House Substitute 1 for House Bill 205
152nd General Assembly (Present)
Becomes effective upon date of signature of the Governor or upon date specified
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 or sexual harassment; a sustained finding of dishonesty; 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 Council on Police Training. The Act also requires a department to provide information to a complainant or victim of officer misconduct sufficient to reasonably address concerns regarding the investigation and its outcome, including the investigative findings, conclusions, and any recommendations for further action. Finally, the Act requires, upon request of a defendant in a criminal or delinquency case, and through the Department of Justice, all existing 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 officers 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. This Substitute differs from the original House Bill No. 205 as follows: 1. It adds sustained findings that a law-enforcement officer engaged in sexual harassment to the required public disclosures. 2. It broadens the requirement for public disclosures relating to sustained findings of dishonesty. 3. It limits the requirement for public disclosures relating to the discharge of a firearm to those instances where the firearm is discharged at a person. 4. It clarifies that the required disclosures apply to chiefs of police and other high ranking officials. 5. It moves all of the disclosures into a single section (§ 9210). 6. It requires, instead of permitting, that the victim or complainant with respect to misconduct must be told of the conclusion of the inquiry. 7. It clarifies that the public detailed narratives required for certain incidents is a prospective requirement, while disclosures in a criminal or delinquency matter pertain to all relevant existing records. 8. It requires additional disclosures to the defendant of investigations into dishonesty-related misconduct that occurred in the course of the investigation of the pending matter; requires law-enforcement agencies to disclose to the Department of Justice such records; and provides if the investigation finds the allegation unsubstantiated it may not be used in any criminal or delinquency proceeding. 9. Reinforces the duty of the State to preserve and disclose records underlying misconduct dealt with in this chapter. 10. Reverts references to the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission to Council on Police Training. 11. Sets a timeline for the preparation and posting of required public disclosures.
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