Bill establishing duties to render aid and report wrongdoing by law enforcement officers fails in Senate Judiciary

February 16, 2021

Legislation that would have established both a duty to render aid and a duty to report wrongdoing for law enforcement officers has been narrowly defeated, failing to report out of the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 6-9.

HB 1948 (Levine) took a multipronged approach to new requirements for law enforcement officers.  First, it would have required any law-enforcement officer on duty who witnessed another person suffering from a serious bodily injury or a life-threatening condition to render aid and made it a duty to report acts of wrongdoing, defined in the bill and including bias-based profiling, committed by another law-enforcement officer on duty. Additionally, any law-enforcement officer who failed to render such aid or who failed to report such wrongdoing committed by another law-enforcement officer, would have been subject to disciplinary action, including dismissal, demotion, suspension, or transfer of the law-enforcement officer. The bill also expanded the definition of “bias-based profiling.”

HB 1948 previously reported out of the House Public Safety Committee by a vote 15-6.  It went on to pass the House of Delegates by a vote of 57-42.  Due to substantial concerns raised about these new legal duties and their broad implications, the bill failed to advance out of Senate Judiciary on February 15.

VACo Contact: Chris McDonald, Esq.

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