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Introduced Version House Bill 2880 History

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H. B. 2880

 

         (By Delegates Hartman, Williams, Michael, Crosier,

Perry, Romine and D. Campbell)

         (By Request of the Division of Forestry)

         [Introduced January 27, 2011; referred to the

         Committee on Natural Resources then the Judiciary.]

 

 

A BILL to amend and reenact §15-10-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-1A-6; to amend and reenact §20-7-1 of said code; and to amend and reenact §30-29-1 of said code, all relating to establishing forestry officers and special forestry officers; and providing the Director of the Division of Forestry the power to establish law-enforcement practices and procedures for the division.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §15-10-3 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §19-1A-6; that §20-7-1 of said code be amended and reenacted; and that §30-29-1 of said code be

amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:

CHAPTER 15.

PUBLIC SAFETY.

ARTICLE 10. COOPERATION BETWEEN LAW-ENFORCEMENT AGENCIES.

§15-10-3. Definitions.

    For purposes of this article only, and unless a different meaning plainly is required:

    (1) “Criminal justice enforcement personnel” means those persons within the state criminal justice system who are actually employed as members of the State Police, members of the Division of Protective Services, natural resources police officers, chiefs of police and police of incorporated municipalities, and county sheriffs and their deputies, and whose primary duties are the investigation of crime and the apprehension of criminals.

    (2) “Head of a law-enforcement agency” means the superintendent of the State Police, the Director of the Division of Protective Services, the chief natural resources police officer of the Division of Natural Resources, a chief of police of an incorporated municipality or a county sheriff.

    (3) “State or local law-enforcement officer” means any duly authorized member of a law-enforcement agency who is authorized to maintain public peace and order, prevent and detect crime, make arrests and enforce the laws of the state or any county or municipality thereof, other than parking ordinances, and includes those persons employed as campus police officers at state institutions of higher education in accordance with the provisions of section five, article four, chapter eighteen-b of this code, although those institutions may not be considered law-enforcement agencies. The term also includes those persons employed as rangers by the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in accordance with the provisions of section six, article fourteen, chapter twenty of this code, although the authority is not a law-enforcement agency. The term also includes persons employed as forestry officers in accordance with the provisions of section six, article one-a, chapter nineteen, although the Division of Forestry is not a law-enforcement agency.

    (4) “Head of campus police” means the superintendent or administrative head of state or local law-enforcement officers employed as campus police officers at state institutions of higher education in accordance with the provisions of section five, article four, chapter eighteen-b of this code.

    (5) “Head of the rangers of the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority” means the superintendent or administrative head of state or local law-enforcement officers employed as rangers by the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in accordance with the provisions of section six, article fourteen, chapter twenty of this code.

CHAPTER 19.

AGRICULTURE.

ARTICLE 1A. DIVISION OF FORESTRY.

19-1A-6. Director of Division of Forestry to establish Forestry Officers.

    (a) The Director of the Division of Forestry has the power to establish law-enforcement practices and procedures for the Division of Forestry to address the law-enforcement requirements of the division. Personnel assigned to the law-enforcement requirements of the division are designated as “forestry officers.” Forestry officers shall be trained, equipped, supervised and assigned duties pursuant to the director or his or her designee.

    (b) Forestry officers shall have jurisdiction while engaged in the performance of their official duties to:

    (1) Arrest on sight, without warrant or other court process, any person or persons committing a criminal offense in violation of the laws of this state, in the presence of the officer, but no arrest may be made where any form of administrative procedure is prescribed by this chapter for the enforcement of the provisions of this chapter;

    (2) Carry arms and weapons as may be prescribed by the director in the course and performance of their duties, but no license or other authorization is required for this privilege;

    (3) Execute and serve a search warrant, notice or other process of law issued under the authority of this chapter or other laws by a magistrate or court having jurisdiction in the same manner, with the same authority and with the same legal effect as a sheriff;

    (4) Summon aid in making arrests or seizures or in executing warrants, notices or processes, in the same manner as sheriffs;

    (5) Enter private lands or waters within the state;

    (6) Arrest on sight, without warrant or other court process any person committing a criminal offense in violation of any law of this state in the presence of the officer on any state-owned lands and waters and lands and waters under lease by the Division of Forestry and all national forest lands, waters and parks and U.S. Corps of Army Engineers' properties within the boundaries of the State of West Virginia and, in addition to the authority conferred in other subdivisions of this section, execute all arrest warrants on these state and national lands, waters and parks and U.S. Corps of Army Engineers' properties, consistent with the provisions of article one, chapter sixty-two of this code;

    (7) Arrest any person who enters upon the land or premises of another without written permission from the owner of the land or premises in order to cut, damage or carry away, or cause to be cut, damaged or carried away, any timber, trees, logs, posts, fruit, nuts, growing plants or products of any growing plant. Any person convicted of cutting, damaging or carrying away or causing to be cut, damaged or carried away any timber, trees, logs, posts, fruits, nuts, growing plants or products of growing plants is liable to the owner in the amount of three times the value of the timber, trees, logs, posts, fruit, nuts, growing plants or products of any growing plant, in addition to and notwithstanding any other penalties by law provided by section thirteen, article three, chapter sixty-one of this code;

    (8) Make a complaint in writing before any court or officer having jurisdiction, and procure and execute the warrant, when the officer knows or has reason to believe that a person has violated a law of this state. The actions of the forestry officer have the same force and effect as if made by a sheriff;

    (9) Serve and execute warrants for the arrest of any person and warrants for the search of any premises, buildings, properties or conveyances issued by a properly constituted authority in the same manner, with the same authority, and with the same legal effect, as a sheriff; and

    (10) Do all things necessary to carry into effect the provisions of this chapter.

    (c) To appoint as special forestry officers any full-time civil service forest fire control personnel who have satisfactorily completed a course of training established and administered by the director or his or her designee. The jurisdiction of forest fire control personnel appointed as special forestry officers is limited to the enforcement of the provisions of article three, chapter twenty of this code and any other duties deemed necessary by the director to enforce the provisions of articles one-A and one-B of this chapter.

    (d) To call upon the Attorney General, the prosecuting attorneys of the several counties, the department of public safety and all other law-enforcement officers of the state. He or she shall have authority to compel compliance with and to prevent violations and threatened violations of any provisions of this chapter, lawful rules and regulations promulgated hereunder, and cease and desist orders issued pursuant hereto. He or she may invoke the processes of any court for coercive, remedial or preventive relief by injunction, mandamus or other appropriate proceedings.

CHAPTER 20.

NATURAL RESOURCES.

ARTICLE 7. LAW ENFORCEMENT, MOTORBOATING, LITTER.

PART I. LAW ENFORCEMENT, PROCEDURES AND PENALTIES.

§20-7-1. Chief natural resources police officer; natural resources police officers; special and emergency natural resources police officers; subsistence allowance; expenses.

    (a) The division’s law-enforcement policies, practices and programs are under the immediate supervision and direction of the division law-enforcement officer selected by the director and designated as chief natural resources police officer as provided in section thirteen, article one of this chapter.

    (b) Under the supervision of the director, the chief natural resources police officer shall organize, develop and maintain law-enforcement practices, means and methods geared, timed and adjustable to seasonal, emergency and other needs and requirements of the division’s comprehensive natural resources program. All division personnel detailed and assigned to law-enforcement duties and services under this section shall be known and designated as natural resources police officers and are under the immediate supervision and direction of the chief natural resources police officer. All natural resources police officers shall be trained, equipped and conditioned for duty and services wherever and whenever required by division law-enforcement needs.

    (c) The chief natural resources police officer, acting under supervision of the director, is authorized to select and appoint emergency natural resources police officers for a limited period for effective enforcement of the provisions of this chapter when considered necessary because of emergency or other unusual circumstances. The emergency natural resources police officers shall be selected from qualified civil service personnel of the division, except in emergency situations and circumstances when the director may designate officers, without regard to civil service requirements and qualifications, to meet law-enforcement needs. Emergency natural resources police officers shall exercise all powers and duties prescribed in section four of this article for full-time salaried natural resources police officers except the provisions of subdivision (8) of said section.

    (d) The chief natural resources police officer, acting under supervision of the director, is also authorized to select and appoint as special natural resources police officers any full-time civil service employee who is assigned to, and has direct responsibility for management of, an area owned, leased or under the control of the division and who has satisfactorily completed a course of training established and administered by the chief natural resources police officer, when the action is considered necessary because of law-enforcement needs. The powers and duties of a special natural resources police officer, appointed under this provision, is the same within his or her assigned area as prescribed for full-time salaried natural resources police officers. The jurisdiction of the person appointed as a special natural resources police officer, under this provision, shall be limited to the division area or areas to which he or she is assigned and directly manages.

    (e) The chief natural resources police officer, acting under supervision of the director, is also authorized to appoint as special natural resources police officers any full-time civil service forest fire control personnel who have satisfactorily completed a course of training established and administered by the chief natural resources police officer. The jurisdiction of forest fire control personnel appointed as special natural resources police officers is limited to the enforcement of the provisions of article three of this chapter.

    (f) The chief natural resources police officer, with the approval of the director, has the power and authority to revoke any appointment of an emergency natural resources police officer or of a special natural resources police officer at any time.

    (g) (f) Natural resources police officers are subject to seasonal or other assignment and detail to duty whenever and wherever required by the functions, services and needs of the division.

    (h) (g) The chief natural resources police officer shall designate the area of primary residence of each natural resources police officer, including himself or herself. Since the area of business activity of the division is actually anywhere within the territorial confines of the State of West Virginia, actual expenses incurred shall be paid whenever the duties are performed outside the area of primary assignment and still within the state.

    (i) (h) Natural resources police officers shall receive, in addition to their base pay salary, a minimum monthly subsistence allowance for their required telephone service, dry cleaning or required uniforms, and meal expenses while performing their regular duties in their area of primary assignment in the amount of $130 each month. This subsistence allowance does not apply to special or emergency natural resources police officers appointed under this section.

    (j) (i) After June 30, 2010, all those full time law-enforcement officers employed by the Division of Natural Resources as conservation officers shall be titled and known as natural resources police officers. Wherever used in this code the term “conservation officer,” or its plural, means “natural resources police officer,” or its plural, respectively.

    (k) (j) Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, the provisions of subdivision six, subsection c, section twelve, article twenty-one, chapter eleven of this code are inapplicable to pensions of natural resources police officers paid through the Public Employees Retirement System.

CHAPTER 30.

PROFESSIONS AND OCCUPATIONS.

ARTICLE 29. LAW-ENFORCEMENT TRAINING AND CERTIFICATION.

§30-29-1. Definitions.

    For the purposes of this article, unless a different meaning clearly appears in the context:

    “Approved law-enforcement training academy” means any training facility which is approved and authorized to conduct law-enforcement training as provided in this article;

    “Chief executive” means the superintendent of the State Police; the chief natural resources police officer of the Division of Natural Resources; the sheriff of any West Virginia county; any administrative deputy appointed by the chief natural resources police officer of the Division of Natural Resources; or the chief of any West Virginia municipal law-enforcement agency;

    “County” means the fifty-five major political subdivisions of the state;

    “Exempt rank” means any noncommissioned or commissioned rank of sergeant or above;

    “Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction” or “Governor’s committee” means the Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction established as a state planning agency pursuant to section one, article nine, chapter fifteen of this code;

    “Law-enforcement officer” means any duly authorized member of a law-enforcement agency who is authorized to maintain public peace and order, prevent and detect crime, make arrests and enforce the laws of the state or any county or municipality thereof, other than parking ordinances, and includes those persons employed as campus police officers at state institutions of higher education in accordance with the provisions of section five, article four, chapter eighteen-b of this code, and persons employed by the Public Service Commission as motor carrier inspectors and weight enforcement officers charged with enforcing commercial motor vehicle safety and weight restriction laws although those institutions and agencies may not be considered law-enforcement agencies. The term also includes those persons employed as rangers by the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority in accordance with the provisions of section six, article fourteen, chapter twenty of this code, although the authority may not be considered a law-enforcement agency: Provided, That the subject rangers shall pay the tuition and costs of training. The term also includes persons employed as forestry officers in accordance with the provisions of section six, article one-a, chapter nineteen, although the Division of Forestry is not a law-enforcement agency. As used in this article, the term “law-enforcement officer” does not apply to the chief executive of any West Virginia law-enforcement agency or any watchman or special natural resources police officer or special forestry officer;

    “Law-enforcement official” means the duly appointed chief administrator of a designated law-enforcement agency or a duly authorized designee;

    “Municipality” means any incorporated town or city whose boundaries lie within the geographic boundaries of the state;

    “Subcommittee” or “law-enforcement training subcommittee” means the subcommittee of the Governor’s Committee on Crime, Delinquency and Correction created by section two of this article; and

    “West Virginia law-enforcement agency” means any duly authorized state, county or municipal organization employing one or more persons whose responsibility is the enforcement of laws of the state or any county or municipality thereof: Provided, That neither the Hatfield-McCoy Regional Recreation Authority, the Public Service Commission nor any state institution of higher education is a law-enforcement agency.


    NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Division of Forestry to establish law-enforcement practices and procedures to address the law-enforcement requirements of the division, and to designate certain personnel as “forestry officers.”


    Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.


    §19-1A-6 is new; therefore, it has been completely underscored.

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