1976 South Carolina Code of Laws
Updated through the end of the 2007 Regular Session
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Title 23 - Law Enforcement and Public Safety
LAW ENFORCEMENT TRAINING COUNCIL
SECTION 23-23-10. Purpose; definitions.
(A) In order to insure the public safety and general welfare of the people of this State, and to promote equity for all segments of society, a program of training for law enforcement officers and other persons employed in the criminal justice system in this State is hereby proclaimed and this chapter must be interpreted to achieve these purposes principally through the establishment of minimum and advance standards in law enforcement selection and training.
(B) It is the intent of this chapter to encourage all law enforcement officers, departments, and agencies within this State to adopt standards which are higher than the minimum standards implemented pursuant to this chapter, and these minimum standards may not be considered sufficient or adequate in cases where higher standards have been adopted or proposed. Nothing in this chapter may be construed to preclude an employing agency from establishing qualifications and standards for hiring or training law enforcement officers which exceed the minimum standards set by the council, hereinafter created, nor, unless specifically stated, may anything in this chapter be construed to affect any sheriff, or other law enforcement officer elected under the provisions of the Constitution of this State.
(C) It is the intent of the General Assembly in creating a facility and a governing council to maximize training opportunities for law enforcement officers and criminal justice personnel, to coordinate training, and to set standards for the law enforcement and criminal justice service, all of which are imperative to upgrading law enforcement to professional status.
(D) Upon the signature of the Governor, all functions, duties, responsibilities, accounts, and authority statutorily exercised by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy Division of the Department of Public Safety are transferred to and devolved upon the South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council.
(E) As contained in this chapter:
(1) "law enforcement officer" means an appointed officer or employee hired by and regularly on the payroll of the State or any of its political subdivisions, who is granted statutory authority to enforce all or some of the criminal, traffic, and penal laws of the State and who possesses, with respect to those laws, the power to effect arrests for offenses committed or alleged to have been committed; and
(2) "council" means the Law Enforcement Training Council created by this chapter.
SECTION 23-23-20. South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy.
The South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy shall provide facilities and training for all officers from state, county, and local law enforcement agencies and for other designated persons in the criminal justice system. Correctional officers and other personnel employed or appointed by the South Carolina Department of Corrections may be trained by the department. Administration of this academy must be vested in a director who is responsible for selection of instructors, course content, maintenance of physical facilities, recordkeeping, supervision of personnel, scheduling of classes, enforcement of minimum standards for certification, and other matters as may be agreed upon by the council. The director must be hired by and responsible to the council. Basic and advance training must be provided at the training facility.
SECTION 23-23-30. South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council; members; terms.
(A) There is hereby created a South Carolina Law Enforcement Training Council consisting of the following eleven members:
(1) the Attorney General of South Carolina;
(2) the Chief of the South Carolina Law Enforcement Division;
(3) the Director of the South Carolina Department of Probation, Parole and Pardon Services;
(4) the Director of the South Carolina Department of Corrections;
(5) the Director of the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources;
(6) the Director of the South Carolina Department of Public Safety;
(7) one chief of police from a municipality having a population of less than ten thousand. This person must be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure;
(8) one chief of police from a municipality having a population of more than ten thousand. This person must be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure;
(9) one county sheriff from a county with a population of less than fifty thousand. This person must be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure;
(10) one county sheriff from a county with a population of more than fifty thousand. This person must be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure; and
(11) one detention director who is responsible for the operation and management of a county or multi-jurisdictional jail. This person must be appointed by the Governor and shall serve at his pleasure.
(B)(1) The members provided for in subitems (A)(1) through (A)(6) above shall be ex officio members with full voting rights.
(2) The members provided for in subitems (A)(7) through (A)(11) above shall begin serving on January 1, 2007.
In the event that a vacancy arises, it must be filled by appointment or election and confirmation of the original authority granting membership on the basis of the above referenced criteria.
(C) This council shall meet for the first time within ninety days after January 1, 2007, and shall elect one of its members as chairperson and one of its members as vice chairperson. These officers shall serve a term of one year and may be reelected. After the initial meeting, the council shall meet at the call of the chairperson, or at the call of the majority of the members of the council, but it shall meet no fewer than four times a year.
(D) Members of the council shall serve without compensation. A council member who terminates his office or employment which qualifies him for appointment shall immediately cease to be a member of the council.
SECTION 23-23-40. Certification requirement.
No law enforcement officer employed or appointed on or after July 1, 1989, by any public law enforcement agency in this State is authorized to enforce the laws or ordinances of this State or any political subdivision thereof unless he has been certified as qualified by the Law Enforcement Training Council, except that any public law enforcement agency in this State may appoint or employ as a law enforcement officer, a person who is not certified if, within one year after the date of employment or appointment, the person secures certification from the council; provided, that if any public law enforcement agency employs or appoints as a law enforcement officer a person who is not certified, the person shall not perform any of the duties of a law enforcement officer involving the control or direction of members of the public or exercising the power of arrest until he has successfully completed a firearms qualification program approved by the council; and provided, further, that within three working days of employment the department must be notified by a public law enforcement agency that a person has been employed by that agency as a law enforcement officer, and within three working days of the notice the firearms qualification program as approved by the director must be provided to the newly hired personnel. If the firearms qualification program approved by the director is not available within three working days after receipt of the notice, then the public law enforcement agency making the request for the firearms qualification program may employ the person to perform any of the duties of a law enforcement officer, including those involving the control and direction of members of the public and exercising the powers of arrest. Should any such person fail to secure certification within one year from his date of employment, he may not perform any of the duties of a law enforcement officer involving control or direction of members of the public or exercising the power of arrest until he has been certified. He is not eligible for employment or appointment by any other agency in South Carolina as a law enforcement officer, nor is he eligible for any compensation by any law enforcement agency for services performed as an officer. Exceptions to the one-year rule may be granted by the director in these cases:
(1) military leave or injury occurring during that first year which would preclude the receiving of training within the usual period of time; or
(2) in the event of the timely filing of application for training, which application, under circumstances of time and physical limitations, cannot be honored by the training academy within the prescribed period; or
(3) upon presentation of documentary evidence that the officer-candidate has successfully completed equivalent training in one of the other states which by law regulate and supervise the quality of police training and which require a minimum basic or recruit course of duration and content at least equivalent to that provided in this chapter or by standards set by the Law Enforcement Training Council; or
(4) if it is determined by documentary evidence that the training will result in undue hardship to the requesting agency, the requesting agency must propose an alternate training schedule for approval.
Notwithstanding another provision of law, in the case of a candidate for certification who begins one or more periods of state or federal military service within one year after his date of employment or appointment, the period of time within which he must obtain the certification required to become a law enforcement officer is automatically extended for an additional period equal to the aggregate period of time the candidate performed active duty or active duty for training as a member of the National Guard, the State Guard, or a reserve component of the Armed Forces of the United States, plus ninety days. The director must take all necessary and proper action to ensure that a candidate for certification as a law enforcement officer who performs military service within one year of his employment or appointment is not prejudiced in obtaining certification as a result of having performed state or federal military service.
SECTION 23-23-50. Continuing Law Enforcement Education Credits (CLEEC) in domestic violence requirement; guidelines for exemptions.
(A) A law enforcement officer who is Class 1-LE certified in this State is required to complete Continuing Law Enforcement Education Credits (CLEEC) in domestic violence each year of a three-year recertification period. The number of required annual CLEEC hours in domestic violence shall be determined by the Law Enforcement Training Council but must be included in the forty CLEEC hours required over the three-year recertification period. The training must be provided or approved by the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy and must include, but is not limited to, the following curriculum: responding to crime scenes, Fourth Amendment issues, incident report writing, mutual restraining orders, orders of protection, determining primary aggressors, dual arrests, victim and offender dynamics, victims' resources, victims' rights issues, interviewing techniques, criminal domestic violence courts, victimless prosecution, offender treatment programs, and recognizing special needs populations.
(B) The Law Enforcement Training Council shall develop guidelines to provide for an exemption from the requirement of certain Class 1-LE certified law enforcement officers whose job responsibilities may not include responding to domestic violence cases from completing CLEEC hours in domestic violence each year. The request for an exemption must be made by the chief executive officer of the law enforcement officer's employing agency. A waiver or exemption from domestic violence training must not reduce the forty CLEEC hours required over the three-year period.
SECTION 23-23-60. Certificates of compliance; information to be submitted relating to qualification of candidates for certification; expiration of certificate.
(A) At the request of any public law enforcement agency of this State the council is hereby authorized to issue certificates and other appropriate indicia of compliance and qualification to law enforcement officers or other persons trained under the provisions of this chapter. Members of the council may individually or collectively visit and inspect any training school, class, or academy dealing with present or prospective law enforcement officers, and are expected to promote the most efficient and economical program for police training, including the maximum utilization of existing facilities and programs for the purpose of avoiding duplication. The council may make recommendations to the director, the General Assembly, or to the Governor regarding the carrying out of the purposes, objectives, and intentions of this chapter or other acts relating to training in law enforcement.
(B) All city and county police departments, sheriffs' offices, state agencies, or other employers of law enforcement officers having such officers as candidates for certification shall submit to the director, for his confidential information and subsequent safekeeping, the following:
(1) an application under oath on a format prescribed by the director;
(2) evidence satisfactory to the director that the candidate has completed high school and received a high school diploma, equivalency certificate (military or other) recognized and accepted by the South Carolina Department of Education or South Carolina special certificate;
(3) evidence satisfactory to the director of the candidate's physical fitness to fulfill the duties of a law enforcement officer including:
(a) a copy of his medical history compiled by a licensed physician or medical examiner approved by the employer;
(b) a certificate of a licensed physician that the candidate has recently undergone a complete medical examination and the results thereof;
(4) evidence satisfactory to the director that the applicant has not been convicted of any criminal offense that carries a sentence of one year or more or of any criminal offense that involves moral turpitude. Forfeiture of bond, a guilty plea, or a plea of nolo contendere is considered the equivalent of a conviction;
(5) evidence satisfactory to the director that the candidate is a person of good character. This evidence must include, but is not limited to:
(a) certification by the candidate's employer that a background investigation has been conducted and the employer is of the opinion that the candidate is of good character;
(b) evidence satisfactory to the director that the candidate holds a valid current state driver's license with no record during the previous five years for suspension of driver's license as a result of driving under the influence of alcoholic beverages or dangerous drugs, driving while impaired (or the equivalent), reckless homicide, involuntary manslaughter, or leaving the scene of an accident. Candidates for certification as state or local correctional officers may hold a valid current driver's license issued by any jurisdiction of the United States;
(c) evidence satisfactory to the director that a local credit check has been made with favorable results;
(d) evidence satisfactory to the director that the candidate's fingerprint record as received from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and South Carolina Law Enforcement Division indicates no record of felony convictions.
In the director's determination of good character, the director shall give consideration to all law violations, including traffic and conservation law convictions, as indicating a lack of good character. The director shall also give consideration to the candidate's prior history, if any, of alcohol and drug abuse in arriving at a determination of good character;
(6) a copy of the candidate's photograph;
(7) a copy of the candidate's fingerprints;
(8) evidence satisfactory to the director that the candidate's present age is not less than twenty-one years. This evidence must include a birth certificate or another acceptable document;
(9) evidence satisfactory to the director of successful completion of a course of law enforcement training as established and approved by the director, and conducted at an academy or institution approved by the director, this evidence to consist of a certificate granted by the approved institution.
(C) A certificate as a law enforcement officer issued by the department will expire three years from the date of issuance or upon discontinuance of employment by the officer with the employing entity or agency. Prior to the expiration of the certificate, the certificate may be renewed upon application presented to the director on a form prescribed by the director. The application for renewal must be received by the director at least forty-five days prior to the expiration of the certificate. If the officer's certificate has lapsed, the department may reissue the certificate after receipt of an application and if the director is satisfied that the officer continues to meet the requirements of subsections (B)(1) through (B)(9).
(D) The director may accept for training as a law enforcement officer an applicant who has met requirements of subsections (B)(1) through (B)(8).
SECTION 23-23-70. Certificates to be issued to certain officers appointed as chiefs and certain retired law enforcement officers.
(A) A retired law enforcement officer with twenty years or more law enforcement experience who subsequently serves as a magistrate or municipal judge of this State and is or has been appointed chief of a municipal department by the governing body thereof must be issued a certificate as a law enforcement officer pursuant to Section 23-6-440 if that person completes the legal course for Class I certified officers taught by the Criminal Justice Academy. This provision applies to a retired law enforcement officer of this State with twenty years or more law enforcement experience whose certificate has lapsed due to a three-year break in service who subsequently is appointed chief of a municipal department by the governing body thereof.
(B) A retired South Carolina law enforcement officer must be issued a certificate pursuant to Section 23-6-440, authorizing him to serve as a certified law enforcement officer, if the officer meets the following qualifications at the time of application:
(1) the officer must have been retired pursuant to Section 9-11-60 or 9-11-70 for not more than ten years, except that the department may certify an officer who has been retired for more than ten years if the officer provides evidence satisfactory to the director that he has received law enforcement training and experience sufficient to qualify him to serve as a certified law enforcement officer;
(2) within the previous three years, the officer must have completed a legal course and all other training programs for certified officers mandated by law and taught by the Criminal Justice Academy; and
(3) the officer must have maintained a constable commission during his retirement, without interruption.
(C) A retired federal law enforcement officer must be issued a certificate pursuant to Section 23-6-440, authorizing him to serve as a certified law enforcement officer, if the officer provides evidence satisfactory to the director that he has received law enforcement training and experience sufficient to qualify him to serve as a certified law enforcement officer.
SECTION 23-23-80. Director of Criminal Justice Academy; powers and duties.
The Director of the Criminal Justice Academy is authorized to:
(1) receive and disburse funds, including those hereinafter provided in this chapter;
(2) accept any donations, contributions, funds, grants, or gifts from private individuals, foundations, agencies, corporations, or the state or federal governments, for the purpose of carrying out the programs and objectives of this chapter;
(3) consult and cooperate with counties, municipalities, agencies, or official bodies of this State or of other states, other governmental agencies, and with universities, colleges, junior colleges, and other institutions, concerning the development of police training schools, programs, or courses of instruction, selection, and training standards, or other pertinent matters relating to law enforcement;
(4) publish or cause to be published manuals, information bulletins, newsletters, and other materials to achieve the objectives of this chapter;
(5) make such regulations as may be necessary for the administration of this chapter, including the issuance of orders directing public law enforcement agencies to comply with this chapter and all regulations so promulgated;
(6) certify and train qualified candidates and applicants for law enforcement officers and provide for suspension, revocation, or restriction of the certification, in accordance with regulations promulgated by the council;
(7) require all public entities or agencies that employ or appoint law enforcement officers to provide records in the format prescribed by regulation of employment information of law enforcement officers;
(8) provide by regulation for mandatory continued training of certified law enforcement officers, this training to be completed within each of the various counties requesting this training on a regional basis.
SECTION 23-23-90. Internal documents relating to requirements or administration of chapter as basis for court action.
An oral or written report, document, statement, or other communication that is written, made, or delivered concerning the requirements or administration of this chapter or regulations promulgated under it must not be the subject of or basis for an action at law or in equity for slander or libel in any court of the State if the communication is between:
(1) a law enforcement agency, its agents, employees, or representatives; and
(2) the council, its agents, employees, or representatives.
SECTION 23-23-100. Compliance orders; penalties.
(A) Whenever the director finds that any public law enforcement agency is in violation of any provisions of this chapter, the director may issue an order requiring the public law enforcement agency to comply with the provision. The director may bring a civil action for injunctive relief in the appropriate court or may bring a civil enforcement action. Violation of any court order issued pursuant to this section must be considered contempt of the issuing court and punishable as provided by law. The director also may invoke the civil penalties as provided in subsection (B) for violation of the provisions of this chapter, including any order or regulation hereunder. Any public law enforcement agency against which a civil penalty is invoked by the director may appeal the decision to the court of common pleas of the county where the public law enforcement agency is located.
(B) Any public law enforcement agency which fails to comply with this chapter and regulations promulgated pursuant to this chapter or fails to comply with any order issued by the director is liable for a civil penalty not to exceed one thousand five hundred dollars a violation. When the civil penalty authorized by this subsection is imposed upon a sheriff, the sheriff is responsible for payment of this civil penalty.
SECTION 23-23-110. Law enforcement in municipality with single officer when officer attending training.
When a municipality employs only one law enforcement officer and that officer is attending law enforcement training at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy as required by law, the sheriff of the county wherein the municipality is located, or the head of the entity in charge of countywide law enforcement if the county sheriff is not, shall provide systematic patrolling of the municipal area while its law enforcement officer is attending the training.
SECTION 23-23-115. Training of officers with Savannah River Site Law Enforcement Department.
Notwithstanding another provision of law, a person employed as a law enforcement officer with the Savannah River Site Law Enforcement Department, a United States Department of Energy facility, may attend and be trained at the Criminal Justice Academy in accordance with training and certification standards established by the State. Expenses for mandated and elective training must be established by the Criminal Justice Academy and paid by the law enforcement officer's employer. An authorized representative of the United States Department of Energy shall certify to the academy that the officer is employed as a law enforcement officer at the Savannah River Site and request the officer's admission to the academy for training.