Vol. 14 No. 1- Legislative Bills Amending Government Code §3304 and Penal Code §12050

January 8, 1999

By: Paul R. Coble

Legislative Bills Amending Government Code §3304 and Penal Code §12050

Two bills of importance to California law enforcement executives were signed into law recently by Governor Pete Wilson. Both A.B. 1436, amending the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights, and S.B. 146, amending Penal Code §12050 concerning the issue of CCW permits, became effective January 1, 1998.

A.B. 1436

This bill amended Government Code §3304 to require that investigations of allegations of misconduct, whether arising from a citizen complaint or initiated internally, be completed within one (1) year of the date upon which the agency became aware of the allegation(s). It will also provide that a post-Skelly decision to impose discipline has to be communicated to the officer within 30 days of the decision to do so.

This may seem, at first glance, to be an onerous requirement. However, please note that the bill does not impose a one-year period of limitations from the date of the alleged misconduct, but rather simply requires that any investigation be completed within one (1) year of the agency’s knowledge of the alleged misconduct. Furthermore, the bill sets forth several circumstances under which this one-year period would be tolled; i.e., the one-year clock would stop ticking. These include if:

  • The alleged misconduct is also the subject of a criminal investigation, in which case the period is tolled during the pendency of the criminal investigation or prosecution.
  • The accused officer waives the one-year period in writing, in which case the period is tolled for the time specifically set forth in the writing.
  • The investigation is multi-jurisdictional and requires a reasonable extension for coordination of the involved agencies.
  • The investigation involves more than one employee and on that account requires a reasonable extension.
  • The investigation involves an employee who is incapacitated or otherwise unavailable.
  • The investigation involves an officer who is named as a party in a related civil action, in which case the investigation would be tolled during the pendency of that civil proceeding.
  • The investigation involves a complainant who is a defendant on related criminal charges, in which case the investigation would be tolled during the pendency of that criminal investigation.
  • The investigation involves alleged workers’ compensation fraud on the part of the accused officer.

If the one-year period of limitations has passed, the investigation may be reopened if:

  • Significant new evidence has been discovered; and,
  • One of the following conditions exists:
  • The evidence could not reasonably have been discovered in the normal course of the investigation; or
  • The evidence resulted from the officer’s Skelly response or procedure.

Looked at on balance, A.B. 1436 really does not impair the ability of a public safety department to investigate and adjudicate allegations of misconduct. The collective experience has shown that, absent the sort of circumstances included within the bill as tolling the one-year period, allegations of misconduct can and should be investigated and brought to closure within one (1) year of discovery.


S.B. 408

This bill amended Penal Code §12050 to limit the authority of a Chief to issuing concealed weapon permits only to persons who reside in the jurisdiction of the executive issuing the permit; i.e., within the city of the Chief.

The law still requires proof that the person applying for the permit is of good moral character and that good cause exists for the issuance of the CCW permit.

In an interesting twist, a Chief or Sheriff in a county with a population of less than 200,000 (based on the latest federal decennial census) may also issue permits to carry the concealable firearm in an exposed position. (Watch out, Mr. Dillon!)

We were asked recently whether CCW permits issued to non-city residents, but which permits have not yet expired, must be revoked and returned. We find no such requirement in the law. However, as a matter of courtesy, it may be advisable to put current non-resident permittees on notice that the permit cannot be renewed upon expiration except by the Chief or Sheriff of the permittee’s jurisdiction of residence.

As always, before implementing policy in this, or any area, consult your own legal counsel to ensure correct implementation of the law. Should you have any questions regarding the above, or wish to discuss it in greater detail, please do not hesitate to contact myself or Marty.