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TO AMEND ARTICLE 13, CHAPTER 13, TITLE 58, CODE OF LAWS OF SOUTH CAROLINA, 1976, RELATING TO SPECIAL OFFICERS AND CONSTABLES, SO AS TO AUTHORIZE UTILITY POLICE OFFICERS, DEFINE TERMS RELATED TO INCLUDING UTILITY POLICE OFFICERS IN THE ARTICLE, AND TO PROVIDE A PROCEDURE FOR THE APPOINTMENT OF UTILITY POLICE OFFICERS.
Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of South Carolina:
SECTION 1. Article 13, Chapter 13, Title 58 of the 1976 Code is amended to read:
Section 58-13-900. As used in this article:
(a) 'Director of utility police' means the principal officer or employee designated by a utility to provide law enforcement services for that utility.
(b) 'Utility' means an electric or gas utility subject to regulation by the Public Service Commission pursuant to Chapters 5 and 27 of Title 58, which serves more than one hundred thousand customers in this State.
(c) 'Utility police officer' means an officer employed by a utility, or employed by an affiliate company of the utility, if the affiliate company provides law enforcement services to the utility, to provide law enforcement to that utility and duly trained and certified pursuant to Article 9, Chapter 6, Title 23, in accordance with the training and certification standards established for other state law enforcement officers. Utility police officers are vested with all powers and duties conferred by law upon state law enforcement officers with similar training and certification.
Section 58-13-910. Upon the application of the superintendent or manager of a railway or other common carrier doing business in this State or the director of utility police, the Governor shall certify special officers,
or constables, or utility police officers for the protection and safety of all property and interest of the common carrier or utility, if the officers, and constables, or utility police officers are paid by the common carrier or utility applying for their certification. Special officers, or constables, or utility police officers appointed pursuant to the laws of another state for protection of interstate shipments, passengers, assets, infrastructure, and employees of railroad or utility companies commissioned as railroad or utility police officers in another state in which the common carrier or utility operates and who meet all law enforcement training standards required in this State must be certified under the doctrine of full faith and credit with capacity in this State to enforce the laws for the protection of interstate shipments, passengers, assets, infrastructure, and employees of railroad or utility companies. The capacity may not be interpreted as a state commission but exists by virtue of the State of South Carolina under the doctrine of full faith and credit recognizing and giving full force and effect under our laws to the legal capacity created in the complying state.
Such special Special officers, or constables, or utility police officers shall have all the powers, duties, and responsibilities of deputy sheriffs and other police officers, and their commissions shall continue so long as they are employed in such this capacity by the railway, or other common carrier, or utility. But the Governor shall revoke their commissions upon request of the superintendent or manager of the railway or other common carrier or the director of utility police upon whose application they were appointed and the Governor may also at any time revoke such these commissions for cause. The utility police officers shall notify local or county law enforcement officials of their presence within the jurisdiction prior to taking law enforcement action except in the presence of an imminent threat, danger, or other emergency situation. In this case, notification must be made as soon as practical after the situation is rendered safe.
Section 58-13-930. Each special officer,
or constable, or utility police officer appointed under pursuant to the provisions of this chapter article shall be is required to enter into a good and sufficient bond in the sum of five hundred dollars, conditioned for the faithful performance of his duties, such the bond to be approved by the Attorney General.
Nothing herein shall The provisions of this article do not limit the liability of any a common carrier or utility for any a trespass or tort of such a special officer, or constable, or utility police officer.
Section 58-13-950. The director of utility police shall appoint and designate persons for the position of utility police officer, unless after a due investigation, it appears these persons are not qualified to serve as a law enforcement officer of the State. Qualified persons may attend, be trained, and certified at the South Carolina Criminal Justice Academy or successor agency at the sole expense of the utility. The appointment granted pursuant to the provisions of this section may be for a limited or general certification as the director of utility police requests and deems appropriate and is effective upon the completion of training and certification."
SECTION 2. This act takes effect upon approval by the Governor.
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