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HB 206 – Creating the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission

House Bill 206, sponsored by Rep. Kendra Johnson, would revamp the Council on Police Training, renaming it the Police Officer Standards and Training (POST) Commission. The panel has a dual role of establishing training standards for Delaware police officers and overseeing allegations of police officer misconduct and conducting hearings for possible suspensions or de-certifications. HB 206 would clarify that decisions of disciplinary panels are public documents.

The bill would increase the number of governor-appointed public members to the commission from two to three and institute eligibility standards for them. One would be required to be a religious leader from the community who has experience with re-entry, and two members must be impacted directly or are immediate family members or caregivers of those impacted by the juvenile or adult criminal justice system.

In addition to its existing powers to suspend or revoke an officer’s certification, the commission would be able to take action in cases where an officer has been decertified in another jurisdiction or has received probation before judgment with respect to a felony or any criminal offense involving theft, fraud, or violation of the public trust, or of any drug law.

The commission also would have the authority to issue subpoenas for witnesses, documents, physical evidence or other evidence needed in connection with a hearing.

HOUSE BILL 206 CREATING THE POLICE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING COMMISSIONCurrrent Status – House Public Safety & Homeland Security 6/2/23
House SponsorsJohnson, Minor-Brown, Bolden, Cooke, Chukwuocha, Dorsey Walker, Neal, HarrisSenate SponsorsBrown, Lockman, Pinkney
House Yes VotesSenate Yes Votes
House No VotesSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingSenate Absent or Not Voting

“The Council on Police Training plays a vital role in shaping police standards, training and discipline across the state. But an important voice has been missing: those who are intimately involved with or have been impacted by the criminal justice system. HB 206 addresses that by ensuring that public members of the commission have that experience and can bring it to the process,” said Rep. Johnson. “The bill also will address longstanding goals by requiring local accountability boards and increasing transparency and public access to various records, reports and data. These changes will allow the public to play a more direct role in holding officers accountable.”

HB 206 also would require that all police departments establish, either individually or in combination with other departments, police accountability boards to provide advice to departments on policy, training and other issues relating to or affecting the department and the communities served by the department.

Similar to the proposed POST Commission itself, the local boards would be recommended to include at least one religious leader from the community and at least two public members who have been impacted directly or are immediate family members or caregivers of those impacted by the juvenile or adult criminal justice system.

“The Delaware Legislative Black Caucus’ ‘Justice For All Agenda’ created the Law Enforcement Accountability Task Force and from its recommendations legislation has been passed to ban strangleholds, establish body camera requirements, prohibit the release of  juvenile mug shots, redefined the use of force directive and added serious physical injury eligibility for the review of cases, amongst other police reforms,” said Sen. Darius Brown, the lead Senate sponsor of HB 206.

“The Police Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST) continues the work of the ‘Justice For All Agenda’ during the 152nd General Assembly.”

HB 206 would require that every police agency in the state is accredited by the Delaware Police Accreditation Commission by July 1, 2028. This would standardize many police policies and procedures across all 52 law enforcement agencies in the state, making Delaware the first state in the nation to mandate accreditation for all police departments.

The bill also would implement several technical changes that would untether the commission from the Delaware State Police. The commission also would be required to double its number of meetings to four annually.

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