Bill would add Internal Investigation Unit to Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights

February 17, 2011

ANNAPOLIS — Police officers within the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services would be added to those covered by a Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights, under a bill heard Thursday.

Sen. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, said the Internal Investigation Unit within the department is made up of sworn law enforcement officers who investigate crime.

Those officers would be added to the 23 groups or categories of police already part of the Law Enforcement Officers' Bill of Rights.

That list includes Maryland State Police, the Washington County Sheriff's Office, the Hagerstown Police Department and the Hagerstown Community College police force.

The bill of rights outlines the procedures and protocols for disciplining officers and investigating their conduct.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee heard Shank's bill on Thursday.

A summary by the state Department of Legislative Services said the bill of rights was enacted in 1974 "to guarantee police officers specified procedural safeguards in any investigation that could lead to disciplinary action."

Maryland's correctional officers are covered in a separate bill of rights that was passed last year.

The summary said the Internal Investigation Unit currently has 22 authorized full-time positions.

— Andrew Schotz

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