Question Submitted by Emmons, 033018 OKAG, 2018 OK AG 3
|Docket Nº:||2018 OK AG 3|
|Party Name:||Question Submitted by: Steve Emmons, Executive Director, Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training|
|Attorney:||MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA CHARLES S. ROGERS SENIOR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL|
|Case Date:||March 30, 2018|
|Court:||Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions|
Oklahoma Attorney General Opinions.
MIKE HUNTER ATTORNEY GENERAL OF OKLAHOMA
CHARLES S. ROGERS SENIOR ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL
¶0 This office has received your request for an official Attorney General Opinion in which you ask, in effect, the following questions:
1. Would the Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training (CLEET) violate OKLA. CONST. art. X, §§ 14 or 15 by expending public funds to provide training to law enforcement cadets and officers who work for a campus police department established by a private school or institution of higher learning pursuant to the Oklahoma Campus Security Act, 74 O.S.2011 & Supp.2017, §§ 360.15 -- 360.21?
2. Would CLEET violate OKLA. CONST. art. II, § 5 by expending public funds to provide training to law enforcement cadets and officers who work for the campus police department of a private sectarian school, university, or college established pursuant to the Oklahoma Campus Security Act? 1
A. The Oklahoma Campus Security Act.
¶1 The Oklahoma Campus Security Act (the "Act"), 74 O.S.2011 & Supp.2017, §§ 360.15 -- 360.21, was enacted in 1991. As originally enacted, it provided in part: A. Governing boards of institutions of higher education and boards of education of public school districts are authorized to establish campus police departments pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Campus Security Act. These boards may employ and commission campus police officers and may designate uniforms, badges and insignia to be worn by such officers and displayed on vehicles or other equipment of the department.
1991 Okla. Sess. Laws ch. 313, § 7. Campus police officers commissioned pursuant to the Act "have the same powers, liabilities, and immunities as sheriffs or police officers within their jurisdiction." 74 O.S.Supp.2017, § 360.17 (A).
¶2 Once established, campus police departments of private institutions of higher education are expressly declared to be "public agencies of the State of Oklahoma for the limited purposes of enforcing the criminal statutes of Oklahoma and making agreements with local law enforcement agencies or political subdivisions of the state." 74 O.S.Supp.2017, §360.17 (D); see also id. § 360.20 (permitting a municipality or county sheriff "having overlapping or concurrent jurisdiction with a proposed campus police department" to enter into an agreement with the campus police department to "recogniz[e] jurisdictional boundaries and provid[e] for mutual assistance"). The commission of a campus police officer may be suspended or revoked by the governing board "for any reason, " or by the local District Attorney "for cause related to the campus police officer's ability to exercise the powers of such commission in the interest of public security" or upon the officer's conviction of certain enumerated offenses. Id. § 360.18(B). 2
¶3 In its original form, the Oklahoma Campus Security Act authorized both public and "accredited" private institutions of higher education to establish campus police departments, see 1991 Okla. Sess. Laws ch. 313, § 5 (defining "institution of higher education"), but authorized only public school districts to do so. Id. § 7(A). In 2017, the Legislature amended the Act to add "private school" to the definitions section. "Private school" is defined as "a school that offers a course of instruction for students in one or more grades from prekindergarten through grade twelve and is not operated by a governmental entity." 2017 Okla. Sess. Laws, ch. 64, § 1. The amendment likewise inserted the phrase "a private school" into the Act's definitions of "[c]ampus, " "[c]ampus police officer, " "commission, " and [g]overning board." Id. The legislation also amended Section 360.18 of the Act, in pertinent part, as follows: A. Governing boards of institutions of higher education or private schools, boards of education of public school districts and airport public trusts are authorized to establish campus police departments pursuant to the provisions of the Oklahoma Campus Security Act.
B. The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training.
¶4 The Council on Law Enforcement Education and Training ("CLEET") provides training and certification of all persons commissioned as law enforcement officers under the laws of the State of Oklahoma. See generally A.G. Opin. 2017-15. A commissioned but uncertified public law enforcement officer must be certified by CLEET within six months of the officer's appointment or the officer forfeits his or her appointment and the employing agency must withhold the officer's compensation or wages. See 70 O.S.Supp.2017, § 3311 (E)(4). Once certified, a full time law enforcement officer  must annually obtain 25 hours of CLEET accredited or provided training. Id. § 3311.4(A); see also A.G. Opin. 2017-15. Campus police officers are equally subject to these certification and training requirements. A.G. Opin. 1995-74.
¶5 CLEET is not authorized to charge either the law enforcement officer or the officer's employing agency for such training, though it may require the employing agency to pre-pay the cost of providing meals to the agency's cadets during CLEET training by assessing a registration fee. A.G. Opin. 2017-15.
A. Because a campus police department established by a private school or private institution of higher learning serves a public purpose, CLEET may expend public funds for training the department's cadets and officers.
¶6 Your first question is whether CLEET, by providing basic and...
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