Vote Tracker

HB 205 – Reforming the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR)

Sponsored by Rep. Minor-Brown, House Bill 205 would make numerous changes to the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights, also known as LEOBOR. The bill would distinguish between formal investigations and informal inquiries but require that both follow federal and state law. It would establish “sustained findings,” defined as a violation of law, rule, policy, regulation or guideline determined by a “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning more probably true than not.

House Bill 205 would require an investigating agency prepare a detailed report of its internal investigation and publicly post it in any case involving:

  • An officer’s discharge of a firearm.
  • An officer’s use of force that results in serious physical injury.
  • 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.
  • A sustained finding of domestic violence.

The reports would be posted on the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission’s (currently the Council on Policy Training) website.

The bill also would rename LEOBOR to Police Officer’s Due Process, Accountability, and Transparency.

HB 205 also would require that an investigation into officer misconduct be completed and sustained findings reported, regardless of their employment status, including whether the officer has resigned or retired during the investigation.

The bill also requires that defense attorneys in a criminal or delinquency case be provided – at their request – 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.

Additionally, HB 205 would require each law enforcement agency to annually submit its detailed narratives to the Criminal Justice Council, which would publicly post those public reports. The agencies also would annually submit additional information to CJC to be publicly posted:

  • 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.
  • The number of formal investigations undertaken by the department each year, and the number of complaints resolved without a formal investigation.
  • 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.

HOUSE BILL 205REFORMING THE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER’S BILL OF RIGHTSCurrrent Status – House Public Safety & Homeland Security 6/2/23
House SponsorsMinor-Brown, Johnson, Bolden, Cooke, Chukwuocha, Dorsey Walker, Neal, HarrisSenate SponsorsLockman, Brown, Pinkney
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

“The bills we’re filing today represent an important step forward in criminal justice reform, a fight we began nearly three years ago to the day to seek systemic change and tackle injustices and inadequacies in our laws. We have made significant progress through the Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ Justice for All Agenda, and this is another piece,” said House Majority Whip Melissa Minor-Brown, the lead sponsor of the bill revising the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

“There have been numerous conversations, attempts and false starts at moving forward with LEOBOR reform on both sides of Legislative Hall. What we have brought forward is serious, meaningful legislation that will make a real impact. These bills will increase transparency and public reporting, hold officers accountable, formalize the entire process, and give people who have been part of the criminal justice system a voice and a seat at the table.

“As a Black woman whose family members have had encounters with law enforcement and the criminal justice system, I understand the real challenges our community faces and the need to fix these problems. I also know how critical it is to take those first steps and build a base as we continue to pursue more reforms. These bills move us forward and end years of stagnation on this issue.”

“Three years have passed since George Floyd’s murder sparked the greatest civil unrest our state has seen in decade, and three years have passed since we vowed to address the systemic racial injustice and police brutality that have impacted people of color for far too long,” Senate Majority Whip Elizabeth Tizzy Lockman, the Senate prime sponsor of HB 205.

“Since that day, we have banned police from using chokeholds, made body cameras mandatory and required a video record of all police interrogation,” she said. “And now, three years later, the time has finally come for us to take the next meaningful step toward fulfilling our promise to remove the systemic barriers that continue to protect law enforcement officers when they betray the public’s trust. Our communities and the police officers who protect them deserve better. That’s why I am committed to getting these bills signed into law this year.”

“Every year that passes without progress on this issue is another year that Delaware’s police records laws remain some of the least transparent in America,” said Attorney General Kathy Jennings. “I’ve been working in support of this effort for more than three years and I’ve seen firsthand how hard and how persistently all sides have worked to come to this agreement. I applaud the strong collaboration between the legislature, law enforcement, and the communities we serve. This bill represents historic progress in our state’s efforts to open up the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights and proves that even on contentious issues, progress is always possible.”

Delaware politics from a liberal, progressive and Democratic perspective. Keep Delaware Blue.

1 comment on “HB 205 – Reforming the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR)

  1. cassandram

    Talk about baby steps. At the end of the day, these changes still leave far too much specifically hidden from the citizens who pay for the police. There’s no way that any part of the Black caucus should be talking about this as a win for anyone — certainly not as long as the people who need better transparency AND accountability won’t get it here.

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