§ 9301 Police chief removal; right to hearing; appeal.
(a) No colonel, chief of police or any officer who is the highest ranking officer of a legislatively authorized police department within this State, except the Police Chief of the City of Wilmington, Chief of New Castle County Police, and any colonel, chief of police or highest ranking officer of a police agency that is a division of the Department of Safety and Homeland Security, shall be dismissed, demoted or otherwise removed from office unless there is a showing of just cause and such person has been given notice in writing of the specific grounds for such action and an opportunity to be heard in the person's own defense, personally and/or by counsel, at a hearing, which may be public at the request of the person, before a panel appointed under the auspices of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, such panel to consist of 3 persons, 1 to be appointed by the Chair of the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council, 1 by the President of the Delaware League of Local Governments, and 1 by the Chair of the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, provided that the Delaware Criminal Justice Council appointee shall not be an actively-serving law-enforcement officer. Such hearing shall be held on not less than 5 days written notice and not more than 30 days after such notice, unless the parties agree otherwise, in writing. The hearing panel's decision shall be by majority vote and based upon the evidence presented at the hearing. The hearing panel shall issue a written decision as to whether the charges against the colonel, chief or highest ranking officer were substantiated or unsubstantiated within 20 days of the conclusion of the hearing.
(b) If the hearing panel determines that the charges against the colonel, chief or highest ranking officer were unsubstantiated, it may award the colonel, chief or highest ranking officer his or her reasonable attorneys' fees.
(c) Any appeals from the process described in subsection (a) of this section shall be on the record to the Superior Court from the county in which the hearing was held. All such appeals shall be undertaken by filing a notice of appeal with the Court within 90 days of receipt of the hearing panel's written decision.
(d) By September 30, 2013, the Delaware Criminal Justice Council, the Delaware Police Chiefs' Council, and the Delaware League of Local Governments shall each appoint 2 representatives to a Rules Committee. One representative from the Delaware Criminal Justice Council shall chair the committee.
(e) By March 30, 2014, the Rules Committee created pursuant to subsection (d) of this section shall adopt rules and procedures to govern proceedings brought under this section. Thereafter, the Rules Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair to amend the rules and procedures as deemed necessary or appropriate.