Senate committee backs bill creating task force to examine laws protecting officers


PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) ─ Lawmakers returned to the Rhode Island State House Monday to discuss new legislation that would allow for sweeping changes to be made to the Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).

The Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously approved legislation to create a task force that would closely examine LEOBOR, which was adopted by Rhode Island in 1976.

The 13-member task force would be made up of the following:

  • Three state senators
  • Attorney General Peter Neronha
  • Rhode Island State Police Col. James Manni
  • The police chief of a department in Rhode Island
  • The executive director of the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission or a designee
  • The president of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Providence Branch or a designee
  • The president of the Rhode Island AFL-CIO or a designee
  • The executive director of the Latino Policy Institute at Roger Williams University or a designee
  • The executive director of the Providence External Review Authority
  • Two members of the public

Sen. Harold Metts, D-Providence, introduced the legislation and said the task force, which includes people from all sides of the debate, will be able to take an honest look at the system and come up with a series of proposed improvements.

“While the unions will be represented on this task force as well, I know that many police chiefs and superintendents adamantly agree that the Law Enforcement Officers’ Bill of Rights needs reform. It ties their hands from responding appropriately and with the necessary speed in cases of misconduct,” Metts said.

The bill will be heard by the full Senate on Wednesday. If approved, the task force must have its final review completed by February 9, 2021.

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