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Law Enforcement Accountability, Duty and Standards Act Thumbnail

Law Enforcement Accountability, Duty and Standards Act

On Monday, June 22, South Carolina Senate Republicans, in a press conference, unveiled a proposal to file new legislation to enhance law enforcement accountability, standards, and make other policy recommendations. The proposal known as The South Carolina Law Enforcement Accountability, Duty and Standards (SC LEADS) Act enhances law enforcement accountability, transparency, and professional standards, and seeks to strengthen trust in South Carolina.

The proposal, sponsored by Senator Sean Bennett (R-Dorchester) and others, includes:

1.Required Baseline Standards and Accreditation

    1. Requirement of an agency to adopt the baseline required standards as set forth by the Law Enforcement Training Council (LETC). may result in debarment from grant funding, civil fines, and the loss of an agency’s authority to remain a law enforcement agency.
    2. The LETC shall establish baseline required standards for all law enforcement agencies in South Carolina. Standards will include but are not limited to the following policies:
      1. Use of Force Continuum-when and how to respond to active resistance. 
      2. Uniform vehicle pursuit standards
      3. Hiring and terminating practices
      4. Mandatory post basic academy field training
      5. Implantation and use of body-worn cameras and car cams
      6. “No Knock Warrant” standards in compliance with U.S. Supreme Court decisions
      7. Duty to intervene – mandated duty on officers to intervene when observing an officer failing to meet baseline standards established or agency policy.
    3. After implementing the LETC baseline standards, agencies would be incentivized to go beyond those baseline standards through an accreditation option that is not cost prohibitive

2. Duty To Intervene

    1. Add “failure of duty to intervene” as established in baseline standards mandating officers intervene when observing failure to meet baseline standards.
    2. Failure to intervene could result in decertification and/or potential criminal charges.

3. Fully fund body-worn camera program, and South Carolina Highway Patrol car camera program

4. Mandatory Attendance at Misconduct Hearings

    1. A law enforcement agency who has reported an occurrence(s) of misconduct by an officer to the Criminal Justice Academy must fully cooperate with any investigation.

5. Non-Certified Officers and Training

    1. Strengthen requirements for officers who have not yet been certified by the academy and improve training.
      1. Support H.5109 – non-certified officers shall not perform duties unless accompanied by a certified officer
      2. require mandatory field training for all newly certified officers
    2. Require all newly appointed police chiefs to attend a chief’s school and annually obtain continuing law enforcement education credit

6. Centralized Investigation and Charging Authority

    1. Centralize investigation and charging authority for officer involved interaction resulting in death or great bodily injury:
      1. SLED to conduct all investigations unless there is a conflict, the Attorney General shall appoint an investigating agency in cases of SLED conflict
      2. SLED reports investigative findings to AG
      3. State charges are presented or declined by the AG within 3 months of completion of the investigation
      4. State Grand Jury has exclusive jurisdiction over criminal charges involving death or GBI as a result of an officer involved interaction
      5. The local solicitor has the ability to request the AG review an officer involved incident (other than death and GBI) in any other circumstance

Watch full video of the press conference by clicking, HERE, and scrolling to the bottom of the page.