RI lawmakers call for full repeal of Law Enforcement Bill of Rights

 

PROVIDENCE, RI (WLNE) – State lawmakers gathered Thursday in Providence to raise awareness of their proposed legislation that calls for a full repeal of the state’s Law Enforcement Bill of Rights aka LEOBOR.

Rhode Island Sen. Tiara Mack is the primary sponsor of Senate Bill 773 and is co-sponsored by Mack’s fellow Democrat State Senators Sam Bell and Jonathon Acosta.

Under LEOBOR an officer can only be suspended for two days. But Mack’s bill would call for a suspension for up to 14 days.

Sen. Mack’s legislation would also give police chiefs the ability to determine appropriate action when disciplining an officer.

LEOBOR’s protocol for discipline requires a hearing panel of three people:

  • 1 chosen by the police chief
  • 1 by the accused police officer
  • 1 “neutral” part chosen by agreement between the other 2 panelists

This LEOBOR discipline protocol has been previously under criticism by Providence’s own Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare.

“We’re only one of a dozen of states that have an officer bill of rights,” Pare told ABC6 in 2020. “We are the only state that I know of that strips the authority from the police chief in making decisions on discipline and we need to change that.”

Senate Bill 773 would call for that panel to consist of 5 people:

  • 3 “civilian arbitrators”
  • 1 chosen by the police chief
  • 1 by the accused officer

In 2020, a 13-member Rhode Island legislative task force gathered to review and make recommendations for Rhode Island’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights.

In December of 2020, that task force announced their recommended changes to LEOBOR.

Sen. Harold Mets led that task force but was defeated Sen. Mack in the 2020 election.

Rhode Island is the only state in New England to have LEOBOR.

 

Categories: News, Politics, Rhode Island