This article shall be known as the "West Virginia Law-Enforcement Mutual Assistance Act".
The Legislature hereby finds and declares that the commission of various crimes against the peace and dignity of the state of West Virginia quite often crosses county and municipal boundaries, affecting the citizenry of this state and making difficult the tasks of detecting and preventing crime by law-enforcement agencies due to restrictions imposed by municipal and county boundaries; that many county and municipal law-enforcement agencies do not, by themselves, have sufficient resources in personnel, equipment and particular areas of expertise to adequately prevent or detect those crimes or criminal activities which cross such county and municipal boundaries; that it is in the best interest of the citizens of this state for law-enforcement agencies to share resources and to provide mutual assistance to each other; and that, therefore, the Legislature finds and declares that the various law-enforcement agencies within the state should be permitted and empowered to share resources and provide mutual assistance for the prevention and detection of crime.
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, a county sheriff or the Director of the Division of Forestry.
(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 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.
(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.
(a) The head of any law-enforcement agency, or the head of any campus police, as those terms are defined in section three of this article, may temporarily provide assistance and cooperation to another agency of the state criminal justice system or to a federal law-enforcement agency in investigating crimes or possible criminal activity if requested to do so in writing by the head of another law-enforcement agency or federal law-enforcement agency. Such assistance may also be provided upon the request of the head of the law-enforcement agency or federal law-enforcement agency without first being reduced to writing in emergency situations involving the imminent risk of loss of life or serious bodily injury. The assistance may include, but is not limited to, entering into a multijurisdictional task force agreement to integrate federal, state, county and municipal law-enforcement agencies or other groups of state or local law-enforcement officers, or any combination thereof, for the purpose of enhancing interagency coordination, intelligence gathering, facilitating multijurisdictional investigations, providing criminal justice enforcement personnel of the law-enforcement agency to work temporarily with personnel of another agency, including in an undercover capacity, and making available equipment, training, technical assistance and information systems for the more efficient investigation, apprehension and adjudication of persons who violate the criminal laws of this state or the United States and to assist the victims of such crimes. When providing the assistance under this article, a head of a law-enforcement agency shall comply with all applicable statutes, ordinances, rules, policies or guidelines officially adopted by the state or the governing body of the city or county by which he or she is employed and any conditions or restrictions included therein.
(b) While temporarily assigned to work with another law-enforcement agency or agencies, criminal justice enforcement personnel and other state and local law-enforcement officers shall have the same jurisdiction, powers, privileges and immunities, including those relating to the defense of civil actions, as such criminal justice enforcement personnel would enjoy if actually employed by the agency to which they are assigned, in addition to any corresponding or varying jurisdiction, powers, privileges and immunities conferred by virtue of their continued employment with the assisting agency.
(c) While assigned to another agency or to a multijurisdictional task force, criminal justice enforcement personnel and other state and local law-enforcement officers shall be subject to the lawful operational commands of the superior officers of the agency or task force to which they are assigned, but for personnel and administrative purposes, including compensation, they shall remain under the control of the assisting agency. These assigned personnel shall continue to be covered by all employee rights and benefits provided by the assisting agency, including workers' compensation, to the same extent as though such personnel were functioning within the normal scope of their duties.
(d) No request or agreement between the heads of law-enforcement agencies, or the heads of campus police, made or entered into pursuant to this article shall remain in force or effect until a copy of said request or agreement is filed with the office of the circuit clerk of the county or counties in which the law-enforcement agencies, or the campus police, involved operate. Agreements made pursuant to this article shall remain in effect unless and until the agreement is changed or withdrawn in writing by the head of one of the law-enforcement agencies. Upon filing, the requests or agreements may be sealed, subject to disclosure pursuant to an order of a circuit court directing disclosure for good cause. Nothing in this article shall be construed to limit the authority of the head of a law-enforcement agency or the head of campus police to withdraw from any agreement at any time.
(e) Nothing contained in this article shall be construed so as to grant, increase, decrease or in any manner affect the civil service protection or the applicability of civil service laws as to any criminal justice enforcement personnel, or as to any state or local law-enforcement officer or agency operating under the authority of this article, nor shall this article in any way reduce or increase the jurisdiction or authority of any criminal justice enforcement personnel, or of any state or local law-enforcement officer or agency, except as specifically provided herein.
(f) Nothing contained in this article shall be construed so as to authorize the permanent consolidation or merger or the elimination of operations of participating federal, state, county and municipal law-enforcement agencies, or other groups of state and local law-enforcement officers, or campus police.
(1) The federal law-enforcement officer is requested to provide temporary assistance by the head of a state or local law- enforcement agency or the designee of the head of the agency and that request is within the state or local law-enforcement agency's scope of authority and jurisdiction and is in writing: Provided, That the request does not need to be in writing if an emergency situation exists involving the imminent risk of loss of life or serious bodily injury;
(2) The federal law-enforcement officer is requested by a state or local law-enforcement officer to provide the officer temporary assistance when the state or local law-enforcement officer is acting within the scope of the officer's authority and jurisdiction and where exigent circumstances exist; or
(3) A felony is committed in the federal law-enforcement officer's presence or under circumstances indicating a felony has just occurred.
(b) This section applies to the following persons who are employed as full-time federal law-enforcement officers by the United States government and who are authorized to carry firearms while performing their duties:
(1) Federal Bureau of Investigation special agents;
(2) Drug Enforcement Administration special agents;
(3) United States Marshal's Service marshals and deputy marshals;
(4) United States postal service inspectors;
(5) Internal revenue service special agents;
(6) United States secret service special agents;
(7) Bureau of alcohol, tobacco, and firearms special agents;
(8) Police officers employed pursuant to 40 U.S.C. §§318 and 490 at the federal bureau of investigation's criminal justice information services division facility located within this state;
(9) Law enforcement commissioned rangers of the national park service;
(10) Department of Veterans Affairs Police and Department of Veterans Affairs special investigators;
(11) Office of Inspector General special agents; and
(12) Federal Air Marshals with the Federal Air Marshal Service.
(c) Any person acting under the authority granted pursuant to this section:
(1) Has the same authority and is subject to the same exemptions and exceptions to this code as a state or local law- enforcement officer;
(2) Is not an officer, employee, or agent of any state or local law-enforcement agency;
(3) May not initiate or conduct an independent investigation into an alleged violation of any provision of this code except to the extent necessary to preserve evidence or testimony at risk of loss immediately following an occurrence described in subdivision (3), subsection (a) of this section;
(4) Is subject to 28 U.S.C. §1346, the Federal Tort Claims Act; and
(5) Has the same immunities from liability as a state or local law-enforcement officer.
(a) Duly authorized law enforcement officers of the United States, the District of Columbia and other states or political subdivisions thereof who are transporting prisoners through this state, delivering prisoners to this state or taking custody of a person in this state for transport to another jurisdiction are deemed to have lawful custody of said prisoner while in this state.
(b) Given that duly authorized officers of other jurisdictions
often have a need to travel through or to this state with prisoners
for short durations of time, such as for medical treatment, the
purpose of this section is to clarify the authority and
jurisdiction of those officers of the United States, the District
of Columbia and other states while having custody of a prisoner
during the time they are in West Virginia.
Note: WV Code updated with legislation passed through the 2015 Regular Session
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