Summary: H.R.2537 — 102nd Congress (1991-1992)All Information (Except Text)

There is one summary for H.R.2537. Bill summaries are authored by CRS.

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Introduced in House (06/04/1991)

Law Enforcement Responsibility Act of 1991 - Title I: Police Accreditation - Permits a law enforcement agency (LEA) of a State, unit of local government, or public agency to apply for accreditation. Specifies that applications for accreditation may be filed with the Commission on Accreditation of Law Enforcement Agencies. Directs that: (1) a copy of such application be forwarded by the Commission to an Accreditation Coordinator (AC) at the Department of Justice; and (2) LEA file an application for accreditation in good faith and use good faith efforts to assist with information necessary to process such application.

Authorizes the Attorney General to provide financial and technical assistance to LEAs applying for accreditation, subject to specified amount limitations. Requires: (1) the Attorney General to appoint an AC to assist LEAs seeking Federal assistance in applying for accreditation; and (2) the AC to provide staff to assist LEAs to apply for accreditation and to complete the accreditation process.

Authorizes the AC, upon request, to reimburse an LEA for any administrative costs incurred by the LEA in processing the application, provided that: (1) the LEA has requested assistance from the AC; (2) the AC did not furnish such assistance but did certify the agency as likely to benefit from applying and as eligible for expense reimbursement; and (3) the LEA has successfully completed the accreditation process.

Title II: Civilian Protection in Cases of Police Misconduct - Requires State, local, and public LEAs to have procedures allowing citizen submission of sworn complaints regarding the action, or inaction, of the LEA, law enforcement officers of the LEA, or employees of the LEA.

Requires individual LEAs to provide, at a minimum, that: (1) the general public has access to required forms and information concerning the submission and disposition of sworn complaints; (2) the LEA assist individuals in filing complaints; (3) all complaints are written and an oath is taken regarding the accuracy of the allegations made in a complaint; (4) adequate records are maintained by the agency to allow regular monitoring of the nature and disposition of such cases; (5) the LEA has established written procedures for hearings; and (6) the complainant receives a written report on the final disposition of a complaint.

Specifies that any or all records required under this title may be sealed to prevent public disclosure provided that: (1) good cause has been shown by order of a court of competent jurisdiction; and (2) such order is a public record and states reasons for sealing.

Title III: Law Enforcement Officers' Responsibilities - Specifies that whenever a law enforcement officer (officer) is under investigation for alleged malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of official duty which could lead to possible disciplinary action, demotion, dismissal, suspension, transfer, or criminal charges, the following minimum standards shall apply: (1) within 24 hours of the initiation of any investigation, the officer shall be informed in writing of all charges against such officer, the nature and purpose of the investigation, the name, rank, and command of the person or persons conducting such investigation, and the names of any witnesses testifying, and shall be given the opportunity to review any evidence or testimony relevant to the charges in the possession of the LEA; (2) no adverse inference shall be drawn and no punitive action taken from a refusal of such officer to participate in the investigation or be interrogated; (3) such officer shall be informed in writing, at least 72 hours prior to the interrogation of the date, time, and location of such interrogation, of all persons who will be present, and of the rights established by this Act; (4) no interrogation of any officer shall be conducted except during the officer's regularly scheduled working hours, unless the officer otherwise agrees; (5) any interrogation shall be conducted by one individual, for a reasonable period of time, in a reasonable place, and shall allow for reasonable periods for the rest and personal necessities of such officer; and (6) such officer shall be entitled to the presence of an individual of the officer's choice at any interrogation in connection with the investigation.

Sets forth additional provisions with respect to: (1) notice of disciplinary action; (2) entitlement to a hearing; (3) fair representation of officers on complaint review boards; and (4) protection of officers from retaliation for exercising rights established under this Act.

Specifies that the provisions of this title do not apply to summary discipline, administrative action, or emergency suspension.

Title IV: General Provisions - Grants any citizen or officer the right to recover pecuniary and other damages, including full reinstatement with back pay in the case of an officer, from any individuals or agencies that violate the rights established under this Act.

Specifies that nothing in this Act shall: (1) disparage or impair any other legal remedy with respect to rights established by this Act or any other State or Federal law; or (2) be construed to preempt any State law, collective bargaining agreement, or other established procedures that meet or exceed the minimum requirements set forth by this Act.