The Louisiana Police Officer Bill of RIghts provides due process protections to law enforcement officers who have a property right to their employment. This right is afforded through civil service protections provided by the Louisiana Constitution and state law.
These rights can only be afforded for the administrative investigation of the discipline of the officer. Officers do not have special rights during a criminal investigation. They are only afforded the SAME rights that are guaranteed to any citizen of Louisiana and the United States during a criminal investigation.
Decertification of a police officer is a serious issue. It must be a process that is impartial and free from political influence or interference.
All law enforcement officers in Louisiana earn their P.O.S.T. certificate, and they have to maintain the highest standards, as dictated by the communities they serve. Those who are incapable of sharing those high ideals may not meet the requirements for holding a position of trust – trust by the community and trust by fellow law enforcement officers.
Minor policy violations alone should not lead to decertification. Decertification should only be considered when termination is the presumptive penalty for the alleged infraction forming the basis of the decertification process.
While there may be times where decertification of a police officer may be appropriate, it is crucial that law enforcement officers have a procedural right to defend his or her actions to avoid mistakes in a procedure which potentially has such extreme results.