House Passes Bill Closing Loophole in Police Standards
HB 186 changes definition of police officer to encompass all, not just full-time
Thursday, April 04, 2013, Juneau, Alaska – The Alaska House of Representatives today unanimously passed a bill changing the definition of “police officer” in state law to require all police officers to go through the minimum training necessary to be certified by the Alaska Police Standards Council.
House Bill 186, sponsored by Representative Charisse Millett, R-Anchorage, removes “full time” from the definition of a police officer, a loophole that doesn’t require an officer who doesn’t work full time to go through the state’s background check or certification process.
“Currently, the definition of police officer is an employee who is ‘full-time.’ Part-time and seasonally hired officers are not included in state law. The consequences of not holding those non-full-time officers to the regular standards could be tremendous – House Bill 186 closes that loophole and provides better accountability to Alaskans. It means there are better-trained and competent officers patrolling our streets.”
The change in definition is supported by police departments across the state.
“The bill is about fairness,” Millett said. “Residents of Alaska should expect that those charged with executing the laws are the exemplary citizens we come to expect them to be. We owe it to the public, and majority of police officers whose reputation depends on this, to make this change and keep our system of justice above unnecessary suspicion and doubt.”
HB 186 now moves to the Senate for consideration.