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PA Bulletin, Doc. No. 01-217



[37 PA. CODE CH. 421]

Deputy Sheriff's Education and Training Board

[31 Pa.B. 788]

   The Commission on Crime and Delinquency (Commission) and its Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Board (Board) are publishing this proposed rulemaking that would amend Chapter 421 (relating to Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Board). The proposal is made under the authority of sections 5--7 of the Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Act (act) (71 P. S. §§ 2105--2107). The most significant aspect of the proposal is an expansion of the curriculum of basic training that a deputy sheriff is required to undergo within 1 year of the deputy's hiring. The proposed regulation is set forth in Annex A.

A.  Effective Date

   The proposed regulation will be effective upon publication of the final-form regulation in the Pennsylvania Bulletin.

B.  Statutory Authority

   The regulations are proposed under the authority of sections 5 and 6 of the act.

C.  Background and Purpose

   Legislation enacted in 1984 established the Board as an advisory board to the Commission. See section 3(a) of the act (71 P. S. § 2103(a)). Among other things, the act directed that a deputy sheriff may not receive compensation for the performance of duties as a deputy sheriff unless the officer is certified by the Board as having completed an initial basic training course of up to 160 hours and biennial continuing education of up to 20 hours. See section 7 of the act. During its 16-year history, the Board has trained and certified approximately 3,000 deputy sheriffs.

   Deputy sheriffs perform a variety of duties, the extent of which varies among the 67 counties. These duties include serving complaints, summons, subpoenas, Protection from Abuse (PFA) orders and other legal documents in civil matters, levying on goods and performing other duties related to execution proceedings, providing courtroom security and transporting prisoners, executing arrest warrants and performing other duties in criminal matters, conduct of background checks and issuance of licenses and permits in connection with State and Federal firearms acts, patrol, participating in multi-agency DUI and drug task forces, and community service efforts such as crime prevention initiatives, Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) for youth and Pennsylvania Weed and Seed.

   In 1994, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court issued the decision of Commonwealth v. Leet, 641 A2d 299 (Pa. 1994), which involved a deputy sheriff who had arrested a motorist after witnessing a moving violation. The motorist challenged the legality of the arrest on the grounds that the deputy sheriff was not a ''police officer'' as defined by the Vehicle Code. The county court and the Superior Court on appeal agreed that the arrest was illegal. The Supreme Court disagreed, declaring that English common law traceable to the 11th Century bestows on modern Pennsylvania sheriffs and their deputies the power ''to make arrests without warrant for felonies and for breaches of the peace committed in [their] presence.'' 641 A2d at 303. The Court stressed that no statute has ever taken away this common law power. Id.

   The Court, however, attached a significant condition to the exercise by a deputy sheriff of this power of arrest. It acknowledged the argument ''that to protect public safety, anyone who enforces the motor vehicle laws should be required to undergo training appropriate to the duties.'' Id. Noting that ''[p]olicemen are required to undergo training appropriate to the duties,'' id. (citing the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Act, known as ''Act 120''), the Court then stated:

   We deem this requirement to apply equally to sheriffs who enforce motor vehicle laws. Thus a sheriff or deputy sheriff would be required to complete the same type of training that is required of police officers throughout the Commonwealth.

   Id. (emphasis added).

   In 1998, the General Assembly passed legislation that would enable the Board to expand its training program. Act 10 of 1998 provided the Board with substantially increased revenue by raising the surcharge rate that is assessed by the judicial system when a sheriff's office serves legal papers.

   Act 10 of 1998 also amended the language relating to hours of basic training. Previously, the language directed the Board to conduct a basic training course of ''up to 160 hours.'' Based on the 1998 amendment changing this language to ''no less than 160 hours,'' the Board undertook extensive curriculum planning and solicited voluminous input from the regulated community as to the appropriate number of hours and substantive content of the Board's basic training course. As of 1998-1999, the curriculum for the course consisted of 160 hours' instruction in the topics set forth in § 421.11 (relating to operating procedures) of the Board regulations. These topics trained new deputies for their traditional roles of serving civil process, providing security in court facilities and transporting prisoners. In recent years, the Board sought to expand the number of hours allocated to these traditional topics, so as to better prepare new deputies for their traditional rules. Moreover, based largely on the input received from sheriffs and deputy sheriffs in 1999, the Board adopted a goal of augmenting the traditional curriculum with certain law enforcement topics, such as motor vehicle code enforcement, patrol procedures and investigative techniques.

   The Board's introduction of law enforcement topics into its basic training curriculum would provide deputies who successfully complete the course with training similar to the training provided in those topics to municipal police officers under Act 120. In the view of the Board, and of many in the Board's regulated community, deputies who are trained in a basic training curriculum that is in parity with that of the Municipal Police Officers Education and Training Commission (MPOETC) will possess the capability of, among other things, making lawful arrests during vehicle stops. The Board's legal rationale derives from two decisions of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court: Commonwealth v. Leet, 641 A2d 299 (Pa 1994), and Commonwealth v. Kline, 741 A2d 1281 (Pa 1999). In Kline, the Court upheld the legality of an arrest made by a deputy sheriff on a vehicle code charge. The Court held that, because the deputy had received training similar to that given by MPOETC, he was legally empowered to make an arrest.

   In designing the expanded curriculum, the Board recognizes that training covering all topics considered important for law enforcement, in addition to those topics traditionally taught to new deputies, is needed to adequately prepare deputies for all of their potential roles. The initial development report of the Board's training development contractor, Temple University Department of Criminal Justice, identified a list of topics with a potential total length that approximated 760 hours. The Board in ensuing discussions chose to develop curriculum expansion in an incremental manner. An incremental approach would allow for a focused use of curriculum development resources, would provide the training resources needed to continue certification of deputies as the curriculum is developed, and would ultimately meet the judicial requirements for training parity in law enforcement functions.

   The first step was to create a core curriculum of approximately 560 hours of entry-level topics. A 560-hour pilot course was conducted from July through October 2000 at Pennsylvania State University's Institute for Continuing Justice Education and Research, in State College. A second 560-hour course is currently underway.

   Following pilot testing and production of final curriculum documentation of the 560-hour course, the development effort will focus on the remaining estimated 200 hours of law enforcement-related topics. Development of the additional 200 hours is projected to begin in early 2001, with implementation of the expanded curriculum upon final approval of a regulation in accordance with this rulemaking.

D.  Description of Proposed Regulation.

§ 421.1.  Definitions

   New definitions are added for the terms ''basic training,'' ''Commission,'' ''continuing education'' and ''waiver.'' The definition of ''school'' is amended.

§ 421.3.  Training required.

   The change in subsection (a) would eliminate citation to a specific portion of the act, replacing it with a generic reference that would remain valid even if the act were to be restructured. Language is proposed to clarify that the regulation itself, in addition to the act, dictates the substance of basic training, and that the Board will establish the number of hours of basic training within the requirements of the act.

   Language is deleted in subsection (b) pertaining to special provisions needed when the Board was created in 1984 and that are now anachronistic. Language is proposed for continuing education requirements parallel to the basic training requirements in subparagraph (a).

   A provision is added that sets forth that a deputy sheriff must pass each written test and demonstrate proficiency in all practical skills in order to successfully complete basic training or continuing education.

§ 421.4.  Waiver of training.

   This provision currently consists of one sentence stating that a training waiver request shall be made on a form supplied by the Board. This sentence is proposed for deletion, because it sets forth a simple procedural requirement that does not need to be set forth in a regulation. Language is proposed that would describe the two kinds of waivers of training granted by the Board: (a) the grant of additional time to complete a training requirement, given for cause; and (b) a reduction in the number of hours required generally, given in recognition of prior education, training or experience.

§ 421.5.  Code of conduct.

   This new provision would authorize the Board or school to establish and enforce attendance and conduct rules.

§ 421.11.  Basic training.

   The proposed amendment would replace nine listed basic training topics with 24 topics. The nine original topics are either incorporated verbatim into the new list (''Firearms'' and ''Related Social Sciences''), are renamed or are subsumed into new topics. Included in the new topics are law enforcement-related topics such as criminal investigation, motor vehicle code and enforcement and patrol procedures and operations. The amended paragraph will allow the Board to make future adjustments to the curriculum topics without having to amend the regulation.

§ 421.12.  Continuing education.

   This new provision on continuing education curriculum is designed to complement the provision in § 421.11 for basic training. However, it is much simpler than the basic training's listing of 24 topics, to accommodate the Board's frequent changing of continuing education topics to keep the training varied and innovative.

§ 421.31.  Reimbursement to counties.

   The proposed language would amend subsections (a) and (b) to clarify the reimbursement procedures currently practiced by the Commission. Specifically, counties may apply to the Commission for reimbursement of various items that the counties have paid to their deputies who attend training. Counties need not apply to the Commission for the tuition costs or room and board for those deputies who stay overnight during basic training sessions, as the Board provides these items directly to the deputies free of charge.

   Minor language changes are proposed to subsections (c) and (d).

   Subsections (e) and (g) are proposed for deletion because they address routine administrative matters that need not be part of an agency's regulations.

   In subsection (f), language is proposed for deletion that covers routine administrative matters.

§ 421.32.  Restrictions on reimbursement.

   In subsection (c), reference to reimbursement ''for up to 20 hours of training'' for continuing education would be deleted to reflect the 1998 statutory change authorizing the Board to set the hourly requirement for continuing education at ''not less than 20 hours.''

E.  Affected Persons.

   Those directly affected by the proposed rulemaking are the newly-hired deputy sheriffs who are required to undergo mandated training. As of November 1, 2000, approximately 3,000 deputies had been trained and certified by the Board. During the years 1995--2000, deputies seeking certification ranged from 150 to 210 each year. Also affected are the sheriffs' offices and county governments in each of the 67 counties, which send new deputies to Board training and which, under the act, shall be responsible for half of the salary of the applicable participants.

   Those indirectly affected are participants in the Commonwealth's judicial system, including judges or other employes, those charged with criminal offenses, litigants in civil matters or witnesses in any judicial matter.

F.  Compliance with Executive Order 1996-1.

   In designing the upgraded basic training program, the Commission staff on behalf of the Board conducted extensive public outreach to those likely to be affected. Approximately 1,700 job/task analysis surveys were distributed to sheriffs and deputy sheriffs, resulting in 680 responses from 57 of the State's 67 sheriffs' offices. The total of 680 responses were broken down as follows: 29 sheriffs (43.2% of all sheriffs), 41 chief deputies (61.2% of all chief deputies), and 610 deputy sheriffs (42.6% of all deputies). Subsequent to the initial analysis of survey responses, the Board and Temple University, the Board's training consultant, convened a series of focus group meetings to elicit input. All 67 sheriffs were invited to attend the meetings and send their chief deputies. In addition, each office was invited to send two deputy sheriffs to the meeting. A total of six groups met in August 1999, two each in Allentown, Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. A total of 25 departments participated in the focus groups, including 16 sheriffs, 18 chief deputies and 30 deputy sheriffs. Members of the Board and Commission staff attended all of the sessions. In addition, the Commission distributed deputy sheriffs training bulletins to sheriffs' offices, county governments and other interested parties. Quarterly Board meetings during the time the upgrade was being considered were synchronized with the meetings of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association and the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Pennsylvania, to maximize participation at the Board meetings.

   Subsequent to the initial development of the programs, the Board has communicated extensively with its regulated community. Training bulletins are disseminated periodically to update sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, county and municipal officials, on any operational or curriculum changes. The Board conducts quarterly meetings, and it has been its custom to hold at least two of its four meetings a year in a location removed from Harrisburg. For example, the September 1999 meeting was held in Pittsburgh and the meetings of July 2000 and October 2000 were held in State College.

   It should be noted that the composition of the 10-person Board as mandated by the act promotes effective development of public input and advocacy. Specifically, three members of the Board are required to be a current or former deputy sheriff, two are sheriffs, two are common pleas judges, one is an educator and one a county commissioner. Each of these members is appointed by the Governor. The tenth member is the Attorney General or designee. The Board currently includes the Executive Director of the Deputy Sheriffs' Association of Pennsylvania and the President of the Pennsylvania Sheriffs' Association.

G.  Fiscal Impact and Paperwork Requirements

   The proposed amendments will have no added paperwork requirements and minimal fiscal impact on the Commonwealth. Section 8 of the act (71 P. S. § 2108), provides that the various training programs shall be funded by a special restricted account within the General Fund known as the Deputy Sheriffs' Training Account. The fund accumulates through surcharges assessed on all sheriffs' fees for service of legal papers. Using proceeds from the account, the Board is able to provide training that is free of charge to deputy sheriffs. Despite added costs to the Training Account from an expanded curriculum, the Board anticipates that revenues will continue to exceed expenses into the near future due to increased surcharge rates ordered by the General Assembly in 1998. The Board anticipates added fiscal impact for the 67 counties that will send their deputy sheriffs to expanded basic training. Because the curriculum as proposed will require deputies to attend school longer, counties may experience increased overtime expenses to cover for the officers who are away at school. The act requires counties to pay the full salary of a deputy sheriff while attending school, the Commission reimbursing the county for 50% of the salary costs.

H.  Sunset Date

   The Board will review the effectiveness of its regulations on an ongoing basis. Therefore, no sunset date has been assigned.

I.  Regulatory Review

   Under section 5(a) of the Regulatory Review Act (71 P. S. § 745.5(a)), on January 25, 2001, the Commission submitted a copy of these proposed amendments to the Independent Regulatory Review Commission (IRRC) and the Chairpersons of the House Judiciary Committee and the Senate Judiciary Committee. In addition to submitting this proposed rulemaking, the Commission has provided IRRC and the Committees with a copy of a detailed Regulatory Analysis Form prepared by the agency in compliance with Executive Order 1996-1, ''Regulatory Review and Promulgation.'' A copy of this material is available to the public upon request.

   If IRRC has objections to any portion of the proposed amendments, it will notify the Commission within 10 days after the expiration of the Committees' review period. The notification shall specify the regulatory review criteria that have not been met by that portion.

   The Regulatory Review Act specifies detailed procedures for review, prior to final publication of the regulations, by IRRC, the General Assembly and the Governor of objections raised.

J.  Public Comment and Questions

   Interested persons are invited to submit written questions or comments regarding the proposed rulemaking to Gerard M. Mackarevich, Chief Counsel, Commission on Crime and Delinquency, P. O. Box 1167, Harrisburg, PA 17108-1167, within 30 days of publication of this proposed rulemaking. Questions and comments may also be sent via electronic mail to, or by facsimile to Gerard Mackarevich's attention at PCCD's Civil and Criminal Training Division (717) 783-7139.

THOMAS W. CORBETT, Jr., Esq.,   
Pennsylvania Commission on
Crime and Delinquency

Deputy Sheriffs' Education and
Training Board

Fiscal Note: 35-28. (1) General Fund; (2) Implementing Year 2000-01 is $0; (3) 1st Succeeding Year 2001-02 is $552,622; 2nd Succeeding Year 2002-03 is $642,622; 3rd Succeeding Year 2003-04 is $642,622; 4th Succeeding Year 2004-05 is $733,622; 5th Succeeding Year 2005-06 is $750,000; (4) Fiscal Year 1999-00 $1,176,836; Fiscal Year 1998-99 $624,979; Fiscal Year 1997-98 $640,366; (7) Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Account; (8) recommends adoption.

Annex A





§ 421.1.  Definitions.

   The following words and terms, when used in this chapter, have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

*      *      *      *      *

   Basic training--A course of training administered by the Deputy Sheriffs' Education and Training Board that the act requires for newly-hired deputy sheriffs.

*      *      *      *      *

   Continuing education--A course of training administered by the Board that the act requires previously-certified deputy sheriffs to complete periodically to maintain certification.

*      *      *      *      *

   School--A [school operated] facility approved by the Board to [teach basic or inservice deputy sheriff training courses] conduct training on the Board's behalf pursuant to a contract between the facility and the Commission.

   Waiver--The Board's grant of approval for a deputy sheriff for reduced training hours in recognition of the deputy sheriff's prior education, training or experience or for additional time to complete a training requirement.

§ 421.3.  Training required.

   (a)  A newly-hired deputy sheriff is required to undergo basic training as [set forth in sections 5--7 of the act (71 P. S. §§ 2105--2107)] required by the act and by this chapter in the amount of hours established by the Board.

   (b)  [A deputy with less than 5 years of experience shall complete 160 hours of basic training, as established by the Board, by August 9, 1986. A deputy hired after July 1, 1985 shall complete the 160 hours of basic training within 1 year of the date-of-hire.] A deputy sheriff holding Board certification is required to undergo continuing education as required by the act and by this chapter in the amount of hours established by the Board.

   (c)  To successfully complete basic training or continuing education, a deputy sheriff shall attain at least a minimum score established by the Board on each written test and shall demonstrate proficiency in all practical skills.

§ 421.4.  Waiver of training.

   [When a deputy sheriff requests a waiver of training under section 7(b) of the act (71 P. S. § 2107(b)), the request shall be made on a form supplied by the Board.]

   (a)  The Board upon request and for cause shown may grant additional time for a newly-hired deputy sheriff to fulfill the basic training requirements of the act.

   (b)  The Board upon request may grant a deputy sheriff a reduction in the hours of training generally required. The waiver determination will be based upon the Board's evaluation of the prior education, training or experience of the deputy sheriff pursuant to criteria set forth by the Board.

§ 421.5.  Code of conduct.

   (a)  The Board or school may establish reasonable rules governing attendance and conduct expected of a deputy sheriff who is attending training required under the act.

   (b)  Violations of attendance policy or departures from the expected standards of conduct may result in the Board's imposition of disciplinary sanctions, which may include expulsion from the training or denying or withdrawing certification.


§ 421.11.  Basic training [course].

   [The Deputy Sheriffs' Basic Training Course shall be presented as established by the Board and shall consist of] The Board will determine the curriculum for basic training, which will include at least the following topics:

(1)  [Introduction to the powers and duties of sheriffs and deputy sheriffs.

(2)  Firearms.

(3)  Prisoner control.

(4)  Emergencies and civil disorders.

(5)  Courtroom security.

(6)  Emergency medical care.

(7)  Civil process and law.

(8)  Criminal law.

(9)  Related social sciences.]

Civil law and procedure.

(2)  Communications.

(3)  Control and defensive tactics.

(4)  Courtroom security.

(5)  Crimes Code and criminal procedure.

(6)  Criminal investigation.

(7)  Criminal justice system and law enforcement.

(8)  Crisis intervention.

(9)  Cultural diversity and ethnic intimidation.

(10)  Emergency management.

(11)  Emergency vehicle operation.

(12)  Ethics and professional development.

(13)  Families in crisis and domestic violence.

(14)  Firearms.

(15)  First aid and cardio-pulmonary resuscitation.

(16)  Motor vehicle code and enforcement.

(17)  Patrol procedures and operations.

(18)  Physical conditioning.

(19)  Physical and judicial security.

(20)  Prisoner transportation.

(21)  Related social sciences.

(22)  Related legal issues.

(23)  Special needs groups.

(24)  Unified court system.

§ 421.12.  Continuing education.

   Continuing education will consist of topics to be determined periodically by the Board.


§ 421.31.  Reimbursement to counties.

   (a)  [A] Except for those items that the Board provides directly to a deputy sheriff, a county shall initially pay the deputy sheriff's ordinary and necessary living and travel expenses [of a deputy sheriff while the deputy is attending a school operated by the Board] in connection with training.

   (b)  [The] Upon application by a county, the Commission will provide reimbursement as set forth in section 9 of the act (71 P. S. §  2109) for items paid by the county.

   (c)  Reimbursement will be given only for attendance at a school as defined in [§ 421.1 (relating to definitions)] this chapter.

   (d)  The county may apply to the Commission for reimbursement, on a form to be supplied by the Commission, at the conclusion of the required [basic] training [or continuing education course,] for each deputy sheriff who has attended the course.

   (e)  [Requests shall be submitted by the county to the Commission within 30 days after the training is completed. A separate form shall be submitted for each deputy sheriff who attends the training course under the act.

   (f)]  Reimbursement will be limited to the following:

*      *      *      *      *

   [(g)  If the Commission determines that the applicant and request for reimbursement meet the requirements of the act and this part, the Executive Director will issue written approval.

   (h)]  (f)  If the Commission determines that the application and request for reimbursement do not meet the requirements of the act and this part, the Executive Director will [specify in writing and forward to the applicant, by certified mail, return receipt requested,] notify the county and specify the reasons upon which the adverse determination is based.

§ 421.32.  Restrictions on reimbursement.

*      *      *      *      *

   (c)  A county will be reimbursed once, [for up to 20 hours of training,] for each deputy sheriff attending a certified continuing education course within a 2-year period.

*      *      *      *      *

[Pa.B. Doc. No. 01-217. Filed for public inspection February 9, 2001, 9:00 a.m.]

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