SB 0916 Revises peace officer training and certification laws
LR Number:4191S.01I Fiscal Note:4191-01
Committee:Civil and Criminal Jurisprudence
Last Action:02/16/00 - Voted Do Pass S Civil & Criminal Jurisprudence Journal page:
Effective Date:August 28, 2000
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Current Bill Summary

SB 916 - This act revises the training and certification requirements for peace officers, certified reserve officers and reserve officers. New definitions have been added to distinguish between peace officers, certified reserve officers, bailiffs and non-certified reserve officers.

The act requires certified peace officers to have 470 hours of training, with the following exceptions: 1) peace officers certified before August 28, 1993 (120 hours); 2) peace officers certified from August 28, 1993 to August 28, 1994 (300 hours); 3) peace officers certified and commissioned in a third class county before July 1, 2001 (120 hours, if county adopted by political subdivision); 4) allows lesser requirements for limited certification of reserve peace officers.

Anyone who is commissioned as a peace officer or bailiff must be certified, except anyone who: 1) seeks or holds elected county office; 2) is a park ranger not carrying a firearm; 3) is continuously commissioned by a political subdivision with less than four full-time paid peace officers or a population less than 2,000 (unless in a charter first class county); 4) is consistently commissioned as a full-time peace officer since 1979; 5) is a reserve peace officer commissioned before August 15, 1988; or 6) does not have arrest powers.

The act requires fingerprinting of all academy applicants, in order to conduct a criminal history check, both state and federal, and allows reciprocity for officers from other jurisdictions. Continuing law enforcement education and training shall be provided by Peace Officer Standards and Training Commission (POST), and required to maintain certification. The act requires certification of employed county deputies, consistent with other peace officers.

The reasons for any type of termination, resignation or retirement must be provided, stating whether it was due to a violation of law or written and distributed regulations, or a failure to meet minimum qualifications shall be filed with POST. The act allows denial of an applicant for the same reasons as listed for revocation or suspension, and allows the Director to warn, censure, probate, refuse to issue, suspend or revoke a certificate. The grounds for discipline are revised. Certificate holders may seek review by the Administrative Hearing Commission.

The act allows immediate suspension of certificates when the holder has endangered the public, and provides due process for the officer when it appears to be in the public interest and safety. The Department of Public Safety may seek an injunction when a certificate holder is engaging in activities which create a serious danger to the health, safety or welfare of others.

The Department shall have the power to issue and enforce subpoenas. The act allows discovery and admission into evidence of any records relating to a peace officer or certified reserve officer during a hearing on the officer's fitness to serve. Records concerning the officer's fitness may not be withheld on the basis of privilege. The act provides immunity from liability for individuals involved in the proceeding, who act in good faith and without malice. Any violation of Chapter 590, RSMo, shall be a Class B misdemeanor.

Surplus training funds may be used for additional training of law enforcement officers and personnel. The act deletes the provision allowing municipalities with a population of less than 2,000 to hire untrained and uncertified peace officers, so that a person who cannot be certified due to a criminal history is prohibited from being hired in a small city. The act eliminates a separate training program for first-time sheriffs. It shall be a class B misdemeanor to knowingly commission an uncertified peace officer, or to accept a commission while uncertified.

The act is nearly identical to HB 1585.