, the Easton Police Department shall maintain custody of any abandoned, lost, or seized personal property that comes into the custody of the Department until the Department determines that the custody is not necessary to any investigation or prosecution or otherwise necessary for the discharge of the Department’s duties. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-29 Return Of Property Other Than Contraband.
Unless otherwise provided by law, after a determination described under Section 2-28, the Department shall (1) return any item of personal property (other than contraband) over which it has custody to the person who: (a) establishes his or her right to possession of said property and (b) gives a written receipt for the item of personal property to the Department; or (2) dispose of such property in accordance with the provisions of this Article. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-30 Notice Regarding Property Other Than Contraband.
Unless otherwise provided by law, the Department shall give notice to the last known address of the person entitled to possession of any item of property (other than contraband) in the custody of the Department (if the identity of such person is known to the Department) by certified mail of the fact that the Department is in custody of such property and that such property is not necessary for any investigation or prosecution or otherwise necessary for the discharge of the Department duties and advising such person that such property may be recovered from the Department after compliance with the requirements of Section 2-29 and payment of any administrative fees or other expenses incurred by the Department in connection with the storage of said property. The notice shall further state that, if the property is not claimed from the Department within 30 days of the date of the notice, the Department shall dispose of the property and the proceeds of such disposition, if any shall be paid to the Town. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-31 Disposition of Unclaimed Property Other than Contraband.
Unless otherwise provided by law, if the person entitled to position of any item of personal property fails to respond to the notice described in the previous section within 30 days from the date that the notice was mailed or if the property is otherwise unclaimed, the Department may dispose of the property in accordance with the following: (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
(a) Cash. All cash shall be delivered to the Town Clerk and deposited in the Town’s General Fund; (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
(b) Firearms and Other Weapons. Any firearm which can be used by the Department in the discharge of its function shall be retained by the Department. The Chief of Police may, at his or her discretion, transfer firearms to other law enforcement agencies if such firearms can be used by said agencies in the discharge of their function. All other weapons (other than collectable weapons) shall be destroyed. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
(c) Collectable Weapons. For the purpose of this section, the term “collectable weapon” means any weapon which, in the judgment of the Chief of Police, because of age, workmanship, or design is not likely to be used for criminal purposes and is suitable for decorative or similar purposes. Collectable weapons shall be sold at public auction pursuant to Section 2-31(e). (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
(d) Toys, Children’s Bicycles and Similar Items. Any toys, children’s bicycles or similar items may be transferred by the Department to one or more tax exempt, non-profit charitable or community organizations serving the residents of the Town. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
(e) Other Tangible Personal Property. The Department shall retain for its own use any item of tangible personal property which will be useful for the Department’s function. All other items of tangible personal property shall either be disposed of as rubbish or sold at public auction under such additional terms and conditions as the Chief of Police determines are appropriate. The proceeds of such auction shall be delivered to the Town Clerk and deposited in the Town’s General Fund. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-32 Disposition of Contraband.
All contraband in the position of the Department shall be forfeited and disposed of in accordance with federal and State law. If federal and / or State law does not provide a procedure for the disposition of a particular item of contraband, the Chief of Police shall determine whether the item shall be destroyed or disposed of in accordance with Section 2-31. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-33 Disposition of Motor Vehicles.
Motor vehicles in the custody of the Department shall be disposed of pursuant to applicable provision of State law. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)
Section 2-34 No Additional Duties Imposed Upon Department; Chief of Police Authorized To Issue Regulation.
The provisions of this Article shall not be interpreted to impose upon the Easton Police Department or the Town of Easton any duty, not otherwise existing, to investigate or attempt to ascertain the identity or whereabouts of any person who is or may be entitled to possession of any item of abandoned, lost, or seized personal property in the custody of the Department. The purpose of this Article is to provide a method by which the Easton Police Department shall maintain custody of and dispose of personal property; it shall not create in any person a cause of action against the Town or any official, agent or employee thereof for failure to follow the terms of this Article. The Chief of Police is authorized to issue such regulations as he or she deems necessary to implement the intention of this Article. (Ordinance 375 effective 8/4/1998)