2004 Regular Session
By: Representative Robinson (84th), Chism, Franks, Nicholson, Weathersby
AN ACT TO PROVIDE THAT EVERY MUNICIPALITY SHALL PROVIDE A PREDISCIPLINARY HEARING THAT COMPLIES WITH DUE PROCESS PRIOR TO THE SUSPENSION OR TERMINATION OF ANY LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER IN A MUNICIPALITY; TO PROVIDE THAT A MUNICIPALITY MAY HOLD A SEPARATE POST-DISCIPLINARY HEARING ON THE SUSPENSION OR TERMINATION OF A LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. (1) Every municipality shall provide a predisciplinary hearing that complies with due process prior to the suspension or termination of its law enforcement officers, provided nothing in this section shall preclude a municipality from placing a law enforcement officer on leave with pay until the person or body holding the hearing has made its decision in the matter.
(2) Every municipality shall establish written due process procedures applicable to the predisciplinary hearing. At a minimum due process shall consist of:
(a) A written notice to the officer detailing the reason(s) for the suspension or termination. The notice shall be issued by the person or persons with authority to suspend or terminate the law enforcement officer. The notice shall also inform the officer that he or she has ten (10) days to request a hearing in writing and where such written request should be filed. If the officer fails to request such hearing within ten (10) days after receiving written notice of the suspension or termination, the right to such hearing shall be deemed waived.
(b) The accused officer shall have the right to appear at this hearing and to be represented at his or her own expense. The officer or representative shall have the right to address any charges against the officer. If the officer has a representative, the officer shall also be present at the hearing.
(c) The officer or his or her representative shall have the right to present evidence in his or her behalf and question witnesses who testify in the proceeding.
(d) The party filing the accusations shall be present for the predisciplinary hearing.
(3) A municipality may also hold a separate
post-disciplinary hearing on the suspension or termination of the law enforcement officer. If the municipality holds a separate post-termination hearing on the matter, the officer or representative thereof shall be present and may present evidence in his or her behalf and question witnesses who testify. If no post-disciplinary hearing is to be afforded to the officer, then the officer shall have all due process rights afforded in a post-disciplinary hearing during the predisciplinary hearing.
(4) The hearing shall be conducted by an impartial hearing officer or body, and if the hearing is before the municipal governing body, the hearing may be conducted in an executive session, provided that any vote for or against suspension or termination shall occur in an open session.
(5) Nothing shall prohibit a municipality from allowing or enacting due process which exceeds the requirements in this section.
(6) The rules of evidence and rules of discovery shall not apply to either of the hearings provided for in this section.
SECTION 2. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 2004.