Delaware Code > Title 11 > Chapter 92 > § 9200 - Limitations on political activity; "law-enforcement officer" defined; rights of officers under investigation
Current as of: 2011
(a) A law-enforcement officer within a jurisdiction in this State has the same rights to engage in political activity as are afforded to any other person. The right to engage in political activity shall not apply to any law-enforcement officer while on duty or when acting in an official capacity or while in uniform.
(b) For purposes of this chapter a "law-enforcement officer" is defined as a police officer who is a sworn member of the Delaware State Police, of the Wilmington City Police Department, of the New Castle County Police, of the University of Delaware Police Division, the Delaware State University Police Department, of the police force established by the Delaware River and Bay Authority, or of the police department, bureau of police or police force of any incorporated municipality, city or town within this State or who is a sworn uniformed police or enforcement officer of the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control or of the Delaware State Capital Police, or a Probation and Parole Officer of the Department of Correction or a State Fire Marshall Deputy or a state detective or special investigator of the Department of Justice, an agent of the State Office of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs or an agent of the State Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Enforcement; provided, however, that this chapter shall not apply to the Superintendent or Deputy Superintendent of the Delaware State Police, or to any officer above the rank of Captain in the Delaware State Police, or to the chief of police of any police force in this State, or to any other officer who is the highest ranking officer in the law-enforcement agency. Furthermore, no law-enforcement officer not a member of 1 of the above agencies shall be covered by this chapter.
(c) Whenever a law-enforcement officer is under investigation or is subjected to questioning for any reason which could lead to disciplinary action, demotion or dismissal, the investigation or questioning shall be conducted under the following conditions:
(1) The questioning shall be conducted at a reasonable hour, preferably at a time when the officer is on duty unless the gravity of the investigation in the opinion of the investigator is of such degree that immediate questioning is required.
(2) The questioning shall take place at the agency headquarters or at the office of the local troop or police unit in which the incident allegedly occurred as designated by the investigating officer or unless otherwise waived in writing by the officer being investigated.
(3) The law-enforcement officer under investigation shall be informed of the name, rank and command of the officer in charge of the investigation. All questions directed to the officer shall be asked by and through no more than 2 investigators. No formal complaint against a law-enforcement officer seeking dismissal or suspension or other formal disciplinary action shall be prosecuted under departmental rule or regulation unless the complaint is supported by substantial evidence derived from an investigation by an authorized member of the department.
(4) The law-enforcement officer under investigation shall be informed in writing of the nature of the investigation prior to being questioned.
(5) Interview sessions shall be for reasonable periods of time. There shall be times provided for the officer to allow for such personal necessities and rest periods as are reasonably necessary.
(6) Except upon refusal to answer questions pursued in a valid investigation, no officer shall be threatened with transfer, dismissal or other disciplinary action.
(7) A complete record, either written, taped or, if taped, transcribed as soon as practicable, shall be kept of all interviews held in connection with the administrative investigation upon notification that substantial evidence exists for seeking an administrative sanction of the law-enforcement officer. A copy of the record shall be provided to the officer or the officer's counsel at the officer's expense upon request.
(8) If the law-enforcement officer under interrogation is under arrest or may reasonably be placed under arrest as a result of the investigation, the officer shall be informed of the officer's rights, including the reasonable possibility of the officer's arrest prior to the commencement of the interrogation.
(9) Upon request, any officer under questioning shall have the right to be represented by counsel or other representative of the officer's choice, who shall be present at all times during the questioning unless waived in writing by the investigated officer. The questioning shall be suspended for a period of time if the officer requests representation until such time as the officer can obtain the representative requested if reasonably available.
(10) An officer who is charged with violating any departmental rules or regulations, or the officer's representative, will be provided access to transcripts, records, written statements, written reports, analyses and video tapes pertinent to the case if they are exculpatory, intended to support any disciplinary action or are to be introduced in the departmental hearing on the charges involved. Upon demand by the officer or counsel, they shall be produced within 48 hours of the written notification of the charges.
(11) At the conclusion of the administrative investigation, the investigator shall inform in writing the officer of the investigative findings and any recommendation for further action.
(12) All records compiled as a result of any investigation subject to the provisions of this chapter and/or a contractual disciplinary grievance procedure shall be and remain confidential and shall not be released to the public.
(d) Unless otherwise required by this chapter, no law-enforcement agency shall be required to disclose in any civil proceeding, other than those brought by a citizen against a law-enforcement officer alleging that the officer breached the officer's official duties and that such breach resulted in injury or other damage to the citizen, any:
(1) Personnel file; or
(2) Internal affairs investigatory file compiled in connection with a law-enforcement officer under investigation or subjected to questioning for any reason which could lead to disciplinary action, demotion, or dismissal.
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