(a) Before taking any punitive action against an accused officer, the police or fire department shall give notice to the accused officer that he or she is entitled to a hearing on the issues by a hearing board or the applicable civil service commission. The notice shall state the time and place of the hearing and the issues involved and shall be delivered to the accused officer no later than ten days prior to the hearing.
(b) When a civil service accused officer faces a recommended punitive action of discharge, suspension or reduction in rank or pay, but before such punitive action is taken, a hearing board must be appointed and must afford the accused civil service officer a hearing conducted pursuant to the provisions of article fourteen, section twenty, or article fifteen, section twenty-five of this chapter: Provided, That the punitive action may be taken before the hearing board conducts the hearing if exigent circumstances exist which require it.
(c) When a civil service accused officer faces a recommended punitive action of written reprimand or transfer for the purpose of punishment, or when a noncivil service accused officer faces any recommended punitive action, the applicable hearing board shall conduct hearing pursuant to the provisions of subsection (d) of this section.
(d) The following requirements shall govern the operation conduct of a hearing board under subsection (c) of this section:
(1) The hearing board shall keep an official record of each hearing it conducts. The official record shall include the testimony offered and exhibits introduced at the hearing.
(2) Both the police or fire department and the accused officer shall be given ample opportunity to present evidence and argument with respect to any issue raised at the hearing.
(3) The hearing board may subpoena witnesses and administer oaths or affirmations and examine any individual under oath, and may require and compel the production of records, books, papers, contracts and other documents, in connection with any issue raised at the hearing.
(4) The hearing board shall prepare a written order detailing any decision or action it takes as a result of the hearing. The written order shall include written findings of fact setting forth a concise statement of the hearing board's factual findings and conclusions on each issue raised at the hearing. The hearing board shall hand-deliver or promptly mail a copy of the written order to the accused officer or his attorney of record.
(e) A hearing board's order is binding on all parties involved unless it is overturned in the appeal process described in section five of this article.