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1997 Minnesota Session Laws

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                            CHAPTER 214-S.F.No. 294 
                  An act relating to peace officers; requiring law 
                  enforcement agencies to do background investigations 
                  for applicants for employment as peace officers; 
                  requiring employers to disclose personnel records for 
                  law enforcement background investigations; providing 
                  immunity for employers who disclose information to law 
                  enforcement; requiring notice to the POST board when a 
                  background investigation is initiated; authorizing 
                  sharing of data on subjects of background 
                  investigations; amending Minnesota Statutes 1996, 
                  sections 13.41, subdivision 2a; 13.43, by adding a 
                  subdivision; 604A.31, subdivision 3; and 626.845, 
                  subdivision 1; proposing coding for new law in 
                  Minnesota Statutes, chapter 626. 
        BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF MINNESOTA: 
           Section 1.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 13.41, 
        subdivision 2a, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 2a.  [BOARD OF PEACE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING.] 
        The following government data of the board of peace officer 
        standards and training are private data: 
           (1) home addresses of licensees and applicants for 
        licenses; and 
           (2) data that identify the state agency, statewide system, 
        or political subdivision that employs a licensed peace officer. 
           The board may disseminate private data on applicants and 
        licensees as is necessary to administer law enforcement 
        licensure or to provide data under section 626.845, subdivision 
        1, to law enforcement agencies who are conducting employment 
        background investigations. 
           Sec. 2.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 13.43, is amended 
        by adding a subdivision to read: 
           Subd. 12.  [SHARING OF LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL BACKGROUND 
        INVESTIGATION DATA.] A law enforcement agency shall share data 
        from a background investigation done under section 626.87 with 
        the peace officer standards and training board or with a law 
        enforcement agency doing an investigation of the subject of the 
        data under section 626.87. 
           Sec. 3.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 604A.31, 
        subdivision 3, is amended to read: 
           Subd. 3.  [BACKGROUND CHECKS.] (a) Certain persons who 
        issue certificates in conjunction with gun permit background 
        checks are immune from liability as provided in section 624.713, 
        subdivision 1. 
           (b) Employers who provide information in conjunction with 
        background investigations of applicants for employment with a 
        law enforcement agency are immune from civil liability as 
        provided in section 626.87, subdivision 4. 
           Sec. 4.  Minnesota Statutes 1996, section 626.845, 
        subdivision 1, is amended to read: 
           Subdivision 1.  [POWERS AND DUTIES.] The board shall have 
        the following powers and duties: 
           (a) To certify peace officers' training schools or programs 
        administered by state, county and municipalities located within 
        this state in whole or in part no later than 90 days after 
        receipt of an application for certification.  The reasons for 
        noncertification of any school or program or part thereof shall 
        be transmitted to the school within 90 days and shall contain a 
        detailed explanation of the reasons for which the school or 
        program was disapproved and an explanation of what supporting 
        material or other requirements are necessary for the board to 
        reconsider.  Disapproval of a school or program shall not 
        preclude the reapplication for certification of the school or 
        program; 
           (b) To issue certificates to schools, and to revoke such 
        certification when necessary to maintain the objectives and 
        purposes of sections 626.841 to 626.855; 
           (c) To certify, as qualified, instructors at peace officer 
        training schools, and to issue appropriate certificates to such 
        instructors; 
           (d) To license peace officers who have satisfactorily 
        completed certified basic training programs, and passed 
        examinations as required by the board; 
           (e) To cause studies and surveys to be made relating to the 
        establishment, operation, and approval of state, county, and 
        municipal peace officer training schools; 
           (f) To consult and cooperate with state, county, and 
        municipal peace officer training schools for the development of 
        in-service training programs for peace officers; 
           (g) To consult and cooperate with universities, colleges, 
        and technical colleges for the development of specialized 
        courses of instruction and study in the state for peace officers 
        and part-time peace officers in police science and police 
        administration; 
           (h) To consult and cooperate with other departments and 
        agencies of the state and federal government concerned with 
        peace officer standards and training; 
           (i) To perform such other acts as may be necessary and 
        appropriate to carry out the powers and duties as set forth in 
        the provisions of sections 626.841 to 626.855; 
           (j) To coordinate the provision, on a regional basis, of 
        skills oriented basic training courses to graduates of certified 
        law enforcement training schools or programs; 
           (k) To obtain criminal conviction data for persons seeking 
        a license to be issued or possessing a license issued by the 
        board.  The board shall have authority to obtain criminal 
        conviction data to the full extent that any other law 
        enforcement agency, as that term is defined by state or federal 
        law, has to obtain the data; 
           (l) To prepare and transmit annually to the governor and 
        the legislature a report of its activities with respect to 
        allocation of moneys appropriated to it for peace officers 
        training, including the name and address of each recipient of 
        money for that purpose, the amount awarded, and the purpose of 
        the award; 
           (m) To assist and cooperate with any political subdivision 
        or state law enforcement agency which employs persons licensed 
        by the board to establish written procedures for the 
        investigation and resolution of allegations of misconduct of 
        persons licensed by the board, and to enforce licensing 
        sanctions for failure to implement such procedures; and 
           (n) To assist and cooperate with political subdivisions and 
        state law enforcement agencies that employ persons licensed by 
        the board in establishing written procedures to govern the 
        conduct of peace officers who are in pursuit of a vehicle in 
        violation of section 609.487, and requirements for the training 
        of peace officers in conducting pursuits.  The board may impose 
        licensing sanctions for failure to establish pursuit procedures 
        and training requirements by October 1, 1989.  
           In addition, the board may maintain data received from law 
        enforcement agencies under section 626.87, subdivision 5, 
        provide the data to requesting law enforcement agencies who are 
        conducting background investigations, and maintain data on 
        applicants and licensees as part of peace officer license data.  
        The data that may be maintained include the name of the law 
        enforcement agency conducting the investigation and data on the 
        candidate provided under section 626.87, subdivision 5, clauses 
        (1) and (2). 
           Sec. 5.  [626.87] [LAW ENFORCEMENT BACKGROUND 
        INVESTIGATIONS.] 
           Subdivision 1.  [BACKGROUND INVESTIGATION REQUIRED.] (a) A 
        law enforcement agency shall conduct a thorough background 
        investigation on an applicant for employment as a licensed peace 
        officer or an applicant for a position leading to employment as 
        a licensed peace officer before the applicant may be employed.  
        The background investigation must determine at a minimum whether 
        the candidate meets the following standards: 
           (1) standards established by the Minnesota board of peace 
        officer standards and training; and 
           (2) established security standards for access to state and 
        national computerized record and communication systems. 
           (b) This requirement does not prevent a law enforcement 
        agency from establishing higher standards for law enforcement 
        employees if those standards are not contrary to applicable law. 
           Subd. 2.  [DISCLOSURE OF EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION.] Upon 
        request of a law enforcement agency, an employer shall disclose 
        or otherwise make available for inspection employment 
        information of an employee or former employee who is the subject 
        of an investigation under subdivision 1.  The request for 
        disclosure of employment information must be in writing, must be 
        accompanied by an original authorization and release signed by 
        the employee or former employee, and must be signed by a sworn 
        peace officer or other authorized representative of the law 
        enforcement agency conducting the background investigation. 
           Subd. 3.  [REFUSAL TO DISCLOSE A PERSONNEL RECORD.] If an 
        employer refuses to disclose employment information in 
        accordance with this section, upon request the district court 
        may issue an ex parte order directing the disclosure of the 
        employment information.  The request must be made by a sworn 
        peace officer from the law enforcement agency conducting the 
        background investigation and must include a copy of the original 
        request for disclosure made upon the employer or former employer 
        and the authorization and release signed by the employee or 
        former employee.  The request must be signed by the peace 
        officer requesting the order and an attorney representing the 
        state or the political subdivision on whose behalf the 
        background investigation is being conducted.  It is not 
        necessary for the request or the order to be filed with the 
        court administrator.  Failure to comply with the court order 
        subjects the person who fails to comply to civil or criminal 
        contempt of court. 
           Subd. 4.  [IMMUNITY FROM LIABILITY.] In the absence of 
        fraud or malice, an employer is immune from civil liability for 
        employment information released to a law enforcement agency 
        under this section, or for any subsequent publication made by 
        the employee or former employee of employment information 
        released to a law enforcement agency under this section. 
           Subd. 5.  [NOTICE OF INVESTIGATION.] Upon initiation of a 
        background investigation under this section, the law enforcement 
        agency shall give written notice to the peace officer standards 
        and training board of: 
           (1) the candidate's full name and date of birth; and 
           (2) the candidate's peace officer license number, if known. 
           The initiation of a background investigation does not 
        include the submission of an application for employment.  
        Initiation of a background investigation occurs when the law 
        enforcement agency begins its determination of whether an 
        applicant meets the agency's standards for employment as a law 
        enforcement employee. 
           Subd. 6.  [CONFIDENTIALITY AGREEMENTS.] If employment 
        information is subject to a confidentiality agreement between 
        the employee or former employee and the employer, the employer 
        shall disclose the fact that such an agreement exists.  If the 
        employee or former employee has authorized the release of 
        employment information without regard to any previous agreement 
        to the contrary, the employer shall also disclose the employment 
        information in accordance with subdivision 2.  If employment 
        information is sealed or otherwise subject to a nondisclosure 
        order by a court of competent jurisdiction, the employer shall 
        disclose the fact that such an order exists, along with 
        information identifying the court and court's file number. 
           Subd. 7.  [EMPLOYMENT INFORMATION.] For purposes of this 
        section, "employment information" means written information in 
        connection with job applications, performance evaluations, 
        attendance records, disciplinary actions, and eligibility for 
        rehire. 
           Subd. 8.  [APPLICATION.] For purposes of this section, 
        "employer" does not include an entity that is subject to chapter 
        13. 
           Sec. 6.  [EFFECTIVE DATE.] 
           Section 4 is effective July 1, 1998. 
           Presented to the governor May 20, 1997 
           Signed by the governor May 22, 1997, 12:18 p.m.

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