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House Passes Bill Reforming the Police Officer Standards and Training Commission.

House Bill 206 gains the distinction as the last bill that the Repubicans voted on before storming out of the House Chamber in a temper tantrum over the fact that they can’t get corporations the right to vote in local elections so that they can outvote local residents and determine a town’s policy in their favor.

House Bill 206, sponsored by Rep. Kendra Johnson, would overhaul 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 summaries of disciplinary panels’ decisions are public documents. The bill passed 40-0-1.

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. The appointees would be based upon non-binding recommendations from the NAACP, Delaware Center for Justice, and other interested nonprofit organizations.

Under the bill, no governor-appointed public member would be permitted to be a current or former member of law-enforcement or affiliated with law-enforcement.

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.

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.

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.

Last week, the House passed legislation that that would make the first substantive revisions to Delaware’s Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights (LEOBOR) in decades and revamp how officer disciplinary cases are handled and publicly disclosed.

House Bill 205(S) would make numerous changes to LEOBOR, requiring public disclosure of certain findings against officers, mandating the sharing of certain reports with defense attorneys, and other reforms.

Collectively, the two bills build on previous police reform efforts, including requiring officers to use body-worn cameras, establishing a statewide use-of-force standard, banning chokeholds, mandating the recording of custodial interrogations, prohibiting the use of deceptive tactics against juveniles, and mandating a minimum age of arrest and prosecution.

HB 206 now heads to the Senate for consideration. It was laid on the table in the Senate, meaning that the Senate intends to pass the bill today by suspending the rules and bypassing consideration in an appropriate committee.

House SponsorsJohnson, Minor-Brown, Bolden, Cooke, Chukwuocha, Dorsey Walker, Neal, HarrisSenate SponsorsBrown, Lockman, Pinkney
House Yes VotesBaumbach Bolden Bush Carson Chukwuocha Cooke Dorsey-Walker Griffith Harris Heffernan Johnson Lambert Longhurst Matthews Minor-Brown Moore Morrison Neal Osienski Parker-Selby Phillips Romer Schwartzkopf Williams Wilson-Anton // Briggs King Collins Dukes Gray Hensley Hilovsky Morris Postles Ramone Short Shupe Smith Spiegelman Vanderwende YearickSenate Yes Votes
House No Votes – NoneSenate No Votes
House Absents or Not VotingLynnSenate 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.”

“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.”

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