Senate Substitute 1 for Senate Bill 149

151st General Assembly (Present)

Bill Progress

Out of Committee 3/21/22
Reported from Committee; to list ready for consideration (Ready List)

Bill Details

3/21/22
AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 11 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO THE LAW-ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS’ BILL OF RIGHTS.
Currently, Delaware is in the minority of states that bar public access to police misconduct records, and is the only state in the country with a specific confidentiality clause in its Law-Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (“LEOBOR”). Under Delaware's LEOBOR (Chapter 92 of Title 11 of the Delaware Code) police misconduct records are secret and not accessible to the media or the public. This information is tremendously important. Law-enforcement officers are pillars of their community and often the most significant witnesses in criminal trials, where defendants can sometimes face the rest of their lives in prison. This Act would ensure that the public will have access to all serious and substantiated records of law-enforcement misconduct making our criminal justice system fairer and improving trust within our community. Public access, through Delaware’s Freedom of Information Act (Chapter 100 of Title 29 of the Delaware Code), will increase transparency and allow for more meaningful oversight. This Act adds affirmative language to LEOBOR that serious and substantiated law-enforcement disciplinary records are public records. And, this Act makes clear that the only materials that are released relate to disciplinary issues, and do not include personal information. Additionally, this Act makes changes to LEOBOR to increase transparency by enabling the creation and operation of effective community review boards at the State, county, and municipal level. These boards are critical to increasing public trust in the criminal justice system. Finally, this Act makes technical corrections to conform existing law to the standards of the Delaware Legislative Drafting Manual.
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