BEFORE THE DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
OF THE STATE OF MONTANA
In the matter of the adoption of New Rule I pertaining to authorization for probation and parole officers to carry firearms, firearms training requirements, and department procedures pertaining to firearms
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING ON PROPOSED ADOPTION
TO: All Concerned Persons
1. On January 13, 2016, at 10:00 a.m., the Department of Corrections will hold a public hearing in the auditorium of the Scott Hart Building, 301 N. Roberts, Helena, Montana, to consider the proposed adoption of the above-stated rule.
2. The Department of Corrections will make reasonable accommodations for persons with disabilities who wish to participate in this rulemaking process or need an alternative accessible format of this notice. If you require an accommodation, contact the Department of Corrections no later than 5:00 p.m. on January 8, 2016, to advise us of the nature of the accommodation that you need. Please contact Dauneen Durrant, Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 201301, Helena, Montana, 59620-1301; telephone (406) 444-4333; fax (406) 444-7909; or e-mail DDurrant2@mt.gov.
3. The rule as proposed to be adopted provides as follows:
NEW RULE I AUTHORIZATION FOR PROBATION AND PAROLE OFFICERS TO CARRY FIREARMS, FIREARMS TRAINING REQUIREMENTS, AND DEPARTMENT PROCEDURES PERTAINING TO FIREARMS (1) A currently appointed probation and parole officer is authorized to carry and deploy a department-issued firearm in the performance of official duties as provided in the department's written Probation and Parole Bureau Standard Operating Procedures.
(2) Within the initial time parameters required under 44-4-404, MCA, a probation and parole officer shall successfully complete the department's POST-certified Basic Training Course for Probation and Parole Officers including the firearms training component and the firearms proficiency standards established for public safety officers by the Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council (Council) under ARM 23.13.215. The firearms proficiency standards must be met by the probation and parole officer only for the particular firearm issued by the department to the probation and parole officer.
(3) The department's written Probation and Parole Bureau Standard Operating Procedures governing the carrying of firearms and use of force must cover the following topics:
(a) required firearms training courses and certification procedure;
(b) type(s) of department-issued firearms permitted to be carried by probation and parole officers;
(c) circumstances under which a probation and parole officer is permitted to carry a firearm or is prohibited from carrying a firearm;
(d) circumstances under which a probation and parole officer is authorized to use a firearm in the deployment of deadly force;
(e) control and storage of department-issued firearms;
(f) monitoring and documenting the use of a firearm by a probation and parole officer; and
(g) any specific procedures or requirements pertaining to a probation and parole officer carrying a concealed firearm.
AUTH: 46-23-1002, MCA
IMP: 46-23-1002, MCA
4. STATEMENT OF REASONABLE NECESSITY
The rule is necessary because firearms training requirements and proficiency standards serve to protect probation and parole officers, the probationers and parolees under the department's supervision, and the general public. In addition, the rule is necessary under 46-23-1002, MCA, to provide express authority for probation and parole officers to carry firearms. A recent legislative audit report cited 46-23-1002, MCA, and noted that the department had not adopted a rule concerning authorization for probation and parole officers to carry firearms and concerning firearms training requirements. The rule is necessary to rectify that oversight which arose as a result of the department's belief that the statutes and rules cited in this statement of reasonable necessity as well as the department's Probation and Parole Bureau Standard Operating Procedures, fulfilled its obligation under 46-23-1002, MCA.
The department has comprehensive Probation and Parole Bureau Standard Operating Procedures that include authority and processes for probation and parole officers to carry firearms in the performance of their official duties and also include firearms training requirements that are consistent with statutes (44-4-401 et seq, MCA) and administrative rules (ARM 23.13.201, et seq.) governing qualifications, training requirements, and certifications for public safety officers. Probation and parole officers employed by the departments are public safety officers under 44-4-401(1)(g), MCA. The Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council (Council) has jurisdiction in matters pertaining to public safety officer training and certification. The Council's standards for appointment of public safety officers including certification requirements are contained in ARM 23.13.201. The Council has adopted firearms proficiency standards for public safety officers in ARM 23.13.215. In accordance with its statutory obligation under 44-4-404, MCA, the department applies the Council's standards and certification requirements to the probation and parole officers that it employs.
The items in (3)(a) through (f) of the rule are taken from the statement of legislative intent included in the compiler's comments for 46-23-1002, MCA. Item (3)(g) is included in the rule because 46-23-1002(2), MCA, refers to concealed firearms and the department's Probation and Parole Bureau Standard Operating Procedures already appropriately includes procedures related to concealed carrying of a firearm by a probation and parole officer. The concealed weapons permitting requirements of 45-8-316, MCA, do not apply to probation and parole officers by reason of the exemption in 45-8-317(1)(f), MCA.
5. Concerned persons may submit their data, views, or arguments either orally or in writing at the hearing. Written data, views, or arguments may also be submitted to: Dauneen Durrant, Department of Corrections, P.O. Box 201301, Helena, Montana, 59620-1301; telephone (406) 444-4333; fax (406) 444-7909; or e-mail DDurrant2@mt.gov, and must be received no later than 5:00 p.m., January 21, 2016.
6. Colleen Ambrose, Department of Corrections, has been designated to preside over and conduct this hearing.
7. The department maintains a list of interested persons who wish to receive notices of rulemaking actions proposed by this agency. Persons who wish to have their name added to the list shall make a written request that includes the name, e-mail, and mailing address of the person to receive notices and specifies for which program the person wishes to receive notices. Notices will be sent by e-mail unless a mailing preference is noted in the request. Such written request may be mailed to Michele Morgenroth, P.O. Box 201301, Helena, Montana, 59620-1301 or e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or may be made by completing a request form at any rules hearing held by the department.
8. An electronic copy of this proposal notice is available through the Secretary of State's web site at http://sos.mt.gov/ARM/Register. The Secretary of State strives to make the electronic copy of the notice conform to the official version of the notice, as printed in the Montana Administrative Register, but advises all concerned persons that in the event of a discrepancy between the official printed text of the notice and the electronic version of the notice, only the official printed text will be considered. In addition, although the Secretary of State works to keep its web site accessible at all times, concerned persons should be aware that the web site may be unavailable during some periods, due to system maintenance or technical problems.
9. The bill sponsor contact requirements of 2-4-302, MCA, apply but have not been fulfilled as the bill sponsor is deceased.
10. With regard to the requirements of 2-4-111, MCA, the department has determined that the adoption of the above-referenced rule will not significantly and directly impact small businesses.
/s/ Colleen E. Ambrose /s/ Mike Batista
Colleen E. Ambrose, Attorney Mike Batista
Rule Reviewer Director
Department of Corrections
Certified to the Secretary of State December 14, 2015.