HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

1903

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2016

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO A LAW ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS BOARD.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that it is the role of the State to oversee and regulate those professions and occupations that have a significant impact on society. The Hawaii Revised Statutes regulate private security guards. Law enforcement is another area in which the State should do more to provide statewide standards and uniformity.

The legislature further finds that the State and counties grant to police, sheriffs, and other law enforcement officers immense powers, such as the authority to search, arrest, and use deadly force. Hawaii is the only state in the country without any state-level regulation of police. Regulation is left to the counties. Hawaii is only one of a handful of states that does not establish minimum standards required to be a police officer and does not have any procedure for revoking a police officer's certification for serious misconduct.

The legislature further finds that the consequences of a lack of statewide oversight of police are a matter of serious public concern. Several recent incidents have highlighted a need for greater oversight. For example, a former Honolulu police officer was recently sentenced to prison for using unreasonable force to violate the civil rights of two men. In another incident, a Honolulu police sergeant was caught on video in public engaged in a violent physical fight with his girlfriend. In yet another example, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is investigating the chief of police of the city and county of Honolulu for alleged criminal violations. Numerous local media stories have reported on the lack of power that the Honolulu police commission possesses to implement meaningful disciplinary actions for its police officers.

The legislature further finds that the State must enact a law that certifies law enforcement officers to ensure the highest standards of professionalism, the uniformity of standards, and accountability throughout our islands.

The purpose of this Act is to establish a law enforcement standards board for the certification of county police officers, state public safety officers, and employees of the departments of transportation and land and natural resources with police powers.

SECTION 2. The Hawaii Revised Statutes is amended by adding a new chapter to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"Chapter

LAW ENFORCEMENT STANDARDS BOARD

   -1 Definitions. As used in this chapter, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, the following terms shall mean as follows:

"Board" means the law enforcement standards board.

"Law enforcement officer" means:

(1) A police officer employed by a county police department;

(2) A public safety officer employed by the department of public safety; or

(3) An employee of the department of transportation or the department of land and natural resources who is conferred by law with general police powers.

   -2 Creation of law enforcement standards board; composition. (a) There is created in the department of the attorney general, for administrative purposes only, the law enforcement standards board, which shall consist of seven ex officio members and four public members.

(b) The ex officio members of the board shall be:

(1) The chiefs of police of the four counties;

(2) The director of public safety;

(3) The director of transportation; and

(4) The chair of the board of land and natural resources.

(c) One public member from each of the four counties shall be appointed by the governor, in accordance with section 26-34. At least two of the four public members holding a position on the board at any given time shall:

(1) Possess a master's or doctorate degree related to criminal justice;

(2) Possess a law degree and have experience:

(A) Practicing in Hawaii as a deputy attorney general, a deputy prosecutor, deputy public defender, or private criminal defense attorney; or

(B) Litigating constitutional law issues in Hawaii;

(3) Be a recognized expert in the field of criminal justice, policing, or security; or

(4) Have work experience in a law enforcement capacity; provided that experience in the Honolulu police department shall not be sufficient to qualify under this paragraph.

(d) The public members of the board shall receive no salary, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for necessary expenses, including travel expenses.

   -3 Powers. The board shall have the power to do as follows:

(1) Adopt rules in accordance with chapter 91 to implement this chapter;

(2) Establish minimum standards for employment as a law enforcement officer and certify persons to be qualified as law enforcement officers;

(3) Establish minimum criminal justice curriculum requirements for basic, specialized, and in-service courses and programs for schools operated by or for the State or a county for the specific purpose of training law enforcement officers;

(4) Consult and cooperate with the counties, agencies of the State, other governmental agencies, universities, colleges, and other institutions concerning the development of law enforcement officer training schools and programs of criminal justice instruction;

(5) Employ, subject to chapter 76, an administrator and other persons necessary to carry out its duties under this chapter;

(6) Investigate when there is reason to believe that a law enforcement officer does not meet the minimum standards for employment, and in so doing, may subpoena persons, books, records, or documents related to the investigation and require answers in writing under oath to questions asked by the council or the administrator;

(7) Establish and require participation in continuing education programs for law enforcement officers;

(8) Charge and collect fees for applications for certification as a law enforcement officer; and

(9) Establish procedures to revoke a certification issued pursuant to section    -6(b) for serious misconduct.

   -4 Law enforcement standards board special fund; established. There is established in the state treasury the law enforcement standards board special fund. The revenues of the special fund shall consist of appropriations made by the legislature, fees charged by the board, grants, gifts, and interest on moneys deposited in the special fund. The special fund shall be used to defray the expenses of the board in implementing this chapter.

   -5 Training programs. The board shall establish and maintain law enforcement training programs through agencies and institutions deemed appropriate by the board for applications for certification.

   -6 Standards. (a) No person may be appointed as a law enforcement officer unless the person:

(1) Has satisfactorily completed a basic program of law enforcement training approved by the board; and

(2) Possesses other qualifications that the board has established for the employment of law enforcement officers, including minimum age, education, physical and mental standards, citizenship, good conduct, moral character, and experience.

(b) The board shall issue a certificate evidencing satisfaction of the requirements of this section to an applicant who satisfies the requirements of subsection (a) or satisfactorily completes a program or course of instruction in another jurisdiction equivalent in content and quality to that required under subsection (a).

(c) The board may deny or revoke the certificate of an applicant or law enforcement officer who fails to meet or maintain the standards required under this section (a).

   -7 Employment of law enforcement officers. (a) Except as provided under subsection (b), no person may be appointed as a law enforcement officer by any county police department, the department of public safety, the department of transportation, or the department of land and natural resources, unless the person has a valid certificate issued by the board under section    -6.

(b) This section shall not apply to a person employed on a probationary basis, except that employment on a probationary basis may not exceed the period authorized for probationary employment as determined by the board."

SECTION 3. There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for deposit into the law enforcement standards board special fund.

SECTION 4. There is appropriated out of the law enforcement standards board special fund the sum of $           or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for the purposes of this Act.

The sum appropriated shall be expended by the department of the attorney general for the purposes of this Act.

SECTION 5. All rights, powers, functions, and duties of the department of land and natural resources, the department of transportation, and the police departments of the several counties relating to law enforcement standards are transferred to the department of the attorney general.

All officers and employees whose functions are transferred by this Act shall be transferred with their functions and shall continue to perform their regular duties upon their transfer, subject to the state personnel laws and this Act.

No officer or employee of the State having tenure shall suffer any loss of salary, seniority, prior service credit, vacation, sick leave, or other employee benefit or privilege as a consequence of this Act, and such officer or employee may be transferred or appointed to a civil service position without the necessity of examination; provided that the officer or employee possesses the minimum qualifications for the position to which transferred or appointed; and provided that subsequent changes in status may be made pursuant to applicable civil service and compensation laws.

An officer or employee of the State who does not have tenure and who may be transferred or appointed to a civil service position as a consequence of this Act shall become a civil service employee without the loss of salary, seniority, prior service credit, vacation, sick leave, or other employee benefits or privileges and without the necessity of examination; provided that such officer or employee possesses the minimum qualifications for the position to which transferred or appointed.

If an office or position held by an officer or employee having tenure is abolished, the officer or employee shall not thereby be separated from public employment, but shall remain in the employment of the State with the same pay and classification and shall be transferred to some other office or position for which the officer or employee is eligible under the personnel laws of the State as determined by the head of the department or the governor.

SECTION 6. All appropriations, records, equipment, machines, files, supplies, contracts, books, papers, documents, maps, and other personal property heretofore made, used, acquired, or held by the department of land and natural resources, the department of transportation, and the police departments of the several counties relating to the functions transferred to the department of the attorney general shall be transferred with the functions to which they relate.

SECTION 7. All rules, policies, procedures, guidelines, and other material adopted or developed by the department of land and natural resources, the department of transportation, and the police departments of the several counties to implement provisions of the Hawaii Revised Statutes which are reenacted or made applicable to the department of the attorney general by this Act, shall remain in full force and effect until amended or repealed by the department of the attorney general pursuant to chapter 91, Hawaii Revised Statutes. In the interim, every reference to the department of land and natural resources, the department of transportation, and a police department of any of the several counties or the chair of the board of land and natural resources, the director of transportation, or the chief of police of any of the several counties in those rules, policies, procedures, guidelines, and other material is amended to refer to the department of the attorney general or the attorney general as appropriate.

SECTION 8. This Act does not affect rights and duties that matured, penalties that were incurred, and proceedings that were begun before its effective date.

SECTION 9. This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2016; provided that the prohibition against the employment of noncertificated law enforcement officers established under section    -7 contained in section 2 of this Act shall take effect on July 1, 2017.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Law Enforcement Standards Board; Special Fund; Appropriations

 

Description:

Establishes a law enforcement standards board for the certification of county police officers, state public safety officers, and employees of the departments of transportation and land and natural resources with police powers. Establishes a special fund. Appropriates funds.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.