§8-14-19. Political activities of members prohibited; exceptions.

(a) A member of a paid police department may not:

(1) Solicit any assessment, subscription or contribution for any political party, committee or candidate from any person who is a member or employee of the municipality by which they are employed;

(2) Use any official authority or influence, including, but not limited to, the wearing by a municipal police officer of his or her uniform for the purpose of interfering with or affecting the nomination, election or defeat of any candidate or the passage or defeat of any ballot issue: Provided, That this subdivision shall not be construed to prohibit any municipal police officer from casting his or her vote at any election while wearing his or her uniform;

(3) Coerce or command anyone to pay, lend or contribute anything of value to a party, committee, organization, agency or person for the nomination, election or defeat of a ballot issue; or

(4) Be a candidate for or hold any other public office in the municipality in which he or she is employed: Provided, That any municipal police officer that is subject to the provisions of 5 U.S.C. §1501, et seq., may not be a candidate for elective office.

(b) Other types of partisan or nonpartisan political activities not inconsistent with the provisions of subsection (a) of this section are permissible political activities for municipal police officers.

(c) No person may be appointed or promoted to or demoted or dismissed from any position held by a municipal police officer or in any way favored or discriminated against because of his or her engagement in any political activities authorized by the provisions of this section. Any elected or appointed official who violates the provisions of this subsection is guilty of a misdemeanor and, upon conviction thereof, shall be punished by the penalties contained in section twenty-six, article fifteen of this chapter.

(d) Any member of any such paid police department violating the provisions of this section shall have his appointment vacated and he shall be removed, in accordance with the pertinent provisions of this section.

(e) Any three residents of any such city may file their written petition with the policemen's civil service commission thereof setting out therein the grounds upon which a member of the paid police department of such city should be removed for a violation of subsection (a) of this section. Notice of the filing of such petition shall be given by said commission to the accused member, which notice shall require the said member to file a written answer to the charges set out in the petition within thirty days of the date of said notice. The said petition and answer thereto, if any, shall be entered upon the records of the commission. If such answer is not filed within the time stated, or any extension thereof for cause which in the discretion of the commission may be granted, an order shall be entered by the commission declaring the appointment of said member vacated; if such answer is filed within the time stated, or any extension thereof for cause which in the discretion of the commission may be granted, the accused member may demand within such period a public hearing on the charges, or the commission may, in its discretion and without demand therefor, set a time for a public hearing on said charges, which hearing shall be within thirty days of the filing of said answer, subject, however, to any continuances which may in the discretion of the commission be granted. A written record of all testimony taken at such hearing shall be kept and preserved by the commission, which record shall be sealed and not be open to public inspection, if no appeal be taken from the action of the commission. The commission at the conclusion of the hearing, or as soon thereafter as possible, shall enter an order sustaining, in whole or in part, the charges made or shall dismiss the charges as unfounded. In the event the charges are sustained in whole or in part, the order shall also declare the appointment of said member to be vacated and thereupon the proper municipal authorities shall immediately remove said member from the police force and from the payroll of said city. Notice of the action of the commission shall be given by registered letter to the mayor and chief of police of the city; and for failure to immediately comply with the order of the commission such officer or officers shall be punished for contempt, upon application of the commission to the circuit court of the county in which the city or the major portion of the territory thereof is located.

(f) An appeal from the ruling of the commission may be had in the same manner and within the same time as specified in section twenty of this article for an appeal from a ruling of a commission after hearing held in accordance with the provisions of said section.

Bill History For §8-14-19