WEST virginia legislature
2019 regular session
Senate Bill 337
By Senators Weld, Clements, Maynard, Romano, Cline, Maroney, Tarr, Smith, and Hamilton
January 16, 2019; Referred
to the Committee on Government Organization]
A BILL to amend and reenact §15A-3-10 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended, relating to authorizing the Commissioner of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation to issue a certificate to correctional employees to carry firearms in the course of their duties; establishing training requirements for the issuance of the certificate; establishing form of the certificate; and requiring the correctional employee to carry the certificate at all times when carrying a firearm or weapon in the course of his or her duties.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
ARTICLE 3. Division of Corrections and rehabilitation.
§15A-3-10. Law-enforcement powers of employees; authority to carry firearms.
(a) Other than as outlined in this section, a correctional officer employed by the division is not a law-enforcement officer as that term is defined in §30-29-1 of this code.
(b) The commissioner is a law-enforcement official, and has the authority to use, and permit and allow or disallow his or her designated employees to use, publicly provided carriage to travel from their residences to their workplace and return: Provided, That the usage is subject to the supervision of the commissioner and is directly connected with and required by the nature and in the performance of the official’s or designated employee’s duties and responsibilities.
(c) All employees of the division are responsible for enforcing rules and laws necessary for the control and management of correctional units and the maintenance of public safety that is within the scope of responsibilities of the division.
employed by the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation as correctional
hereby authorized and empowered to make arrests of persons
already charged with a violation of law who surrender themselves to the
correctional officer, to arrest persons already in the custody of the division
for violations of law occurring in the officer’s presence, to detain persons
for violations of state law committed on the property of any facility under the
jurisdiction of the commissioner, and to conduct investigations, pursue, and
apprehend escapees from the custody of a facility of the division.
(e) The commissioner may designate correctional employees as correctional peace officers who have the authority:
(1) To detain persons for violations of state law committed on the property of any state correctional institution;
(2) To conduct investigations regarding criminal activity occurring within a correctional facility;
(3) To execute criminal process or other process in furtherance of these duties; and
(4) To apply for, obtain, and execute search warrants necessary for the completion of his or her duties and responsibilities.
Corrections Special Operations Team is
hereby established continued
and shall consist consists of the Corrections Emergency Response
Team, the K9 unit, and the Crisis Negotiations team created under the former
Division of Corrections. The Corrections Special Operations Team serves as the
first responder necessary for the protection of life, liberty, and property. It
shall have has limited law-enforcement authority regarding
matters occurring at jails, correctional centers, and juvenile centers, and
arrest powers to apprehend escapees, absconders, and in all matters arising on
the grounds of a facility under the care and control of the commissioner: Provided,
That at any time the Corrections Special Operations Team is apprehending an
escapee or an absconder outside the confinement of the facility grounds, it
does so with the assistance and cooperation of local law enforcement or the
West Virginia State Police.
(g) The commissioner may issue a certificate authorizing any correctional employee who has successfully completed the division's training program for firearms certification, which is approved by the commissioner and equivalent to the training requirements applicable to deputy sheriffs for the use and handling of firearms. Notwithstanding any provision of this code to the contrary, any correctional employee so authorized by the commissioner may carry division-issued firearms while in the performance of his or her official duties, including travel to and from work sites. The correctional employee must successfully complete an annual firearms qualification course equivalent to that required of certified law-enforcement officers as established by legislative rule to maintain the certificate. The certificate shall be in a form prescribed by the commissioner and shall bear his or her official signature.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to authorize the Commissioner of the Division of Corrections and Rehabilitation to authorize correctional employees to carry firearms and to establish certification and training requirements.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from a heading or the present law and underscoring indicates new language that would be added.