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Introduced Version Senate Bill 193 History

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Senate Bill No. 193

(By Senators Foster, Kessler (Acting President), Chafin, Hall, Jenkins, Laird, Minard, Palumbo, Snyder, Williams, Unger and Plymale)

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[Introduced January 18, 2011; referred to the Committee on the Judiciary.]

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A BILL to amend and reenact §30-29-1, §30-29-2, §30-29-3 and §30-29-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto a new section, designated §30-29-11, all relating to law-enforcement certification generally; expanding the responsibilities of the law-enforcement training subcommittee and renaming it the law-enforcement professional standards subcommittee; clarifying the authority to decertify law-enforcement officers; establishing a database of law-enforcement officers disciplined for certain types of misconduct; requesting the proposal of legislative rules to set standards for law-enforcement agencies to report certain types of misconduct by officers to the database; and requiring that law-enforcement agencies check the database prior to hiring an officer.

Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:

    That §30-29-1, §30-29-2, §30-29-3 and §30-29-5 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §30-29-11, all to read as follows:

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:

    (1) "Approved law-enforcement training academy" means any training facility which is approved and authorized to conduct law-enforcement training as provided in this article;

    (2) "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;

    (3) "County" means the fifty-five major political subdivisions of the state;

    (4) "Exempt rank" means any noncommissioned or commissioned rank of sergeant or above;

    (5) "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;

    (6) "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. 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;

    (7) "Law-enforcement official" means the duly appointed chief administrator of a designated law-enforcement agency or a duly authorized designee;

    (8) "Municipality" means any incorporated town or city whose boundaries lie within the geographic boundaries of the state;

    (9) "Subcommittee" or "law-enforcement training professional standards subcommittee" means the subcommittee of the Governor's committee on crime, delinquency and correction created by section two of this article; and

    (10) "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.

§30-29-2. Law-enforcement professional standards subcommittee.

    (a) A The law-enforcement training subcommittee of the Governor's committee on crime, delinquency and corrections is hereby created continued and renamed the Law-Enforcement Professional Standards Subcommittee. The subcommittee has the following responsibilities:

    (1) Review and administration of administer programs for qualification, training and certification of law-enforcement officers in the state; and

    (2) Receive and review misconduct reports filed as required by section eleven of this article from law-enforcement entities of this state by the process created pursuant to subsection (l) of section three of this article. The subcommittee may recommend to the Governor’s committee de-certification of any law-enforcement officer whose misconduct reports would make them ineligible to become a new officer under section five of this article.

    (b) The subcommittee has subpoena power to compel the attendance of witnesses and the production of books, records or documents anywhere in the state from law-enforcement agencies of this state as needed to carry out the duties of the subcommittee.

    (c) The subcommittee shall be comprised of ten members of the Governor's committee including one representative of each of the following:

    (1) The department of public safety, West Virginia State Police;

    (2) The law-enforcement Division of the Department of Natural Resources;

    (3) the West Virginia Sheriffs Association;

    (4) the West Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police;

    (5) the West Virginia Deputy Sheriffs Association;

    (6) the West Virginia fraternal order of police lodge;

    (7) the West Virginia Municipal League;

    (8) the West Virginia Association of county officials;

    (9) the Human Rights Commission; and

    (10) The public at large.

    (b) (d) The subcommittee shall elect a chairperson and a vice chairperson. Special meetings may be held upon the call of the chairperson, vice chairperson or a majority of the members of the subcommittee. A majority of the members of the subcommittee constitutes a quorum.

§30-29-3. Duties of the Governor's committee and the subcommittee.

    Upon recommendation of the subcommittee, the Governor's committee shall, by or pursuant to rules proposed for legislative approval in accordance with article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code:

    (a) Provide funding for the establishment and support of law-enforcement training academies in the state;

    (b) Establish standards governing the establishment and operation of the law-enforcement training academies, including regional locations throughout the state, in order to provide access to each law-enforcement agency in the state in accordance with available funds;

    (c) Establish minimum law-enforcement instructor qualifications;

    (d) Certify qualified law-enforcement instructors;

    (e) Maintain a list of approved law-enforcement instructors;

    (f) Promulgate standards governing the qualification of law-enforcement officers and the entry-level law-enforcement training curricula. These standards shall require satisfactory completion of a minimum of four hundred classroom hours, shall provide for credit to be given for relevant classroom hours earned pursuant to training other than training at an established law-enforcement training academy if earned within five years immediately preceding the date of application for certification, and shall provide that the required classroom hours can be accumulated on the basis of a part-time curricula spanning no more than twelve months, or a full-time curricula;

    (g) Establish standards governing in-service law-enforcement officer training curricula and in-service supervisory level training curricula;

    (h) Certify organized criminal enterprise investigation techniques with a qualified anti-racial profiling training course or module;

    (i) Establish standards governing mandatory training to effectively investigate organized criminal enterprises as defined in article thirteen, chapter sixty-one of this code, while preventing racial profiling, as defined in section ten of this article, for entry level training curricula and for law-enforcement officers who have not received such training as certified by the Governor's committee as required in this section;

    (j) Establish, no later than July 1, 2011, procedures for implementation of a course in investigation of organized criminal enterprises which includes an anti-racial training module to be available on the Internet or otherwise to all law-enforcement officers. The procedures shall include the frequency with which a law-enforcement officer shall receive training in investigation of organized criminal enterprises and anti-racial profiling, and a time frame for which all law-enforcement officers must receive such training: Provided, That all law-enforcement officers in this state shall receive such training no later than July 1, 2012. In order to implement and carry out the intent of this section, the Governor's committee may promulgate emergency rules pursuant to section fifteen, article three, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code;

    (k) Certify or de-certify law-enforcement officers, as provided in section five of this article;

    (l) Establish standards and procedures for the reporting of complaints and certain disciplinary matters concerning law-enforcement officers, and for reviewing the certification of law-enforcement officers who receive complaints or disciplinary matters. These standards and procedures shall provide for preservation of records and access to records by law-enforcement agencies and conditions as to how the information in those records is to be used regarding an officer’s law-enforcement employment by another law enforcement agency;

    (1) The subcommittee shall establish and manage a database that is available to all law-enforcement agencies in the state concerning internal and external complaints, disciplinary matters, investigations or actions taken by the agency and actions taken by an officer or agency in lieu of disciplinary action pursuant to the reporting requirements set by rule.

    (2) The information in the database which contains personnel or personal information not resulting in a criminal charge or conviction are not subject to the provisions of chapter twenty-nine-b of this code.

    (l) (m) Seek supplemental funding for law-enforcement training academies from sources other than the fees collected pursuant to section four of this article;

    (m) (n) Any responsibilities and duties as the Legislature may, from time to time, see fit to direct to the committee; and

    (n) (o) Submit, on or before September 30 of each year, to the Governor, and upon request to individual members of the Legislature, a report on its activities during the previous year and an accounting of funds paid into and disbursed from the special revenue account establish established pursuant to section four of this article.

§30-29-5. Certification requirements and power to de-certify.

    (a) Except as provided in subsections (b) and (g) below, no a person may not be employed as a law-enforcement officer by any West Virginia law-enforcement agency or by any state institution of higher education or by the Public Service Commission of West Virginia on or after the effective date of this article unless the person is certified, or is certifiable in one of the manners specified in subsections (c) through (e) below, by the Governor’s committee as having met the minimum entry level law-enforcement qualification and training program requirements promulgated pursuant to this article: Provided, That the provisions of this section shall do not apply to persons hired by the Public Service Commission as motor carrier inspectors and weight enforcement officers prior to the before July 1, 2007.

    (b) Except as provided in subsection (g) below, a person who is not certified, or certifiable in one of the manners specified in subsections (c) through (e) below, may be conditionally employed as a law-enforcement officer until certified: Provided, That within ninety calendar days of the commencement of employment or the effective date of this article if the person is already employed on the effective date, he or she makes a written application to attend an approved law-enforcement training academy. The person’s employer shall provide notice, in writing, of the ninety-day deadline to file a written application to the academy within thirty calendar days of that person’s commencement of employment. The employer shall provide full disclosure as to the consequences of failing to file a timely written application. The academy shall notify the applicant in writing of the receipt of the application and of the tentative date of the applicant's enrollment. Any applicant who, as the result of extenuating circumstances acceptable to his or her law-enforcement official, is unable to attend the scheduled training program to which he or she was admitted may reapply and shall be admitted to the next regularly scheduled training program. An applicant who satisfactorily completes the program shall, within thirty days of completion, make written application to the Governor's committee requesting certification as having met the minimum entry level law-enforcement qualification and training program requirements. Upon determining that an applicant has met the requirements for certification, the Governor's committee shall forward to the applicant documentation of certification. An applicant who fails to complete the training program to which he or she is first admitted, or was admitted upon reapplication, may not be certified by the Governor's committee: Provided, however, That an applicant who has completed the minimum training required by the Governor’s committee may be certified as a law-enforcement officer, notwithstanding the applicant’s failure to complete additional training hours required in the training program to which he or she originally applied.

    (c) Any person who is employed as a law-enforcement officer on the effective date of this article and is a graduate of the West Virginia basic police training course, the West Virginia State Police cadet training program, or other approved law-enforcement training academy, is certifiable as having met the minimum entry level law-enforcement training program requirements and is exempt from the requirement of attending a law-enforcement training academy. To receive certification, the person shall make written application within ninety calendar days of the effective date of this article to the Governor's committee requesting certification. The Governor's committee shall review the applicant's relevant scholastic records and, upon determining that the applicant has met the requirements for certification, shall forward to the applicant documentation of certification.

    (d) Any person who is employed as a law-enforcement officer on the effective date of this article and is not a graduate of the West Virginia basic police training course, the West Virginia State Police Cadet Training Program, or other approved law-enforcement training academy, is certifiable as having met the minimum entry level law-enforcement training program requirements and is exempt from the requirement of attending a law-enforcement training academy if the person has been employed as a law-enforcement officer for a period of not less than five consecutive years immediately preceding the date of application for certification. To receive certification, the person shall make written application within ninety calendar days following the effective date of this article to the Governor's committee requesting certification. The application shall include notarized statements as to the applicant's years of employment as a law-enforcement officer. The Governor's committee shall review the application and, upon determining that the applicant has met the requirements for certification, shall forward to the applicant documentation of certification.

    (e) Any person who begins employment on or after the effective date of this article as a law-enforcement officer is certifiable as having met the minimum entry level law-enforcement training program requirements and is exempt from attending a law-enforcement training academy if the person has satisfactorily completed a course of instruction in law enforcement equivalent to or exceeding the minimum applicable law-enforcement training curricula promulgated by the Governor's committee. To receive certification, the person shall make written application within ninety calendar days following the commencement of employment to the Governor's committee requesting certification. The application shall include a notarized statement of the applicant's satisfactory completion of the course of instruction in law enforcement, a notarized transcript of the applicant's relevant scholastic records, and a notarized copy of the curriculum of the completed course of instruction. The Governor's committee shall review the application and, if it finds the applicant has met the requirements for certification shall forward to the applicant documentation of certification.

    (f) Any person who is employed as a law-enforcement officer on or after the effective date of this article and fails to be certified shall be automatically terminated and no further emoluments shall be paid to such officer by his or her employer. Any person terminated shall be entitled to reapply, as a private citizen, to the subcommittee for training and certification, and upon being certified may again be employed as a law-enforcement officer in this state: Provided, That if a person is terminated under this subsection because an application was not timely filed to the academy, and the person’s employer failed to provide notice or disclosure to that person as set forth in subsection (b) of this section, the employer shall pay the full cost of attending the academy if the person’s application to the subcommittee as a private citizen is subsequently approved.

    (g) Nothing in this article may be construed as prohibiting any governing body, Civil Service Commission or chief executive of any West Virginia law-enforcement agency from requiring their law-enforcement officers to meet qualifications and satisfactorily complete a course of law-enforcement instruction which exceeds the minimum entry level law-enforcement qualification and training curricula promulgated by the Governor's committee.

    (h) The Governor’s committee may de-certify law-enforcement officers upon recommendation of the subcommittee pursuant to the process contained in this article and legislative rules.

    (h) (i) The requirement of this section for qualification, training and certification of law-enforcement officers shall not be mandatory during the two years next succeeding the effective date of this article July 9, 1981 for the law-enforcement officers of a law-enforcement agency which employs a civil service system for its law-enforcement personnel, nor shall such provisions be mandatory during the five years next succeeding the effective date of this article July 9, 1981 for law-enforcement officers of a law-enforcement agency which does not employ a civil service system for its law-enforcement personnel: Provided, That such these requirements shall be are mandatory for all such law-enforcement officers until their law-enforcement officials apply for their exemption by submitting a written plan to the Governor's committee which will reasonably assure compliance of all law-enforcement officers of their agencies within the applicable two or five-year period of exemption.

    (i) (j) Any person aggrieved by a decision of the Governor's committee made pursuant to this article may contest such the decision in accordance with the provisions of article five, chapter twenty-nine-a of this code.

    (j) (k) Any person terminated from employment for not filing an application to the law-enforcement training academy within ninety days after commencing employment as a law-enforcement officer may appeal the termination to the Governor’s committee for reconsideration on an individual basis.

    (k) (l) Beginning July 1, 2002 until June 13, 2003, any applicant who has been conditionally employed as a law-enforcement officer who failed to submit a timely application pursuant to the provisions of this section, may be conditionally employed as a law-enforcement officer and may resubmit an application pursuant to subsection (b) of this section to an approved law-enforcement training academy. If the applicant is accepted, the employer shall pay compensation to the employee for attendance at the law-enforcement training academy at the rate provided in section eight of this article.

§30-29-11. Required reporting by law-enforcement agencies of               certain disciplinary information; Legislative               rules; Requirement that database be consulted               prior to the hiring of law-enforcement officers.

    (a) Law-enforcement agencies in this state shall report to the subcommittee the name of, and all pertinent facts regarding, any law-enforcement officer charged with or for which there has been a judicial or administrative finding of probable cause to believe that:

    (1) He or she has committed a felony or a misdemeanor crime of violence, moral turpitude or controlled substance offence; or

    (2) He or she has been administratively charged with a violation of any agency, rule, or policy which, if proven, would result in discharge, demotion or suspension and he or she has resigned prior to a final determination.

    (b) Commencing on July 1, 2011, the subcommittee shall recommend legislative rules to the Governor’s committee relating to the reporting of certain criminal and administrative violations by law-enforcement officers, the process by which all reports are investigated and recorded and the process by which all law-enforcement agencies can access the records of the subcommittee. These rules shall include:

    (1) The violations of agency rules, regulations or policies that will result in a mandatory report to the subcommittee in addition to the statutorily mandated reports pursuant to subsection (a) of this section;

    (2) A process by which the subcommittee can receive, review and investigate all reported actions; and

    (3) Guidelines for the establishment and use of a database of all reported actions that is accessible by law-enforcement agencies of this state.

    (c) Prior to hiring a law-enforcement officer, the head of a law-enforcement agency of this state or a entity or agency of this state or any political subdivision thereof authorized to employ or hire a law-enforcement officer shall determine whether the database authorized by the provisions of section three of this article contains information regarding said prospective employee.


    NOTE: This bill was recommended for introduction and passage by the Joint Committee on the Judiciary.



    The purpose of this bill is to expand the responsibilities of the law-enforcement training subcommittee and rename it the law-enforcement professional standards subcommittee; to clarify the authority to de-certify law-enforcement officers; to establish a database of law-enforcement officers disciplined for certain types of misconduct; to request the proposal of legislative rules to set standards for law-enforcement agencies to report certain types of misconduct by officers to the database; and to require that law-enforcement agencies check the database prior to hiring any officer.



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


    §30-29-11 is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.


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