Confidential legislation prohibits firing police for dishonesty label alone

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State Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry (chairman), Rep. Claire Rouillard, R-Goffstown, and Rep. Frank Heffron, D-Exeter listen to testimony before the Commission on the Use of Police Personnel Files.
State Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry (chairman), Rep. Claire Rouillard, R-Goffstown, and Rep. Frank Heffron, D-Exeter listen to testimony before the Commission on the Use of Police Personnel Files.

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The chairman of the commission formed to protect the rights of police officers placed on secret “Laurie” lists has filed confidential legislation that already has the backing of the Attorney General’s Office.

State Sen. Sharon Carson, R-Londonderry, chairman of the Commission on the Use of Police Personnel Files, submitted the proposed language “confidentially” that would provide potentially dishonest police with an appeals process before being placed on the lists.

The proposed legislation also prohibits firing police simply because their names are on “Laurie” lists, but would allow termination for the underlying behavior that prompted the designation.

All 10 New Hampshire county attorneys keep a list of potentially dishonest police officers called "Laurie" lists.
All 10 New Hampshire county attorneys keep a list of potentially dishonest police officers called “Laurie” lists.

It also would allow prosecutors to review confidential police personnel files seeking evidence of dishonesty.

“This legislation will be supported by our office with some minor tweaks,” said Senior Assistant Attorney General Susan Morrell, a commission member.

Carson said she files most of her legislation as confidential until the language is finalized, which is allowed under Senate rules. The practice is not allowed by House members.

Carson said she expects this piece of legislation to become public on Dec. 1.

“This isn’t set in stone,” said Carson, who also serves as the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee.

The public will have ample opportunity to offer input after legislative services is finished with the appropriate language and she signs off on the bill, Carson said.

“Everyone will have the opportunity to weigh in,” Carson said.

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Nancy WestAbout InDepthNH: Nancy West founded the nonprofit New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism in April. West is the executive editor of the center’s investigative news website InDepthNH.org. West has won many awards for investigative reporting during her 30 years at the New Hampshire Union Leader. She has taught investigative journalism at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting’s summer program for pre-college students at Boston University. West is passionate about government transparency. The New Hampshire Center for Public Interest Journalism is a member of the Institute for Nonprofit News, formerly called Investigative News Network, which is also InDepthNH.org’s fiscal sponsor. Cllick here to read about INN to learn more about the mission of nonprofit news.


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Journalist and editor of ManchesterInkLink.com, a hyperlocal news and information site for Manchester, NH.