8 LONG TITLE
9 General Description:
10 This bill adjusts requirements for law enforcement agencies to conduct internal
11 investigations regarding law enforcement officers.
12 Highlighted Provisions:
13 This bill:
14 ▸ requires an employing law enforcement agency or training academy to provide
15 information to a prospective employer upon request;
16 ▸ requires law enforcement agencies to report certain investigations to POST; and
17 ▸ makes conforming and technical corrections.
18 Money Appropriated in this Bill:
20 Other Special Clauses:
22 Utah Code Sections Affected:
24 53-6-209, as renumbered and amended by Laws of Utah 1993, Chapter 234
25 53-6-211, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2020, Chapter 35
26 53-14-101, as last amended by Laws of Utah 2004, Chapter 62
28 Be it enacted by the Legislature of the state of Utah:
29 Section 1. Section 53-6-209 is amended to read:
30 53-6-209. Termination of employment -- Change of status form.
31 (1) When a peace officer's employment terminates, the employing agency shall submit
32 a change of status form noting the termination of the peace officer to the division.
33 (2) The change of status form shall:
34 (a) be completed and submitted within [
35 termination date;
36 (b) identify the circumstances of the peace officer's status change by indicating that the
37 peace officer has resigned, retired, terminated, transferred, deceased, or that the peace officer's
38 name has changed;
39 (c) indicate the effective date of action; and
40 (d) indicate the name of the new employer, if the status change is due to a transfer.
41 (3) If a peace officer's employment terminates during an open internal investigation
42 regarding that peace officer and involving an alleged violation of Subsection 53-6-211(1), the
43 employing agency shall notify the division of the investigation in accordance with Subsection
44 53-6-211(6) within 30 days of the peace officer's termination date and provide a reasonable
45 estimated date of completion for the investigation.
46 (4) If an employing agency receives credible allegations and opens an internal
47 investigation after a peace officer's employment has been terminated, the employing agency
48 shall notify the division within 30 days of the date of the opening of the investigation and
49 provide a reasonable estimated date of completion for the investigation. If the allegations
50 involve alleged violations of Subsection 53-6-211(1), the agency shall report the allegations to
51 the division in accordance with Subsection 53-6-211(6) whether or not the employing agency
52 opens an internal investigation.
54 give notice of the change of status of a peace officer is liable to the division for any damages
55 that may be sustained by the failure to make the notification.
56 Section 2. Section 53-6-211 is amended to read:
57 53-6-211. Suspension or revocation of certification -- Right to a hearing --
58 Grounds -- Notice to employer -- Reporting -- Judicial appeal.
59 (1) The council has the authority to issue a Letter of Caution, or suspend or revoke the
60 certification of a peace officer, if the peace officer:
61 (a) willfully falsifies any information to obtain certification;
62 (b) has any physical or mental disability affecting the peace officer's ability to perform
68 including a traffic offense that is a class C misdemeanor or infraction;
70 issued a warning issued based on Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967);
73 53-13-102, and is unable to possess a firearm under state or federal law.
74 (2) The council may not issue a Letter of Caution, or suspend or revoke the
75 certification of a peace officer for a violation of a law enforcement agency's policies, general
76 orders, or guidelines of operation that do not amount to a cause of action under Subsection (1).
77 (3) (a) The division is responsible for investigating officers who are alleged to have
78 engaged in conduct in violation of Subsection (1).
79 (b) The division shall initiate all adjudicative proceedings under this section by
80 providing to the peace officer involved notice and an opportunity for a hearing before an
81 administrative law judge.
82 (c) All adjudicative proceedings under this section are civil actions, notwithstanding
83 whether the issue in the adjudicative proceeding is a violation of statute that may be prosecuted
85 (d) (i) The burden of proof on the division in an adjudicative proceeding under this
86 section is by clear and convincing evidence.
87 (ii) If a peace officer asserts an affirmative defense, the peace officer has the burden of
88 proof to establish the affirmative defense by a preponderance of the evidence.
89 (e) If the administrative law judge issues findings of fact and conclusions of law stating
90 there is sufficient evidence to demonstrate that the officer engaged in conduct that is in
91 violation of Subsection (1), the division shall present the finding and conclusions issued by the
92 administrative law judge to the council.
93 (f) The division shall notify the chief, sheriff, or administrative officer of the police
94 agency which employs the involved peace officer of the investigation and shall provide any
95 information or comments concerning the peace officer received from that agency regarding the
96 peace officer to the council before a Letter of Caution is issued, or a peace officer's certification
97 may be suspended or revoked.
98 (g) If the administrative law judge finds that there is insufficient evidence to
99 demonstrate that the officer is in violation of Subsection (1), the administrative law judge shall
100 dismiss the adjudicative proceeding.
101 (4) (a) The council shall:
102 (i) accept the administrative law judge's findings of fact and conclusions of law, and
103 the information concerning the peace officer provided by the officer's employing agency; and
104 (ii) choose whether to issue a Letter of Caution, or suspend or revoke the officer's
106 (b) Before making a decision, the council may consider aggravating and mitigating
108 (c) A member of the council shall recuse him or herself from consideration of an issue
109 that is before the council if the council member:
110 (i) has a personal bias for or against the officer;
111 (ii) has a substantial pecuniary interest in the outcome of the proceeding and may gain
112 or lose some benefit from the outcome; or
113 (iii) employs, supervises, or works for the same law enforcement agency as the officer
114 whose case is before the council.
115 (5) (a) Termination of a peace officer, whether voluntary or involuntary, does not
116 preclude suspension or revocation of a peace officer's certification by the council if the peace
117 officer was terminated for any of the reasons under Subsection (1).
118 (b) Employment by another agency, or reinstatement of a peace officer by the original
119 employing agency after termination by that agency, whether the termination was voluntary or
120 involuntary, does not preclude suspension or revocation of a peace officer's certification by the
121 council if the peace officer was terminated for any of the reasons under Subsection (1).
122 (6) (a) A chief, sheriff, or administrative officer of a law enforcement agency who is
123 made aware of an allegation against a peace officer employed by that agency that involves
124 conduct in violation of Subsection (1) shall [
125 investigation into the allegation and report the findings of the investigation to the division if the
126 allegation is found to be true.
127 (b) If a peace officer who is the subject of an internal or administrative investigation
128 into allegations that include any of the conditions or circumstances outlined in Subsection (1)
129 resigns, retires, or otherwise separates from the investigating law enforcement agency before
130 the conclusion of the investigation, the chief, sheriff, or administrative officer of that law
131 enforcement agency shall complete the investigation and report the [
133 (7) The council's issuance of a Letter of Caution, or suspension or revocation of an
134 officer's certification under Subsection (4) may be appealed under Title 63G, Chapter 4, Part 4,
135 Judicial Review.
136 Section 3. Section 53-14-101 is amended to read:
137 53-14-101. Law enforcement and training academy applicants -- Employer
138 background information.
139 (1) As used in this section:
140 (a) "Director" means the director of a certified law enforcement officer training
142 (b) "Employer" includes a public employer and a private employer and includes the
143 human resource officer for the employer.
144 (c) "Law enforcement agency" has the same definition as in Section 53-1-102.
145 (d) "Law enforcement officer" has the same definition as in Section 53-13-103, and
146 includes those officers in administrative positions.
147 (e) "Training academy" means a peace officer training institution certified in
148 accordance with the standards developed under Section 53-6-105.
149 (2) A current or former employer and the director of any training academy an applicant
150 has attended or graduated from shall provide all available information in accordance with this
151 section regarding an applicant if the request complies with Subsection (3) and is submitted by:
152 (a) a law enforcement agency regarding an applicant for an employment position; or
153 (b) the director of a law enforcement training academy for which the applicant requests
154 admission under Section 53-6-203.
155 (3) The request for information pursuant to Subsection (2) shall be:
156 (a) in writing;
157 (b) accompanied by an authorization signed by the applicant and notarized by a notary
158 public, in which the applicant consents to the release of the requested information and releases
159 the employer or training academy providing the information from liability; and
160 (c) addressed to the employer or director and signed by a sworn officer or other
161 authorized representative of the requesting law enforcement agency or the academy.
162 (4) The information that a law enforcement agency or the director of an academy [
163 shall request pursuant to Subsection (2) includes:
164 (a) the date on which the [
165 and, if applicable, the date on which [
166 was terminated;
167 (b) a list of the compensation that the employer provided to the applicant during the
168 course of the employment;
169 (c) a copy of the application for a position of employment that the applicant submitted
170 to the employer;
171 (d) a written evaluation of the performance of the applicant;
172 (e) a record of the attendance of the applicant;
173 (f) a record of disciplinary action taken against the applicant;
174 (g) a statement regarding whether the employer would rehire the applicant and, if the
175 employer would not rehire the applicant, the reasons why;
176 (h) if applicable, a record setting forth the reason that the employment of the applicant
177 was terminated and whether the termination was voluntary or involuntary;
178 (i) the record of any final action regarding an applicant's peace officer certification that
179 is based on an investigation concerning the applicant's qualification for certification; and
180 (j) notice of any pending or ongoing investigation regarding the applicant's certification
181 as a peace officer.
182 (5) (a) In the absence of fraud or malice, an employer or training academy is not
183 subject to any civil liability for any relevant cause of action by releasing employment
184 information requested under this section.
185 (b) This section does not in any way or manner abrogate or lessen the existing common
186 law or statutory privileges and immunities of an employer.
187 (c) An employer or training academy may not provide information pursuant to
188 Subsection (2) if the disclosure of the information is prohibited pursuant to federal or state law.
189 (6) An employer's refusal to disclose information to a law enforcement agency in
190 accordance with this section constitutes grounds for a civil action by the requesting agency for
191 injunctive relief requiring disclosure on the part of an employer.
192 (7) (a) (i) A law enforcement agency may use the information received pursuant to this
193 section only to determine the suitability of an applicant for employment.
194 (ii) A director may use the information received pursuant to this section only to
195 determine the suitability of an applicant for acceptance at the training academy.
196 (b) Except as otherwise provided in Subsection (7)(c), [
197 enforcement agency and [
198 pursuant to this section.
199 (c) (i) A law enforcement agency [
200 that it receives pursuant to this section with another law enforcement agency if:
201 (A) the information is requested by the other law enforcement agency in accordance
202 with this section;
204 law enforcement agency; and
206 (ii) A director [
207 pursuant to this section with another training academy if:
208 (A) the information is requested by the other training academy in accordance with this
212 (iii) A director [
213 graduate of a training academy that is received pursuant to this section with a law enforcement
214 agency if:
215 (A) the information is requested by the law enforcement agency in accordance with this
218 enforcement agency; and
220 (8) This section applies to requests submitted to employers on and after July 1, [
221 2020 for employment information under this section.