January 24, 2011
POLICE OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING COUNCIL
By: Veronica Rose, Chief Analyst
You asked for a brief description of the Police Officer Standards and Training Council (POST), including its duties and composition.
POST (formerly the Municipal Training Council) was established in 1965. By law, its responsibilities include (1) establishing a comprehensive municipal police training plan; (2) training, certifying, and establishing minimum qualifications for municipal police officers; (3) enforcing professional standards for certification and decertification of police officers; and (4) developing standards for law enforcement units and granting accreditation to units that meet the standards. While the agency's responsibilities are mainly described in terms of “police officers,” its authority extends to persons who perform police functions, according to a 1993 attorney general's opinion.
The council is within the Department of Public Safety (DPS) for administrative purposes only. It consists of (1) 18 members appointed by the governor and (2) the DPS commissioner and Federal Bureau of Investigation's special agent in charge in Connecticut or their designees, who are ex officio voting members. Members serve without compensation but are reimbursed actual expenses incurred in performing their duties. An executive director, appointed by the council, and a 24-person staff carry out the day-to-day responsibilities of the council.
The council must submit annual reports to the governor and legislature on its training plan and an accounting of all grants, contributions, donations, and other financial assistance it receives.
The council's central office is at the Connecticut Police Academy in Meriden.
POST DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES
The council may, among other things:
1. develop and periodically update a comprehensive municipal police training plan;
2. establish uniform minimum educational and training standards for employment as a police officer;
3. require that all probationary candidates (police officers who have not satisfied the council's requirements for certification) receive at least 480 hours of basic training to be eligible for certification;
4. certify police officers who complete minimum basic training;
5. require that each police officer satisfactorily complete at least 40 hours of certified review training every three years to maintain certification, and renew certificates of officers who have satisfactorily completed such training; and
6. cancel, revoke, or refuse to renew any certificate for reasons specified in law (CGS § 7-294d).
Police Training Schools and Inspectors
The council may:
1. set minimum courses of study, attendance, equipment, and facilities for approved police training schools;
2. set minimum qualifications for, and certify, law enforcement instructors;
3. approve, certify, or revoke the approval or certificate of police training schools; and
4. inspect police basic training schools at least annually (CGS § 7- 294d).
The council may:
1. work with higher education institutions to develop specialized courses of study for police officers in police science and police administration;
2. develop accreditation standards for law enforcement units;
3. inspect and evaluate law enforcement units to determine their compliance with relevant laws;
4. develop objective and uniform criteria for waiving council regulations or procedures; and
5. employ an executive director and, with available appropriations, other staff necessary to perform its duties (CGS § 7-294d).
Attorney General's Opinion and People Exempt From POST Authority
A 1993 attorney general opinion notes that while the agency's responsibilities are mainly described in terms of “police officers,” the agency's authority extends to persons who perform police functions. Thus, while the council's training requirements outlined in CGS § 7-294d(5) apply only to “police officers” or “probationary candidates,” the council has the authority to formulate other appropriate training curricula for persons performing police functions as a prerequisite for certification. These include housing authority police, marine officers, forest fire patrolmen, and shellfish wardens (see opinion attached).
The law specifically exempts from its scope state police training schools and programs, state police officers, Connecticut National Guard members acting within the scope of National Guard duties and who have satisfactorily completed a program of police training conducted by the U.S. Army or Air Force, Judicial Department employees, municipal animal control officers, and fire police officers.
The council consists of the following members appointed by the governor:
1. five public members;
2. one University of Connecticut faculty member;
3. eight Connecticut Police Chiefs Association members;
4. the chief state's attorney;
5. a sworn local police officer ranked sergeant or lower;
6. one municipal chief administrative officer; and
7. the chief elected official or chief executive officer of a town or city with fewer that 12,000 people and without an organized police department.
The public safety commissioner and the Federal Bureau of Investigation's special agent-in-charge in Connecticut or their designees are ex-officio voting members (CGS § 7-294b).
The list of current members is attached and also available at http://www.ct.gov/post/cwp/view.asp?a=2058&q=291934.