Dion bill to clarify training needs of “Civil Deputy” positions gets hearing

Posted: January 25, 2018 | Senator Dion
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A bill by Sen. Mark Dion, D-Portland, to create the position of “Civil Deputy” in sheriffs’ offices was the subject of a public hearing before the Legislature’s State and Local Government Committee on Wednesday.

LD 1776, An Act To Establish Requirements for Civil Deputies, would establish the “Civil Deputy” position, define the duties of a “Civil Deputy,” require reasonable pay for the position, and authorizes sheriffs to adopt the necessary rules and procedures applicable to the position.

Sheriffs’ departments already have what are essentially “Civil Deputies” working on staff to serve civil paperwork. Some interpretations of their training requirements could lead to these staff members having to go through the same trainings as a full-time police officer if they work more than 1040 hours a year.

“These civil deputies today don’t have the same duties and responsibilities as full-time police officers. They don’t wear a uniform, they don’t make physical arrests, and they don’t drive cruisers,” said Sen. Dion. “We should make sure that our reality matches up with what is legally required.”

Cumberland County Sheriff Kevin Joyce first brought the issue to Sen. Dion’s attention.

“To follow the law as written and expect that all civil deputies attend the 18 week BLETP or the 100-hour Pre-service school does not make sense,” said Sheriff Joyce at the hearing. “The intention is to let a Sheriff decide what training is appropriate and make sure that the training is job specific.”

BLETP is the Basic Law Enforcement Training Program and Pre-service school is a Maine Criminal Justice Academy course.

LD 1776 faces further action in the State and Local Government Committee and votes in the House and Senate.