Chapter 834 of the Laws of 1940 allow police leadership to exercise complete control over all misconduct and disciplinary proceedings against officers, and prevent these proceedings from occurring anywhere other than a police department’s own trial room. Chapter 834 also requires that they be presided over by a police department employee. As a result, municipalities throughout New York State are prevented from creating or relying on more independent mechanisms for holding officers to account.
We must repeal Chapter 834 and allow police disciplinary proceedings to be moved to an independent and impartial venue. The integrity of police disciplinary proceedings will always be in question so long as police departments maintain total control over them. The NYCLU strongly supports this bill and urges the legislature to pass it without delay.