House Bill 205
152nd General Assembly (Present)
If original bill has not been considered in committee, the substitute takes place of original bill. If original bill has been considered in committee, the substitute will be assigned to committee for consideration.
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER BILL OF RIGHTS.
This Act makes a number of revisions to the Law-Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights in Title 11 of the Delaware Code. It adds part-time officers to the coverage of the chapter. It distinguishes between formal investigations and informal inquiries, but requires that even informal inquiries must comport with federal and State law, including NLRB v. J. Weingarten, Inc., 420 U.S. 251 (1975) and Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967). This Act requires that a detailed narrative of an internal investigation must be prepared by an investigating agency and publicly posted in any case involving use of force that results in serious physical injury; the discharge of a firearm; a sustained finding of sexual assault; a sustained finding of dishonesty related to the reporting, investigation, or prosecution of a crime, or to the reporting, or investigation of, misconduct by another law-enforcement officer; or a sustained finding of domestic violence. Further, it requires that an investigation into officer misconduct must be completed, regardless of the employment status of the officer. I.e., even if an officer resigns or retires while an investigation is pending, the department must complete the investigation and report sustained findings of misconduct to the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission. The Act also allows a department to provide information to a complainant or victim of officer misconduct sufficient to reasonably address concerns regarding the investigation and its outcome. Finally, the Act requires, upon request of a defense attorney in a criminal or delinquency case, and through the Department of Justice, all records relating to sustained findings of misconduct relating to perjury, intentional false statements or false reports, or destruction, falsification, or concealment of evidence by an officer who participated in the investigation or prosecution. It also provides that law-enforcement officer’s must be required, upon hire, to sign an agreement allowing the hiring agency to provide copies of that officer’s personnel file and disciplinary and investigative records with any other law-enforcement agency that makes an offer or conditional offer of hire to that officer in the future. The CJC will aggregate and post all of the narratives required to be prepared under this chapter on its website, along with an annual report of the following: (1) The number of public complaints and internal complaints relating to police misconduct that the department received each year, broken down by subject matter of the complaint; (2) The number of formal investigations undertaken by the department each year, and the number of complaints resolved without a formal investigation; (3) The number of formal investigations that resulted in a sustained finding of misconduct, an unsubstantiated finding, or any other disposition. Records relating to any incident for which a detailed narrative is required to be prepared and posted must be preserved for at least 25 years.
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Takes effect upon being signed into law