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H.B. 178





Chief Sponsor: Richard A. Greenwood

Senate Sponsor: John L. Valentine

             7      LONG TITLE
             8      General Description:
             9          This bill modifies the Peace Officer Standards and Training Act regarding the
             10      certification of dispatchers.
             11      Highlighted Provisions:
             12          This bill:
             13          .    modifies the definition of "good moral character";
             14          .    changes the time period for becoming inactive from one year to 18 months;
             15          .    provides for suspension of a dispatcher's certification if annual training is not
             16      satisfactorily completed;
             17          .    revises the process for the suspension or revocation of a dispatcher's certification,
             18      including:
             19              .    authorizing the Peace Officer Standards and Training Council to suspend or
             20      revoke the certification of a dispatcher;
             21              .    amending the grounds for suspension or revocation; and
             22              .    providing procedures for adjudicative hearings, including burdens of proof and
             23      levels of proof required; and
             24          .    provides that if a dispatcher relinquishes certification when a disciplinary procedure
             25      against the dispatcher is pending, the dispatcher may not be certified again as a
             26      dispatcher in Utah.
             27      Money Appropriated in this Bill:

             28          None
             29      Other Special Clauses:
             30          None
             31      Utah Code Sections Affected:
             32      AMENDS:
             33          53-6-302, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2010, Chapters 283 and 324
             34          53-6-304, as enacted by Laws of Utah 1995, Chapter 134
             35          53-6-306, as enacted by Laws of Utah 1995, Chapter 134
             36      ENACTS:
             37          53-6-311, Utah Code Annotated 1953
             38      REPEALS AND REENACTS:
             39          53-6-309, as enacted by Laws of Utah 1995, Chapter 134
             41      Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
             42          Section 1. Section 53-6-302 is amended to read:
             43           53-6-302. Applicants for certification examination -- Requirements.
             44          (1) Before being allowed to take a dispatcher certification examination, each applicant
             45      shall meet the following requirements:
             46          (a) be a United States citizen;
             47          (b) be 18 years of age or older at the time of employment as a dispatcher;
             48          (c) be a high school graduate or have a G.E.D. equivalent;
             49          (d) have not been convicted of a crime for which the applicant could have been
             50      punished by imprisonment in a federal penitentiary or by imprisonment in the penitentiary of
             51      this or another state;
             52          (e) have demonstrated good moral character, as determined by a background
             53      investigation; and
             54          (f) be free of any physical, emotional, or mental condition that might adversely affect
             55      the performance of the applicant's duty as a dispatcher.
             56          (2) (a) An application for certification shall be accompanied by a criminal history
             57      background check of local, state, and national criminal history files and a background
             58      investigation.

             59          (b) The costs of the background check and investigation shall be borne by the applicant
             60      or the applicant's employing agency.
             61          [(i) Conviction of any offense not serious enough to be covered under Subsection
             62      (1)(d), involving dishonesty, unlawful sexual conduct, physical violence, or the unlawful use,
             63      sale, or possession for sale of a controlled substance is an indication that an applicant may not
             64      be of good moral character and may be grounds for denial of certification or refusal to give a
             65      certification examination.]
             66          [(ii) An applicant may be allowed to take a certification examination provisionally,
             67      pending completion of any background check or investigation required by this
             68      Subsection (2)(b).]
             69          (3) (a) Notwithstanding Title 77, Chapter 40, Utah Expungement Act, regarding
             70      expungements, or a similar statute or rule of any other jurisdiction, any conviction obtained in
             71      this state or other jurisdiction, including a conviction that has been expunged, dismissed, or
             72      treated in a similar manner to either of these procedures, may be considered for purposes of this
             73      section.
             74          (b) Subsection (3)(a) applies to convictions entered both before and after May 1, 1995.
             75          (4) Any background check or background investigation performed pursuant to the
             76      requirements of this section shall be to determine eligibility for admission to training programs
             77      or qualification for certification examinations and may not be used as a replacement for any
             78      background investigations that may be required of an employing agency.
             79          (5) An applicant is considered to be of good moral character under Subsection (1)(e) if
             80      the applicant has not engaged in conduct that would be a violation of Subsection 53-6-309 (1)
             81      or (2).
             82          Section 2. Section 53-6-304 is amended to read:
             83           53-6-304. Waiver of training course requirement.
             84          (1) The director may waive the required basic dispatcher training course and certify an
             85      applicant who:
             86          (a) provides evidence that the applicant meets the requirements under Section
             87      53-6-302 , relating to qualifications for admission to the training course;
             88          (b) provides evidence that the applicant has completed a basic dispatcher training
             89      program that, in the director's judgment, is equivalent to the course required for certification

             90      under this part; and
             91          (c) passes [a written] the certification examination[, an oral examination, or both, that
             92      affirms the applicant's ability in public safety communications].
             93          (2) An applicant who fails the examination under Subsection (1)(c) shall complete the
             94      basic dispatcher training course and pass the [dispatcher] certification examination to become
             95      certified.
             96          Section 3. Section 53-6-306 is amended to read:
             97           53-6-306. Inactive and lapsed certificates -- Reinstatement -- Continuing
             98      education requirements.
             99          (1) (a) The certificate of a dispatcher who has not been actively engaged in performing
             100      the duties of a dispatcher for [one year shall be] 18 consecutive months or more is designated
             101      "inactive."
             102          [(b) If a dispatcher having an inactive certificate becomes reemployed or subsequently
             103      reengaged as a dispatcher, the dispatcher's certificate may be reissued or reinstated by the
             104      director upon successful completion by that dispatcher of the certification examination.]
             105          [(c) The director may require a dispatcher with an inactive certificate to successfully
             106      complete the basic dispatcher training course before reissuing or reinstating certification.]
             107          (b) A dispatcher whose certificate is inactive shall pass the certification examination
             108      before the certificate may be reissued or reinstated.
             109          (2) (a) The certificate of a dispatcher who has not been actively engaged in performing
             110      the duties of a dispatcher for four continuous years shall be designated "lapsed."
             111          (b) [Subject to Section 53-6-305 , a] A dispatcher [having a lapsed] whose certificate
             112      has lapsed shall successfully complete the basic training course and pass the certification
             113      examination before the certificate may be reissued or reinstated.
             114          (3) (a) A certified dispatcher shall complete annual training approved by the director of
             115      20 hours or more.
             116          [(b) (i) If a certified dispatcher does not complete the annual training requirement, then
             117      that dispatcher's certificate shall be designated "inactive," and after one year, shall be
             118      designated "lapsed."]
             119          [(ii) The reinstatement of an inactive or a lapsed certificate under Subsection (3) shall
             120      be governed by rules made by the director.]

             121          (b) If a dispatcher fails to satisfactorily complete the annual training, the dispatcher's
             122      certificate shall be suspended until any deficiency in the annual training is remedied.
             123          Section 4. Section 53-6-309 is repealed and reenacted to read:
             124          53-6-309. Suspension or revocation of certification -- Right to a hearing --
             125      Grounds -- Notice to employer -- Reporting.
             126          (1) The council has authority to suspend or revoke the certification of a dispatcher, if
             127      the dispatcher:
             128          (a) willfully falsifies any information to obtain certification;
             129          (b) has any physical or mental disability affecting the dispatcher's ability to perform
             130      duties;
             131          (c) is addicted to alcohol or any controlled substance, unless the dispatcher reports the
             132      addiction to the employer and to the director as part of a departmental early intervention
             133      process;
             134          (d) engages in conduct that is a state or federal criminal offense, but not including a
             135      traffic offense that is a class C misdemeanor or infraction;
             136          (e) refuses to respond, or fails to respond truthfully, to questions after having been
             137      issued a warning issued based on Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967); or
             138          (f) engages in sexual conduct while on duty.
             139          (2) The council may not suspend or revoke the certification of a dispatcher for a
             140      violation of the employing agency's policies, general orders, or guidelines of operation that do
             141      not amount to a cause of action under Subsection (1).
             142          (3) (a) The division is responsible for investigating dispatchers who are alleged to have
             143      engaged in conduct in violation of Subsection (1).
             144          (b) The division shall initiate all adjudicative proceedings under this section by
             145      providing to the dispatcher involved notice and an opportunity for a hearing before an
             146      administrative law judge.
             147          (c) All adjudicative proceedings under this section are civil actions, notwithstanding
             148      whether the issue in the adjudicative proceeding is a violation of statute that may be prosecuted
             149      criminally.
             150          (d) (i) The burden of proof on the division in an adjudicative proceeding under this
             151      section is by clear and convincing evidence.

             152          (ii) If a dispatcher asserts an affirmative defense, the dispatcher has the burden of proof
             153      to establish the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
             154          (e) If the administrative law judge issues findings of fact and conclusions of law stating
             155      there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the dispatcher engaged in conduct that is in
             156      violation of Subsection (1), the division shall present the finding and conclusions issued by the
             157      administrative law judge to the council.
             158          (f) The division shall notify the agency that employs the involved dispatcher of the
             159      investigation and shall provide any information or comments concerning the dispatcher
             160      received from that agency regarding the dispatcher to the council before a dispatcher's
             161      certification may be suspended or revoked.
             162          (g) If the administrative law judge finds that there is insufficient evidence to
             163      demonstrate that the dispatcher is in violation of Subsection (1), the administrative law judge
             164      shall dismiss the adjudicative proceeding.
             165          (4) (a) The council shall review the findings of fact and conclusions of law and the
             166      information concerning the dispatcher provided by the dispatcher's employing agency and
             167      determine whether to suspend or revoke the dispatcher's certification.
             168          (b) A council member shall recuse himself or herself from consideration of an issue
             169      that is before the council if the council member:
             170          (i) has a personal bias for or against the dispatcher;
             171          (ii) has a substantial pecuniary interest in the outcome of the proceeding and may gain
             172      or lose some benefit from the outcome; or
             173          (iii) employs, supervises, or works for the same agency as the dispatcher whose case is
             174      before the council.
             175          (5) (a) Termination of a dispatcher, whether voluntary or involuntary, does not
             176      preclude suspension or revocation of a dispatcher's certification by the council if the dispatcher
             177      was terminated for any of the reasons under Subsection (1).
             178          (b) Employment by another agency, or reinstatement of a dispatcher by the original
             179      employing agency after termination by that agency, whether the termination was voluntary or
             180      involuntary, does not preclude suspension or revocation of a dispatcher's certification by the
             181      council if the dispatcher was terminated for any of the reasons under Subsection (1).
             182          (6) An agency that is made aware of an allegation against a dispatcher employed by

             183      that agency that involves conduct in violation of Subsection (1) shall investigate the allegation
             184      and report to the division if the allegation is found to be true.
             185          Section 5. Section 53-6-311 is enacted to read:
             186          53-6-311. Voluntary relinquishment of dispatcher certification.
             187          (1) (a) A dispatcher may voluntarily relinquish the dispatcher's certification to the
             188      division at any time when a disciplinary issue regarding the dispatcher has been referred to the
             189      division.
             190          (b) A dispatcher who voluntarily relinquishes certification under this Subsection (1)
             191      may not subsequently be certified as a dispatcher in Utah.
             192          (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a dispatcher whose certification has become
             193      inactive as provided in Section 53-6-306 .

Legislative Review Note
    as of 1-28-11 12:20 PM

Office of Legislative Research and General Counsel

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