TITLE 42
State Affairs and Government

CHAPTER 42-28.6
Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights

SECTION 42-28.6-4


§ 42-28.6-4. Right to hearing – Notice request for hearing – Selection of hearing committee.

(a) If the investigation or interrogation of a law enforcement officer results in the recommendation of some action, such as demotion, transfer, dismissal, loss of pay, reassignment, or similar action which would be considered a punitive measure, then, before taking such action, the law enforcement agency shall give notice to the law enforcement officer that he or she is entitled to a hearing on the issues by a hearing committee. The law enforcement officer may be relieved of duty subject to § 42-28.6-13 of this chapter, and shall receive all ordinary pay and benefits as he or she would have if he or she were not charged.

Disciplinary action for violation(s) of departmental rules and/or regulations shall not be instituted against a law enforcement officer under this chapter more than three (3) years after such incident, except where such incident involves a potential criminal offense, in which case disciplinary action under this chapter may be instituted at any time within the statutory period of limitations for such offense.

(b) Notice under this section shall be in writing and shall inform the law enforcement officer of the following:

(i) The nature of the charge(s) against him or her and, if known, the date(s) of the alleged offense(s);

(ii) The recommended penalty;

(iii) The fact that he or she has five (5) days from receipt of the notice within which to submit a written request for a hearing; and

(iv) The name and address of the officer to whom a written request for a hearing (and other related written communications) should be addressed.

(c) The law enforcement officer shall, within five (5) days of his or her receipt of notice given pursuant to subsection (b) herein, file a written request for hearing with the officer designated in accordance with subdivision (b)(iv). Failure to file a written request for a hearing shall constitute a waiver of his or her right to a hearing under this chapter; provided, however, that the presiding justice of the superior court, upon petition and for good cause shown, may permit the filing of an untimely request for hearing.

(d) The law enforcement officer shall provide the charging law enforcement agency with the name of one active or retired law enforcement officer to serve on the hearing committee, within five (5) days of the filing of his or her request for a hearing. Failure by the law enforcement officer to file his or her filing committee selection within the time period shall constitute a waiver of his or her right to a hearing under this chapter; provided, however, that the presiding justice of the superior court, upon petition and for good cause shown, may permit the filing of an untimely hearing committee selection by the officer. The charging law enforcement agency may impose the recommended penalty during the pendency of any such petition.

(e) The charging law enforcement agency shall provide the law enforcement officer with the name of one active or retired law enforcement officer to serve on the hearing committee, within five (5) days of its receipt of the officer's request for a hearing. Failure by the charging law enforcement agency to file its hearing committee selection within that time period shall constitute a dismissal of all charges against the law enforcement officer, with prejudice; provided, however, that the presiding justice of the superior court, upon petition and for good cause shown, and permit the filing of an untimely hearing committee selection by the agency. Except as expressly provided in § 42-28.6-13 of this chapter, no disciplinary action shall be taken against the officer by virtue of the stated charges during the pendency of any such petition.

(f) Within five (5) days of the charging law enforcement agency's selection of a hearing committee member, the hearing committee members selected by the officer and by the agency shall:

(i) Jointly select a third hearing committee member, who shall serve as chairperson of the hearing committee;

(ii) Petition the presiding justice of the superior court to select a third hearing committee member, who shall be an active law enforcement officer, and who shall serve as chairperson of the hearing committee; or

(iii) Agree to an extension of time, not to exceed thirty (30) days, for the selection of a third hearing committee member.

(g) Law enforcement officers selected to serve on a hearing committee under this chapter shall be relieved of duty for each day of actual hearing and shall be compensated by their respective agencies at their ordinary daily rate of pay for each day actually spent in the conduct of the hearing hereunder.

(h) Two (2) lists of active police officers available to serve as chairpersons of hearing committees under this chapter shall be provided annually to the presiding justice of the superior court. One list shall be provided by the Rhode Island Police Chiefs' Association; the other shall be appointed, jointly, by the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Brotherhood of Police Officers. In selecting officers to serve as chairpersons of hearing committees under this chapter, the presiding justice shall alternate between the two (2) lists so provided.

(i) Whenever a law enforcement officer faces disciplinary action as a result of criminal charges, the provisions of subsections (c), (d), (e) and (f) shall be suspended pending the adjudication of said criminal charges.

History of Section.
(G.L. 1956, § 42-28.6-4; P.L. 1976, ch. 186, § 1; P.L. 1995, ch. 19, § 1.)