Legislature(2021 - 2022)BELTZ 105 (TSBldg)
04/20/2021 03:30 PM COMMUNITY & REGIONAL AFFAIRS
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SB 46-LAW ENFORCEMENT: REGISTRY; USE OF FORCE 4:42:58 PM CHAIR HUGHES announced the consideration of SENATE BILL NO. 46 "An Act relating to the Alaska Police Standards Council; relating to municipal correctional officers and municipal correctional employees; making municipal police officers subject to police standards; establishing a statewide use-of-force database in the Department of Public Safety; requiring a municipality that employs a person as a municipal police officer or in a municipal correctional facility, the Department of Corrections, or the Department of Public Safety to report for inclusion in the database incidents of use of force by state and municipal police, probation, parole, and correctional officers and municipal correctional facility employees; and providing for an effective date." 4:43:11 PM SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON, speaking as sponsor of SB 46, thanked the hard-working peace officers and office staff who provide law enforcement services that protect the lives and welfare of the people in Alaska's communities. She said the recent civilian casualties has intensified the attention on issues surrounding policing and police/community relationships and created momentum to address longstanding injustices. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON related that during last summer and into the fall she and Senator Begich worked on a series of bills that the offices refer to as TPIP (turning pain into progress), which was crafted after the national "8 Can't Wait" campaign. She said the data shows that implementing these 8 specific policies can reduce police violence by as much as 72 percent. She acknowledged Alaska's uniqueness and emphasized the amount of time her office spent talking to stakeholders and gaining input to ensure that the policies proposed in SB 46 would be fitting for Alaska. She reported that she engaged public safety agencies including the Anchorage Police Department (APD0, Anchorage Police Employees Association, Public Safety Employees Association (PSEA), and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives during the process. She said this proactive approach made her confident that these public safety policy changes will benefit both the citizens of Alaska and Alaska's law enforcement officers. 4:45:28 PM CHAIR HUGHES 4:45:32 PM DELANEY THIELE, Staff, Senator Elvi Gray-Jackson, Alaska State Legislature, Juneau, Alaska, read the following sponsor statement and sectional analysis for SB 46: Senate Bill 46 establishes a use-of-force database under AS 44.41.055 that will be overseen by the Department of Public Safety which will collect reports of use of force by a municipal police officer, municipal correctional facility employee, a probation officer, parole officer, correctional officer, state trooper, village public safety officer, or regional officer. This report will be submitted by the Department of Public Safety under AS 44.41.020(h). The Alaska Police Standards Council shall maintain a central registry with information that the Council obtains from the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Corrections, or a municipality. This bill also requires the Alaska Police Standards Council to adopt regulations that require a police officer, probation officer, parole officer, municipal officer, or correctional officer to report to a supervisor when an incident of force or deadly force occurred or in a situation in which an officer was prepared to use deadly force. This report will also include demographic information such as the person whom the force was used, age, gender identity, and sexual orientation if freely given by the individual. Additionally, the officer who used the force and the borough or census area in which the use of force occurred. Currently, there is no database that tracks instances of use-of-force within the State of Alaska. While this database will not be open to the public, it will be shared for employment purposes amongst departments and agencies who may be hiring an officer or employee as well as the Alaska State Legislature. This will allow for transparency among agencies and will close loopholes that allow officers to be hired on to another agency after being fired for use-of-force incidents or certificate denial or revocation. 4:47:43 PM MS. THIELE read the following sectional analysis for SB 46: Section 1: AS 18.65.220 is amended by adding new subsections (b) which will require a police officer, probation officer, parole officer, municipal correctional officer, or correctional officer to report, to a supervisor, when another officer used or prepared to use deadly force against a person. (c) requires that the Council shall maintain a central registry of denied or revoked officer certificates. (d) requires that the Council shall adopt and prepare a report detailing the registry information to the chief clerk of the house of representatives and the senate secretary no later than Dec. 1st of each year. (e) states that upon request, the Council shall assist a department, an agency, or municipality in developing rules that comply with regulations adopted under (b) of this section. Section 2: AS 18.65.285 is amended to replace the word "may" with "shall." Section 3: AS 18.65.290(b) is amended to define "municipal correctional officer." Section 4: AS 18.65.290 is amended to add "deadly force" has the meaning given in AS 11.81.900(b). Section 5: AS 18.65.670(c) is amended to provide training in the subjects set out in 18.65.220(a)(3). Section 6: Amends AS 29.71 by adding a new section, AS 29.71.070, use of force reporting requirement. Section 7: Amends AS 44.28.020 by adding a new subsection (d) that requires the Department of Public Safety to submit a report on each incident in which a probation officer, parole officer, or a correctional officer uses force against a person. The report must include information required under AS 44.41.055(b). Section 8: Amends AS 44.41.020 by adding a new subsection to read: The Department of Public Safety shall submit the to the statewide use-of-force database, each time a State trooper, VPSO, or regional public safety officer uses force against a person. 4:49:57 PM Section 9: AS 44.41.055 is amended by a new section to establish a Statewide use-of-force database and its requirements. Section 10: AS 18.65.280(b) is repealed. Section 11: The uncodified law of the State of Alaska is amended by adding a new section that applies to employment contracts entered on or after the effective date of sec. 2 of this Act. Section 12: Amends the uncodified law of the State of Alaska by adding a new section pertaining to transition: employment, peace officers. Giving them an effective date of sec. 10 of this Act to comply with AS 18.65.240 requirements. Section 13: Amended by adding a new section regarding regulations of the Department of Corrections, the Department of Public Safety, and municipalities that employ a person as a police officer or in a municipality correctional facility to adopt and publish regulations. Section 14: Section 13 provides for an effective date under AS 01.10.070(c). Section 15: Provides for an effective date of this Act. 4:51:16 PM SENATOR MYERS noted that the bill provides a definition for "deadly force" and asked why it does not provide a definition for "use of force" or force in general. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON answered that the statutes currently provide a definition for "force" and she was still working on a definition for "use of force." CHAIR HUGHES asked Lieutenant Eric Olsen for the statutory definition of "force." 4:52:28 PM LIEUTENANT ERIC OLSEN, Alaska State Troopers, Department of Public Safety, Juneau, Alaska, stated that he did not have the definition committed to memory, but it was in AS 11.81.900. He offered to look it up and report back to the committee. 4:52:54 PM SENATOR WILSON expressed concern about privacy if the data related to law enforcement's use of force were to be available through a freedom of information (FOIA) request. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON restated the question and emphasized that names and addresses would not be made public. Rather, the statistics would be public. 4:54:44 PM CHAIR HUGHES summarized that the names and addresses of officers would not be available to the public, but that information would be available to agencies and police departments that were hiring officers. She asked if individual law enforcement entities maintain their own databases and if they check with other law enforcement entities when they do a background check on an applicant. SENATOR GRAY-JACKSON replied she believes that some agencies follow that protocol. SB 46 would require that all agencies check on this information CHAIR HUGHES noted the public safety personnel who were available to answer questions. 4:56:32 PM SENATOR MYERS said it makes sense to track whether or not a police officer has had their police certificate revoked due to the improper use of force. However, he wonders about tracking revocations based on things such as inability to pass the physical due to weight gain. CHAIR HUGHES asked Mr. Griffiths to comment. 4:58:11 PM ROBERT GRIFFITHS, Executive Director, Alaska Police Standards Council (APSC), Juneau, Alaska, asked Senator Myers to restate the question. SENATOR MYERS asked if the database would include certificate revocations for reasons other than for excessive use of force. He cited the example of not passing the physical and asked if the bill intends to include that sort of revocation in the database, because that would be a concern. 4:59:14 PM MR. GRIFFITHS answered that APSC only revokes certifications based on violations or lack of compliance with current regulations. Not passing the physical is not a standard that APSC looks at to permanently revoke an officer's certification. Permanent revocations are based on misconduct, abuse of authority, unlawful use of force, and lack of respect for the rights of others. Those violations result in officers being in the database. CHAIR HUGHES asked Mr. Mlynarik if law enforcement entities throughout the state have reporting requirements and keep records of violations and if they share that information with other agencies that are looking at an applicant. 5:00:50 PM PETER MLYNARIK, Board Member, Alaska Association of Chiefs of Police, Soldotna, Alaska, answered that many agencies track use of force violations, but whether or not that information is shared depends on what the applicant releases. All applicants undergo a background check and violations are usually uncovered then. CHAIR HUGHES asked if that means that some agencies do not track use of force violations or if it means he did not know about all agencies. MR. MLYNARIK answered that he was not sure how many agencies track use of force violations. He said all agencies are not required to keep use of force reports or share that information. 5:01:47 PM CHAIR HUGHES asked if violations involving the inappropriate use of force would necessarily show up in an applicant's background check. MR. MLYNARIK answered that the information would be disclosed if the information were in the department's records and the individual signed a release. 5:02:42 PM CHAIR HUGHES thanked the sponsor and her staff and held SB 46 in committee for future consideration.