Senate Bill No. 100
(By Senators Laird, Miller and Williams)
[Originating in the Committee on the Judiciary;
reported March 13, 2013.]
A BILL to amend the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-14-3a; and to amend and reenact §15-2-10 of said code, all relating to requiring law-enforcement officers to wear certain armored vests when feasible; requiring municipal police chiefs to create a policy regarding the mandatory use of certain armored vests; and requiring the Superintendent of the West Virginia State Police to create a policy regarding the mandatory use of certain armored vests.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, be amended by adding thereto a new section, designated §8-14-3a; and that §15-2-10 of said code be amended and reenacted, all to read as follows:
CHAPTER 8. MUNICIPAL CORPORATIONS.
ARTICLE 14. LAW AND ORDER; POLICE FORCE OR DEPARTMENTS; POWERS, AUTHORITY AND DUTIES OF LAW-ENFORCEMENT OFFICIALS AND POLICEMEN; POLICE MATRONS; SPECIAL SCHOOL ZONE AND PARKING LOT OR PARKING BUILDING POLICE OFFICERS; CIVIL SERVICE FOR CERTAIN POLICE DEPARTMENTS.
§8-14-3a. Mandatory armored vest wear policy requirement.
Every police force or department of a municipality shall adopt a formal policy by January 1, 2014, that requires all law-enforcement officers in their police force or department to wear an armor vest throughout each duty shift whenever feasible. The terms and exemptions of this mandatory wear policy shall be determined by each chief of police in the reasonable exercise of his or her discretion: Provided, That the policy must define an “armor vest” as a vest that has met the performance standards established by the National Law-Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) as published in NIJ Standard 0101.03, or any formal revision of this standard.
CHAPTER 15. PUBLIC SAFETY.
ARTICLE 2. WEST VIRGINIA STATE POLICE.
§15-2-10. Uniforms; authorized equipment, weapons and supplies; local headquarters; quarters for members; life insurance; medical and hospital fees for injuries and illnesses of members incurred in line of duty.
(a) The standard uniform to be used by the West Virginia State Police after the effective date of this article shall be as follows: Forestry green blouse with West Virginia State Police emblem on sleeve; black shoulder strap one-inch black stripe around sleeve, four inches from end of sleeve; forestry green breeches with one-inch black stripe down the side; trousers (slacks) with one-inch black stripe down the side for officers and clerks regularly enlisted in the State Police; forestry green shirts with West Virginia State Police emblem on sleeve; black shoulder straps; forestry green mackinaw with West Virginia State Police emblem on sleeve; black shoulder straps; one-inch black stripe around sleeve four inches from end of sleeve; campaign hat of olive drab color; black Sam Browne belt with holster; black leggings and shoes; the officer’s uniform will have one and one-quarter inch black stripe around the sleeve of blouse and mackinaw four inches from end of sleeve circumposed with one-half inch gold braid, also black collars on blouse, with two silver shoulder bars for captains, one silver shoulder bar for first lieutenant, one gold shoulder bar for second lieutenant. For noncommissioned officers the uniform blouse and shirt will have thereon black chevrons of the appropriate rank.
(b) The superintendent shall establish the weapons and enforcement equipment which are authorized for use by members of the State Police and shall provide for periodic inspection of the weapons and equipment. He or she shall provide for the discipline of members using other than authorized weapons and enforcement equipment.
(c) The superintendent shall adopt a formal policy by January 1, 2014, that requires all State Police officers to wear an armor vest throughout each duty shift whenever feasible. The terms and exemptions of this mandatory wear policy shall be determined by the superintendent in the reasonable exercise of his or her discretion: Provided, That the policy must define an “armor vest” as a vest that has met the performance standards established by the National Law-Enforcement and Corrections Technology Center of the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) as published in NIJ Standard 0101.03, or any formal revision of this standard.
(c) (d) The superintendent shall provide the members of the State Police with suitable arms and weapons and, when he or she considers it necessary, with suitably equipped automobiles, motorcycles, watercraft, airplanes and other means of conveyance to be used by the West Virginia State Police, the Governor and other officers and executives in the discretion of the Governor, in times of flood, disaster and other emergencies, for traffic study and control, criminal and safety work and in other matters of official business. He or she shall also provide the standard uniforms for all members of the State Police, for officers, noncommissioned officers and troopers provided for in this section. All uniforms and all arms, weapons and other property furnished the members of the State Police by the State of West Virginia are and remain the property of the state.
(d) (e) The superintendent may purchase and maintain on behalf of members group life insurance not to exceed the amount of $5,000 on behalf of each member.
(e) (f) The superintendent may contract and furnish at State Police expense medical and hospital services for treatment of illness or injury of a member which shall be determined by the superintendent to have been incurred by the member while engaged in the performance of duty and from causes beyond control of the members. Notwithstanding any other provision of this code, the superintendent has the right of subrogation in any civil action or settlement brought by or on behalf of a member in relation to any act by another which results in the illness, injury or death of a member. To this end, the superintendent may initiate an action on behalf of the State Police in order to recover the costs incurred in providing medical and hospital services for the treatment of a member resulting from injury or illness originating in the performance of official duties. This subsection shall not affect the power of a court to apply ordinary equitable defenses to the right of subrogation.
The superintendent may also consult with the executive director of the Workers’ Compensation Commission in an effort to defray the cost of medical and hospital services. In no case will the compensation rendered to health care providers for medical and hospital services exceed the then current rate schedule in use by the Workers’ Compensation Commission.
Third-party reimbursements received by the superintendent after the expiration of the fiscal year in which the injury, illness or death occurred will be deposited to a nonexpiring special revenue account. Funds deposited to this account may be used solely for defraying the costs of medical or hospital services rendered to any sworn members as a direct result of an illness, injury or death resulting from the performance of official duties.
(f) (g) The superintendent shall establish and maintain local headquarters at those places in West Virginia that are in his or her judgment suitable and proper to render the West Virginia State Police most efficient for the purpose of preserving the peace, protecting property, preventing crime, apprehending criminals and carrying into effect all other provisions of this article. The superintendent shall provide, by acquisition, lease or otherwise, for local headquarters, for housing and quarters for the accommodation of the members of the West Virginia State Police, and for any other facilities necessary or useful for the effective operation of the West Virginia State Police and shall provide all equipment and supplies necessary for the members of the West Virginia State Police to perform their duties.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to require West Virginia law enforcement officers to wear armored vests whenever feasible.
§8-14-3a is new; therefore, strike-throughs and underscoring have been omitted.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.