The Police Officer's Bill of Rights
The Police Officers Bill of Rights offers law enforcement officers protection, spelling out nearly every detail of how an internal investigation should be carried out. Such a process also can protect the city: If done properly, following Florida State Statute 112.532 (the Bill of Rights), the city could prevail in any challenges by officers who are disciplined or terminated. In the best cases, officers don't even appeal their discipline.
The Bill of Rights stipulates:
- How an internal investigation must take place.
- When and where a formal interrogation should take place.
- Who is doing the interrogation, including that person's name and rank. More people may be present during an interrogation, but each must be named, and only one person may ask questions.
If city officials do not follow the bill to the letter of the law, officers investigated for misconduct could challenge any recommended discipline or termination and could possibly be overturned.
If an agency starts a criminal investigation while an internal investigation is ongoing, the internal investigation is halted immediately until the criminal inquiry is completed. That's because an internal investigation provides officers immunity.
In addition to those requirements contained the Bill of Rights, the collective bargaining agreement with the officers requires that notice of a pre-disciplinary hearing be provided to the officer at least three days prior to the meeting to give the officer sufficient time to review the basis of charges against him.
Download a copy of the Police Officer's Bill of Rights