H. B. 4179
(By Delegates Manuel, Doyle, Johnson,
Hutchins, Marshall, Mahan and Fleischauer)
[Introduced January 27, 2000; referred to the
Committee on Government Organization then Finance.]
A BILL to amend chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, by adding
thereto a new article, designated article two-e, relating
to creating a state police review board to hear complaints
against state police personnel; providing procedures and
requirements for disposition of complaints; limiting public
disclosure of certain information; requiring semiannual
reports; and addressing effects of complaint process.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That chapter fifteen of the code of West Virginia, one
thousand nine hundred thirty-one, as amended, be amended by
adding thereto a new article, designated article two-e, to read
ARTICLE 2E. STATE POLICE REVIEW BOARD.
§15-2E-1. Board created; members.
(a) The state police review board is hereby created to provide a permanent statutory agency through which complaints
lodged by members of the general public and state police
personnel regarding alleged acts of discourtesy and excessive
force by state police personnel are to be processed and
(b) The board is composed of the following members or their
(1) The attorney general of West Virginia;
(2) The superintendent of the West Virginia state police;
(3) The executive director of the human rights commission;
(4) The executive director of the West Virginia prosecuting
(5) The director of public defender services; and
(6) Four citizen members appointed by the governor, who each
serve for a term of two years. A vacancy in a citizen member
position shall be filled in the manner of the original
appointment for the remainder of the term. Citizen members may
serve unlimited consecutive terms.
(c) In all matters where a quorum is present, a majority
vote of the board prevails. A quorum consists of five members.
(d) The board shall meet in executive session as often as
necessary to perform its functions and duties, but it shall meet
at least once a month.
§15-2E-2. Complaint procedures.
(a) Any person who claims to have been subjected to, or any
person who claims to have personal knowledge of an act or acts of
discourtesy, use of excessive force or injury resulting from
excessive force caused by state police personnel, may make a
complaint of the conduct at the office of the internal affairs
division of the state police or at any state police station.
(b) The complaint shall be reduced to writing on a special
police review board form serially numbered, signed by the
complainant and notarized before a duly authorized notary public.
(c) One copy of the completed form shall be retained by the
recipient of the complaint and a copy given to the complainant.
A copy shall be mailed within forty-eight hours to the internal
affairs division and to the secretary of the board.
(d) The secretary of the board shall assign a consecutive
number to each complaint and, within forty-eight hours, shall
mail a copy to each member of the board. The secretary shall
also maintain on file a record of each complaint.
(e) The internal affairs division shall make a comprehensive
investigation of each complaint and submit its report of the
investigation to the board within ninety days from the date of
(f) The board shall review the internal affairs division's
report and submit in writing to the superintendent of state
police within thirty days from receipt of the report, a statement of its findings and recommendations as provided under section
three of this article. The superintendent shall, within thirty
days of receipt of the findings and recommendations of the board,
forward to the board a statement of his or her disposition in
each case. Concurrent with this, the superintendent shall also
forward a copy of the board's recommendation and the
superintendent's statement of disposition to the complainant and
respondent police personnel.
§15-2E-3. Jurisdiction and disposition of complaint.
(a) Jurisdiction of the board extends only to complaints
against state police personnel with respect to discourtesy and
use of excessive force as defined by rules of the state police.
(b) Upon review of the investigative report of each case,
the board shall promptly make any one of the following four
recommendations to the superintendent:
(1) Sustain the complaint and approve, disapprove or modify
the proposed internal affairs division's action against the
(2) Dismiss the complaint because of lack or insufficiency
(3) Exonerate the police personnel because of the
complainant's failure to prove his or her case by clear and
convincing evidence; or
(4) Remand the case for further investigation to the internal affairs division or to the West Virginia state police.
(c) The board may request the complainant, witnesses and the
police department personnel involved in a particular complaint to
submit voluntarily to a polygraph test or to appear voluntarily
before the board.
§15-2E-4. Final action.
The superintendent has final decision-making responsibility
for the appropriate disciplinary action in each case, but no
final action may be taken until the recommendation of the board
has been reviewed.
§15-2E-5. Rights not abrogated.
Nothing contained in this article abrogates any
constitutional, statutory or common law right of police personnel
against whom a complaint is filed, or of the complainants,
investigators or witnesses who participate in the complaint
§15-2E-6. Suspension and dismissal procedures not changed.
This procedure does not affect or change the methods and
procedures for suspension or dismissal of members of the state
§15-2E-7. Procedural requirements.
Police personnel may not be penalized or affected adversely
in any way as a result of the procedure set forth in this article
without having been first afforded proper written notice of charges against him or her and the right to a hearing before the
grievance procedure recommendation board.
§15-2E-8. Records; public disclosure.
Records of the board containing the names or identification
of police personnel, complainants, investigators or witnesses may
not be disclosed or released to the general public.
§15-2E-9. Rules of procedure.
The board may propose rules for legislative approval in
accordance with the provisions of article three, chapter
twenty-nine of this code to carry out the provisions of this
§15-2E-10. Semiannual report.
The board shall prepare and publish a semiannual statistical
and analytical report regarding the complaints processed under
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to create a police review
board to hear complaints against State Police personnel.
This article is new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.