HB 471 would make police disciplinary hearings public

RTKNH supports House Bill 471.

Police officers should not have a privacy interest with respect to their official conduct. When their conduct is called into question and brought forth before the Police Standards and Training Council there is a significant and compelling public interest in the conduct and activities of both the officer and the Council.  The public has a right to know the process undertaken by the Council during an officer’s disciplinary hearing.

Disclosure of police misconduct is in the public interest.  The New Hampshire Commission on Law Enforcement Accountability, Community, and Transparency agrees and recommends “Make the existing Exculpatory Evidence Schedule (EES)” a public record as noted in their Final Report (Recommendation # 22). 

Police, by the nature of their duties and power, must be held to a higher standard.  That higher standard must include transparency regarding their conduct and the process performed by the Council to review and take action regarding such misconduct. The Council’s disciplinary hearings should be open to public scrutiny to allow for adequate checks and balances to ensure bad behavior or inadequate action cannot hide behind a veil of secrecy and further erode the public’s trust.