Bill Summary for H 399 (2021-2022)

Summary date: 

Mar 24 2021

Bill Information:

View NCGA Bill Details2021
House Bill 399 (Local) Filed Wednesday, March 24, 2021
AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE CITY OF ASHEVILLE TO ESTABLISH A LAW ENFORCEMENT CIVILIAN OVERSIGHT BOARD.
Intro. by Fisher, Ager, Turner.

View: All Summaries for BillTracking:

Bill summary

Applicable to the City of Asheville only, enacts GS 160A-289.3, authorizing the city to establish, by ordinance, a law enforcement civilian oversight board (board) to review excessive force by law enforcement officers. Lists required content of the ordinance, including designating board composition of five to seven members and stating member qualification. Provides parameters for member qualification, including a ride-along requirement, completion or attesting to complete a citizen academy, and submission to a criminal background check. States disqualifications, including current city employees and former city employees employed in the preceding seven years, immediate family members of a law enforcement officer employed by the city, and persons with any felony conviction, or a Class A1 misdemeanor conviction in the preceding seven years. Also requires the ordinance to provide for appointment following application to and approval by the governing body, and the procedure for hearings. 

Provides for two-year terms and prohibits members from serving consecutive terms. Provides for member vacancies. Requires signing a confidentiality agreement upon appointment, with failure to sign or breach of the agreement constituting a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 and automatic removal from the board upon conviction. Provides for reimbursement of member expenses. Requires selecting a chair every two years, with meetings called as necessary.

Charges the board to (1) conduct confidential reviews of law enforcement agency investigations into allegations of excessive force by law enforcement officers, with presentation by specified law enforcement personnel; and (2) to make findings and recommendations to be considered by the head of the law enforcement agency prior to the agency head's final decision as to whether a law enforcement officer employed excessive force in a given case, including whether the office complied with the department's policies and recommended disciplinary action as appropriate. Requires the chief of police to make the officer's personnel file available to the board and any relevant body camera footage or other necessary material as determined by the chief. Requires the board to maintain confidentiality of the information provided, with failure to do so constituting a Class 2 misdemeanor punishable by up to $1,000 and automatic removal from the board upon conviction. 

Deems board meetings confidential and provides for restricted access to the meetings. Provides for the chief of police to appoint an advisor. Allows for the subject officer to submit a written statement to the board. Explicitly states that the board is not granted the power of subpoena; the board cannot conduct a review of any other matters; and the board cannot call or interview witnesses except appropriate law enforcement personnel and appointed advisors. Deems written findings and recommendations of the board a personnel record and confidential.

Requires the board to report semiannually and annually on its actions to the chief of police and the governing body, with required information prescribed by ordinance. Deems reports public record. Prohibits using State funds to establish or operate the board. Makes the act's provisions supersede any conflicting local acts. 

© 2021 School of Government The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

This work is copyrighted and subject to "fair use" as permitted by federal copyright law. No portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the express written permission of the publisher. Distribution by third parties is prohibited. Prohibited distribution includes, but is not limited to, posting, e-mailing, faxing, archiving in a public database, installing on intranets or servers, and redistributing via a computer network or in printed form. Unauthorized use or reproduction may result in legal action against the unauthorized user.

Printer-friendly: Click to view