AN ACT TO AUTHORIZE THE USE OF CITIZEN REVIEW BOARDS TO INVESTIGATE OR REVIEW ALLEGATIONS OF CERTAIN MISCONDUCT BY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.
Enacts new GS 160A-289.3 allowing a city, by ordinance, to establish a citizen review board (board) to review appeals of disciplinary actions involving allegations of misconduct by law enforcement officers employed by that city's law enforcement agency. Requires the ordinance to specify at least: (1) the composition of the board, which must be between five and 11 members; (2) the qualifications to serve on the board, which must at least include seven specified qualifications including that no member may be employed by the city, each member must attend a citizen's academy and must have completed a ride-along with a law enforcement officer within one year; (3) the procedure for appointing members to the board with must include application to the city and unanimous approval by the city council; and (4) the manner in which board hearings are to be held. Members serve for a term of two years and must not serve two consecutive terms. Sets out provisions for member removal, election of a chairman, and the calling of meetings. Requires members to sign confidentiality agreements, the violation of which is punishable as a Class 1 misdemeanor, up to a $1,000 fine, and cause for removal.
Allows a law enforcement officer and any person involved in a hearing before the board to be represented by an attorney at the hearing. Does not give the board subpoena power, and does not allow the board to review appeals of decisions by the city manager or city governing board.
Subject to federal law restrictions, requires the head of the law enforcement agency employing the officer alleged to have committed misconduct to give the board personnel files and other material necessary to complete its investigation.
Provides that any finding or recommendation by the board as to disciplinary action is not binding on the head of the law enforcement agency or the city employing the officer and is confidential.
Requires the board to make a semiannual and an annual report of its actions to the head of the law enforcement agency in the city that established the board and to the city's governing board; the report is public record.
Prohibits using state funds to establish or operate a board.
Specifies that a board does not have the authority to investigate or review allegations of misconduct by law enforcement officers employed by a county police department or sheriff's department, by a company police agency, by a campus police agency, or by a special agency created by the State.
Preempts conflicting local acts.
Defines terms that are used in the statute.
Effective October 1, 2019.