Senate committee approves task force that would reform police policies

RHODE ISLAND (WLNE) – Rhode Island lawmakers took the first tangible step towards reforming police on Monday.

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously passed a bill that would create a task force to review and recommend policy changes to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

LEOBOR was adopted in Rhode Island in 1976. It has not undergone a substantive review since 1995.

“We don’t want a system in place that protects the bad apples who are abusing the system,” said Senator Harold Metts (D-Providence).

Senator Metts introduced the bill. He said LEOBOR protects officers accused of misconduct because the statute prevents a police chief from putting an officer on leave without pay or firing them. Instead, the officer in question is sent before a panel of three fellow police officers, one of whom the officer under investigation can appoint to the panel, and the panel decides the officer’s fate.

“My hope is that we get the stakeholders together and that we bring balance to the system,” said Metts.

The task force would have 13 members, including three senators, the superintendent of the State Police, a police chief picked by the senate president, the president of the NAACP, and the attorney general.

“I certainly think, that given where we are as a state and county rght now, that to have good voices– voices from all places– considering this issue is a good thing to do and I’m happy to participate,” said R.I. Attorney General Peter Neronha. i

The task force would submit its recommended changes to LEOBOR by February 9th, 2021.

“We certainly don’t want what we’ve been seeing lately to continue,” said Metts.

Before the task force can actually be created, the bill needs to be passed by the full senate.

Categories: News, Politics, Rhode Island