1998 Regular Session
By: Senator(s) Burton, Hamilton
Senate Bill 2227
(As Sent to Governor)
AN ACT TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-1, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE THAT ALL LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, INCLUDING PART-TIME, RESERVE, AUXILIARY OR VOLUNTEER, SHALL RECEIVE TRAINING AND TO REMOVE THE DESIGNATION OF THE MISSISSIPPI LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS TRAINING ACADEMY AS THE PRINCIPAL FACILITY OF SUCH TRAINING; TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-3, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE DEFINITION OF THOSE LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WHO ARE REQUIRED TO OBTAIN CERTIFICATION; TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-11, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE A CERTIFICATION AND TRAINING PROGRAM FOR PART-TIME, RESERVE, AUXILIARY OR VOLUNTEER LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS WITH ESSENTIALLY THE SAME STANDARDS AND CONTENT AS THE PROGRAM FOR FULL-TIME LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS, AND TO PROVIDE A THIRTY-DAY TIME PERIOD TO APPEAL A FINDING OR ORDER OF THE BOARD; TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-13, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO REVISE THE METHOD OF REIMBURSEMENT FOR TRAINING PROGRAMS OF FULL-TIME AND PART-TIME OFFICERS; TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-17, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, TO PROVIDE FOR SANCTIONS FOR NONCOMPLIANCE OF PART-TIME OFFICERS; TO AMEND SECTION 45-6-7, MISSISSIPPI CODE OF 1972, IN CONFORMITY; AND FOR RELATED PURPOSES.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MISSISSIPPI:
SECTION 1. Section 45-6-1, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-1. The Legislature finds that the administration of criminal justice is of statewide concern, and that the activities of law enforcement officers are important to the health, safety and welfare of the people of this state and are of such nature as to require selection, education and training of a professional nature upon entrance and during the careers of law enforcement officers. It is the intent of the Legislature to provide for the coordination of training programs for law enforcement officers and to set standards therefor * * *.
SECTION 2. Section 45-6-3, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-3. For the purposes of this chapter, the following words shall have the meanings ascribed herein, unless the context shall otherwise require:
(a) "Commission" means the Criminal Justice Planning Commission.
(b) "Board" means the Board on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training.
(c) "Law enforcement officer" means any person appointed or employed full time by the state or any political subdivision thereof, who is duly sworn and vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests, and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of criminals and the enforcement of the criminal and traffic laws of this state and/or the ordinances of any political subdivision thereof. The term "law enforcement officer" also includes employees of the Department of Corrections who are designated as law enforcement officers by the Commissioner of Corrections pursuant to Section 47-5-54. However, the term "law enforcement officer" shall not mean or include any elected official or any person employed as an assistant to or investigator for a district attorney in this state, * * * compliance agents of the State Board of Pharmacy, or any person or elected official who, subject to approval by the board, provides some criminal justice related services for a law enforcement agency. As used in this paragraph "appointed or employed full time" means any person who is receiving gross compensation for his duties as a law enforcement officer of One Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($125.00) or more per week or Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) or more per month.
(d) "Part-time law enforcement officer" shall mean any person appointed or employed in a part-time, reserve or auxiliary capacity by the state or any political subdivision thereof who is duly sworn and vested with authority to bear arms and make arrests, and whose primary responsibility is the prevention and detection of crime, the apprehension of criminals and the enforcement of the criminal and traffic laws of this state or the ordinances of any political subdivision thereof. However, the term "part-time law enforcement officer" shall not mean or include any person or elected official who, subject to approval by the board, provides some criminal justice related services for a law enforcement agency. As used in this paragraph "appointed or employed" means any person who is performing such duties at any time whether or not they receive any compensation for duties as a law enforcement officer provided that such compensation is less than One Hundred Twenty-five Dollars ($125.00) per week or Five Hundred Dollars ($500.00) per month.
(e) "Law enforcement trainee" shall mean any person appointed or employed in a full-time, part-time, reserve or auxiliary capacity by the state or any political subdivision thereof for the purposes of completing all the selection and training requirements established by the board to become a law enforcement officer or a part-time law enforcement officer. Such individuals shall not have the authority to use force, bear arms, make arrests or exercise any of the powers of a peace officer unless under the direct control and supervision of a law enforcement officer.
SECTION 3. Section 45-6-11, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-11. (1) Law enforcement officers already serving under permanent appointment on July 1, 1981 and personnel of the division of community services under Section 47-7-9, Mississippi Code of 1972, serving on July 1, 1994, shall not be required to meet any requirement of subsections (3) and (4) of this section as a condition of continued employment; nor shall failure of any such law enforcement officer to fulfill such requirements make that person ineligible for any promotional examination for which that person is otherwise eligible. Provided, however, if any law enforcement officer certified under the provisions of this chapter leaves his employment as such and does not become employed as a law enforcement officer within two (2) years from the date of termination of his prior employment, he shall be required to comply with board policy as to rehiring standards in order to be employed as a law enforcement officer; except, that, if any law enforcement officer certified under this chapter leaves his employment as such to serve as a sheriff, he may be employed as a law enforcement officer after he has completed his service as a sheriff without being required to comply with board policy as to rehiring standards. Part-time law enforcement officers serving on or before July 1, 1998, shall have until July 1, 2001, to obtain certification as a part-time officer.
(2) Any person who has twenty (20) years of law enforcement experience and who is eligible to be certified under this section shall be eligible for recertification after leaving law enforcement on the same basis as someone who has taken the basic training course. Application to the board to qualify under this subsection shall be made no later than June 30, 1993.
(3) (a) No person shall be appointed or employed as a law enforcement officer or a part-time law enforcement officer * * * unless that person has been certified as being qualified under the provisions of subsection (4) of this section.
(b) No person shall be appointed or employed as a law enforcement trainee by any law enforcement unit for a period to exceed two (2) years. The prohibition against the appointment or employment of a * * * law enforcement trainee for a period not to exceed two (2) years may not be nullified by terminating the appointment or employment of such a person before the expiration of the time period and then rehiring the person for another period * * *. Any person, who, due to illness or other events beyond his * * * control, could not attend the required school or training as scheduled, may serve with full pay and benefits in such a capacity until he * * * can attend the required school or training.
(c) No person shall serve as a law enforcement officer in any full-time, part-time, reserve or auxiliary capacity during a period when that person's certification has been suspended, cancelled or recalled pursuant to the provisions of this chapter.
(4) In addition to the requirements of subsections (3), (7) and (8) of this section, the board, by rules and regulations consistent with other provisions of law, shall fix other qualifications for the employment of law enforcement officers, including minimum age, education, physical and mental standards, citizenship, good moral character, experience and such other matters as relate to the competence and reliability of persons to assume and discharge the responsibilities of law enforcement officers, and the board shall prescribe the means for presenting evidence of fulfillment of these requirements. Additionally, the board shall fix qualifications for the appointment or employment of part-time law enforcement officers to essentially the same standards and requirements as law enforcement officers. The board shall develop and implement a part-time law enforcement officer training program that meets the same performance objectives and has essentially the same or similar content as the programs approved by the board for full-time law enforcement officers.
(5) Any elected sheriff, constable, deputy or chief of police may apply for certification. Such certification shall be granted at the request of the elected official after providing evidence of satisfaction of the requirements of subsections (3) and (4) of this section. Certification granted to such elected officials shall be granted under the same standards and conditions as established by law enforcement officers and shall be subject to recall as in subsection (7) of this section.
(6) The board shall issue a certificate evidencing satisfaction of the requirements of subsections (3) and (4) of this section to any applicant who presents such evidence as may be required by its rules and regulations of satisfactory completion of a program or course of instruction in another jurisdiction equivalent in content and quality to that required by the board for approved law enforcement officer education and training programs in this state, and has satisfactorily passed any and all diagnostic testing and evaluation as required by the board to ensure competency.
(7) Professional certificates remain the property of the board, and the board reserves the right to either reprimand the holder of a certificate, suspend a certificate upon conditions imposed by the board, or cancel and recall any certificate when:
(a) The certificate was issued by administrative error;
(b) The certificate was obtained through misrepresentation or fraud;
(c) The holder has been convicted of any crime involving moral turpitude;
(d) The holder has been convicted of a felony; or
(e) Other due cause as determined by the board.
(8) When the board believes there is a reasonable basis for either the reprimand, suspension, cancellation of, or recalling the certification of a law enforcement officer or a part-time law enforcement officer, notice and opportunity for a hearing shall be provided in accordance with law prior to such reprimand, suspension or revocation.
(9) Any full- or part-time law enforcement officer aggrieved by the findings and order of the board may file an appeal with the chancery court of the county in which such person is employed from the final order of the board. Such appeals must be filed within thirty (30) days of the final order of the board.
(10) Any full- or part-time law enforcement officer whose certification has been cancelled pursuant to this chapter may reapply for certification, but not sooner than two (2) years after the date on which the order of the board cancelling such certification becomes final.
SECTION 4. Section 45-6-13, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-13. (1) The board shall establish, provide or maintain law enforcement training programs through such agencies and institutions as the board may deem appropriate.
(2) The board shall authorize, but only from such funds authorized and appropriated by the Legislature, the reimbursement to each political subdivision and to state agencies of at least fifty percent (50%) of the allowable salary and allowable tuition, living and travel expense incurred by * * * law enforcement officers in attendance at approved training programs, provided said political subdivisions and state agencies do in fact adhere to the selection and training standards established by the board. The board shall authorize, but only from such funds authorized and appropriated by the Legislature, the direct funding of a part-time law enforcement officer training program. The board shall require the payment of a reasonable tuition fee to aid in funding the costs of administering the part-time law enforcement officer training program.
(3) The board is authorized to expend funds for the purpose of providing a professional library and training aids that will be available to state agencies and political subdivisions.
(4) If any full- or part-time law enforcement officer in this state who is employed by a municipality, county or other governmental entity shall, within three (3) years after the date of his employment, resign from, or be terminated from, employment by such entity and immediately become employed by another governmental entity in a law enforcement capacity, then the governmental entity by which the resigned or terminated officer is employed shall reimburse the governmental entity from which the officer resigned or was terminated a proportionate share of the officer's law enforcement training expenses which were incurred by such entity, if any.
SECTION 5. Section 45-6-17, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-17. (1) Any full- or part-time law enforcement officer who does not comply with the provisions of this chapter, or whose certificate has been suspended or revoked under provisions of this chapter, shall not be authorized to exercise the powers of law enforcement officers generally, and particularly shall not be authorized to exercise the power of arrest.
(2) Any state agency or political subdivision that employs a person as a full- or part-time law enforcement officer who does not meet the requirements of this chapter, or who employs a person whose certificate has been suspended or revoked under provisions of this chapter, is prohibited from paying the salary of such person, or providing any public monies for the equipment or support of the law enforcement activities of such person and any person violating this subsection shall be personally liable for making such payment.
SECTION 6. Section 45-6-7, Mississippi Code of 1972, is amended as follows:
45-6-7. In addition to the powers conferred upon the board elsewhere in this chapter, the board shall have power to:
(a) Promulgate rules and regulations for the administration of this chapter, including the authority to require the submission of reports and information by law enforcement agencies of the state and its political subdivisions.
(b) Establish minimum educational and training standards for admission to employment or appointment as a law enforcement officer or a part-time law enforcement officer (i) in a permanent position, and (ii) in a probationary status.
(c) Certify persons as being qualified under the provisions of this chapter to be law enforcement officers or part-time law enforcement officers.
(d) Revoke certification for cause and in the manner provided in this chapter.
(e) Establish minimum curriculum requirements for basic and advanced courses and programs for schools operated by or for the state or any political subdivision thereof for the specific purpose of training police and other law enforcement officers, both full- and part-time.
(f) Consult and cooperate with counties, municipalities, state agencies, other governmental agencies, and with universities, colleges, junior colleges and other institutions concerning the development of training schools, programs or courses of instruction for personnel defined in this chapter.
(g) Make recommendations concerning any matter within its purview pursuant to this chapter.
(h) Make such inspection and evaluation as may be necessary to determine if governmental units are complying with the provisions of this chapter.
(i) Approve law enforcement officer training schools for operation by or for the state or any political subdivision thereof for the specific purpose of training personnel defined in this chapter.
(j) Upon the request of agencies employing personnel defined in this chapter, conduct surveys or aid municipalities and counties to conduct surveys through qualified public or private agencies and assist in the implementation of any recommendations resulting from such surveys.
(k) Upon request of agencies within the purview of this chapter, conduct general and specific management surveys and studies of the operations of the requesting agencies at no cost to those agencies. The role of the board under this subsection shall be that of management consultant.
(l) Adopt and amend regulations consistent with law, for its internal management and control of board programs.
(m) Enter into contracts or do such things as may be necessary and incidental to the administration of this chapter.
SECTION 7. This act shall take effect and be in force from and after July 1, 1998.