I’ve been taking part in community listening sessions for Delaware’s Senate Bill 149, which would amend the state’s Law Enforcement Officer’s Bill of Rights (LEOBOR).
There’s another one today at 3 PM, but I can’t make it. You can (sign up here).
This is my public comment from the last session, published here for posterity:
Thank you for the opportunity to speak this evening.
My name is Len Damico. I live in Claymont, I am a father, and I am also a reliable voter.
I’m here tonight because I believe it is imperative for Delaware to pass SB 149 as-is, without amendment. This is unambiguously what Delawareans want and deserve and the only way we will truly achieve justice in Delaware.
I’ve been part of a number of these stakeholder sessions, and a theme I’ve heard from the law enforcement officer side of things is a desire to rebuild a positive relationship, founded on trust, with the communities they serve. In my opinion, everything we are asking for in SB 149 is in the service of improving that relationship.
To build trust, we ask for visibility and access to police disciplinary records. Including substantiated and unsubstantiated claims. Transparency. That’s how you build trust!
To build trust, we need civilian review boards that have true power. Power to investigate claims and truly discipline any “bad apples” they may find. Power to investigate unsubstantiated claims, to determine potential patterns of misconduct. And power to conduct their business without current or former member of law enforcement as part of the board, in order to truly serve the purpose of maintaining justice in our community.
We believe that civilian review boards are worthless unless those three conditions are met.
In conclusion, it is imperative for Delaware to pass SB 149 as-is, without amendment. To repeat, for clarity’s sake: As-is. Without amendment. This is the only way we will truly achieve justice in Delaware.