Legislature(2005 - 2006)BELTZ 211

04/05/2005 03:30 PM STATE AFFAIRS

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03:35:14 PM Start
03:36:48 PM SB134
03:57:26 PM Confirmation Hearing - Brigadier General Tony A. Hart
04:00:05 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
Confirmation Hearing:
Brigadier General Tony Hart
Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled
Moved CSSB 134(STA) Out of Committee
         SB 134-POLICE INVESTIGATION STANDARDS/ARRESTS                                                                      
CHAIR   GENE  THERRIAULT   announced   SB  134   to   be  up   for                                                              
consideration  and  reminded  members   that  the  Y  version  was                                                              
adopted at the  last hearing. He indicated that  Senator Bunde was                                                              
awaiting  an  amendment  from  the  Department  of  Public  Safety                                                              
(DPS), however he has not received it yet.                                                                                      
3:36:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CON  BUNDE, Sponsor  of SB  134, said  it is unlikely  the                                                              
amendment  will  arrive this  week  and  he is  growing  concerned                                                              
about imposing on  the committee's patience.  He noted  SB 134 has                                                              
a further  referral to the  Senate Judiciary Committee,  where the                                                              
amendment could be addressed.                                                                                                   
CHAIR THERRIAULT  indicated the bill  might also pick up  a fiscal                                                              
note so it  may get an additional  referral to the  Senate Finance                                                              
Committee. He asked if members had any questions of the sponsor.                                                                
3:37:02 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  KIM ELTON  asked if  the  concern about  the language  on                                                              
page 2,  line 15, was  that it allows  officer discretion  to hold                                                              
off on an arrest when going after "a bigger fish."                                                                              
3:37:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  BUNDE acknowledged  the  presence of  Chief Monegan,  who                                                              
could also  address that  question. He  then described  that issue                                                              
as walking  a fine  line. He  does not  want to  tie the hands  of                                                              
police officers  and, although the larger police  departments have                                                              
standards that  negate the  need for  this legislation,  the state                                                              
is broad  and diverse so standards  need to be adopted  to provide                                                              
for those departments that don't have established standards.                                                                    
He described Section  2 as the main focus of  this legislation. It                                                              
requires  the Alaska  Police  Standards  Council  (APSC) to  adopt                                                              
minimum standards  and to  enforce them.  He said the  legislature                                                              
should not  tread too  heavily on  one side or  the other  of this                                                              
gray area;  he believes professional  police officers,  as members                                                              
of  the  council,  should  establish  the  minimum  standards.  He                                                              
reminded members  the standards would be focused  on investigation                                                              
of sexual  assault cases  because Alaska leads  the nation  in the                                                              
number of  sexual assaults.  He said he  is trying to  ensure that                                                              
victims are not revictimized by the system.                                                                                     
SENATOR ELTON  said his  one concern  is that  it is difficult  to                                                              
craft and  apply a recipe  in a real  world situation  where cases                                                              
might not fit into a recipe.                                                                                                    
SENATOR BUNDE  shared Senator  Elton's concern  but said  citizens                                                              
expect standards of some sort.                                                                                                  
CHAIR  THERRIAULT  asked  if  version  Y  narrowed  the  scope  of                                                              
Section 2 from all violent crimes to sexual assault.                                                                            
SENATOR BUNDE said that is correct.                                                                                             
CHAIR THERRIAULT affirmed the Y version was adopted.                                                                            
3:41:40 PM                                                                                                                    
Senator Davis arrived.                                                                                                          
3:41:51 PM                                                                                                                    
WALT MONEGAN, Chief  of Police, Anchorage Police  Department, said                                                              
the  APSC  and other  professional  organizations  have  expressed                                                              
concerns  about   legislating  investigations.   He  thought   the                                                              
closest  the  state has  ever  come  to  doing  that is  with  the                                                              
domestic  violence  standards. Those  standards  were  appropriate                                                              
because they provided police officers with tools.                                                                               
CHIEF MONEGAN  said his initial  reaction to the  earlier language                                                              
was  that  it could  be  very  complicated  in cases  of  multiple                                                              
defendants  or  in  cases  that could  be  enhanced  through  non-                                                              
custodial  interviews.  He  explained  that  he  might  suspect  a                                                              
person is  a party to  a crime and  have enough probable  cause to                                                              
make  that arrest,  but  the case  could  be  strengthened if  the                                                              
suspect  is  interviewed  with  the  guarantee  he  would  not  be                                                              
arrested following  the interview.  He said the police  department                                                              
uses  non-custodial interviews  continually  to strengthen  cases.                                                              
The biggest  objection that police  departments have is  that once                                                              
probable  cause has  been  established, an  arrest  must be  made,                                                              
which   ties   police   investigators'  hands   in   using   other                                                              
investigative  techniques. He  said he absolutely  agrees  for the                                                              
need  to  set  investigative  standards   and  to  holding  police                                                              
officers to those  standards. He believes the best  tool to design                                                              
standards is to  use the APSC with, perhaps, periodic  audits as a                                                              
reminder  that  police  officers  are entrusted  with  the  public                                                              
trust  and that  shoddy  investigative  work only  victimizes  the                                                              
victim again.                                                                                                                   
3:45:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON  asked Chief Monegan  if he is comfortable  that the                                                              
Section 1  language would give  police departments  the discretion                                                              
to make judgments on non-custodial interviews.                                                                                  
SENATOR BUNDE repeated  this is a gray area and  a difficult call.                                                              
His focus is on  allowing the APSC to set standards.  He suggested                                                              
the bill could  be improved by removing subsection  (4) of Section                                                              
3:47:02 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR THERRIAULT  asked if subsection (4) was  removed, the entire                                                              
first section of the bill would drop away.                                                                                      
SENATOR BUNDE  said by  removing that  new language, the  existing                                                              
language would  apply. He explained,  "We would then have  the new                                                              
subsection or Section  2 with a new subsection that  asks that the                                                              
Police  Standards  Council establish  standards  and  provide -  I                                                              
don't want to say enforcement, but perhaps oversight.                                                                           
CHAIR  THERRIAULT motioned  to  strike Section  1  from the  bill,                                                              
which would leave  all of the non-highlighted language  in statute                                                              
as is and remove subsection (4) on page 2, lines 15-19.                                                                         
3:48:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR ELTON asked if Section 3 would be dropped as a result.                                                                  
CHAIR THERRIAULT said  no, but dropping Section 1  would trigger a                                                              
title change.                                                                                                                   
CHAIR  THERRIAULT announced  that without  objection, Amendment  1                                                              
was adopted.                                                                                                                    
SENATOR CHARLIE  HUGGINS  assumed officers  carry a Miranda  card,                                                              
which acts as a  checklist [for arrest]. He said  a checklist [for                                                              
investigations]  would  provide   a  systematic  approach  but  he                                                              
expressed  concern that  it could  act as  a set  of manacles  and                                                              
slow the process. He asked for Chief Monegan's response.                                                                        
CHIEF  MONEGAN said  the analogy  of a checklist  is an  excellent                                                              
one. He  believes the  APSC is  the most  logical group  to devise                                                              
that list.  The APSC's primary  function now  is to make  sure the                                                              
training  is  up  to  par so  that  all  police  officers  can  be                                                              
certified.  He  said  everyone   agrees  that  high  investigative                                                              
standards are  good; in  some rural areas,  these types  of crimes                                                              
do not  occur as frequently  as in  urban areas. An  inexperienced                                                              
officer in  such a case might  "flounder." The checklist  would be                                                              
very helpful.                                                                                                                   
3:53:19 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  THOMAS  WAGONER  motioned  to report  CSSB  134(STA),  \Y                                                              
version  as amended,  and attached  fiscal  notes, from  committee                                                              
with  individual recommendations.  There  being  no objection,  it                                                              
was so ordered.                                                                                                                 

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