As you’re all very well aware, there was a lot of work done on H. 765, the bill signed into law last year that established three different levels of law enforcement authority and accompanying restrictions on the scope of practice for Levels I and II (Level III is full time certification, with no restriction on scope of practice).
The Level I scope of practice was defined in H.765, and needed no additional work. Level II, previously known as part-time certification, also had a statutorily defined limitation on scope of practice, but the Council was given the opportunity to work with stakeholders to identify any changes that might be necessary. The Council’s Rules Subcommittee worked on this all summer and into the fall, and submitted a proposal regarding an expansion to the Council in December. The Council accepted the recommendation, and the recommendation was provided to the legislature in January. The modifications became known as S.124.
At the same time that the Rules Subcommittee drafted its recommendation, it also proposed the creation of what has become designated as Level II Enhanced. Level IIE is intended for those part time certified officers who had obtained their non-provisional certification prior to July 1, 2015 and met certain requirements, and incorporates further additions to the Level II scope of practice
Unfortunately, the state’s budget concerns overwhelmed the legislature, and S.124 missed crossover. It finally had to go to the Legislative Rules Committee for a crossover waiver. The waiver was eventually granted and the contents of S.124 were incorporated into H.105, a bill that had already made crossover. The link to the bill is here.
The bill also includes language that allows the Council to grant specific Level III authority to Level II or IIE officers, provided those officers meet certain criteria. As with Level IIE, this is available only to those officers holding non-provisional Level II certification prior to July 1, 2015, or who were full time certified prior to July 1, 2015, left employment, and are re-entering the field after an absence.
The following list of FAQ’s is intended to answer the most commonly asked questions regarding this change in law enforcement practice in Vermont, but, like any FAQ list, may not address all your concerns. As always, please feel free to contact me with additional questions.
- What is the scope of practice for a Level I certified officer?
- What is the scope of practice for Level II officers?
- Why isn’t DUI included in the list? Does this mean Level II officers will not be able to enforce DUI laws?
- What is the scope of practice for Level IIE officers?
- What are the requirements for Level IIE certification?
- What is specific Level III Authority?
- How does an agency head apply for Level IIE or specific Level III authority?
- Can an officer respond to an offense above his/her scope of practice?
- What is the officer’s obligation if he/she discovers that an incident involves any offenses outside their scope of authority?
The Level I certified officer’s scope of practice is restricted to security, transports, traffic control, and vehicle escorts.
- 7 V.S.A. § 658 (sale or furnishing to minors; enabling consumption by minors);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 7 (advertisements);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 8 (humane and proper treatment of animals);
- 13 V.S.A. §§505 (fourth degree arson), 508 (setting fires), and 509 (attempts);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 19, subchapter 1 (riots);
- 13 V.S.A. §§:
- 1022 (noise in the nighttime)
- 1023 (simple assault)
- 1025 (recklessly endangering another person)
- 1026 (disorderly conduct)
- 1027 (disturbing peace by use of telephone or other electronic communications)
- 1030 (violation of an abuse prevention order, an order against stalking or sexual assault, or a protective order concerning contact with a child)
- 1031 (interference with access to emergency services)
- 1042 (domestic assault)
- 1062 (stalking);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 35 (escape);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 41 (false alarms and reports);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 45 (flags and ensigns);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 47 (frauds);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 49 (fraud in commercial transactions);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 51 (gambling and lotteries);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 57 (larceny and embezzlement), except for subchapter 2 (embezzlement);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 67 (public justice and public officers);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 69 (railroads);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 77 (trees and plants);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 81 (trespass and malicious injuries to property);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 83 (vagrants);
- 13 V.S.A. chapter 85 (weapons);
- 18 V.S.A. §§4230(a), 4230c, and 4230d (marijuana possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4231(a) (cocaine possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4232(a) (LSD possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4233(a) (heroin possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4234(a) (depressant, stimulant, or narcotic drug possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4234a(a) (methamphetamine possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4235(b) (hallucinogenic drug possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4235a(a) (ecstasy possession);
- 18 V.S.A. §4476 (drug paraphernalia offenses);
- 21 V.S.A. §692(c)(2) (criminal violation of stop work order);
- Any misdemeanor set forth in Title 23 of the Vermont Statutes Annotated, except for:
- 23 V.S.A. chapter 13, subchapter 13 (drunken driving)
- 23 V.S.A. §3207a (snowmobiling under the influence)
- 23 V.S.A. §3323 (boating under the influence)
- 23 V.S.A. §3506(b)(8) (operating an all terrain vehicle under the influence);
- Any motor vehicle accident that includes property damage and injuries, as permitted by the Council by rule;
- Any matter within the jurisdiction of the Judicial Bureau as set forth in 4 V.S.A. §1102;
- Municipal ordinance violations;
- Any matter within the jurisdiction of a game warden or deputy game warden as set forth in 10 V.S.A. chapter 103, subchapter 4 (game wardens)
- Any matter within the scope of practice of a Level I law enforcement officer.
- 7 VSA 657 Person Under 21 years of age procuring, possessing, or consuming alcoholic beverages; third or subsequent offense. -updated 8/15/2016
- 13 VSA 1026(a) Aggravated disorderly conduct. -updated 8/15/2016
- 13 VSA 7559(d),(e), and (f) Violating conditions of release. -updated 8/15/2016
- 20 VSA 3132 Fireworks prohibition. -updated 8/15/2016
3. Why isn’t DUI included in the list? Does this mean Level II officers will not be able to enforce DUI laws?
The statute lists only those offenses an officer can address immediately after receiving certification. The ability to enforce DUI laws requires additional training and certification, which is available to Level II officers
In addition to the above, the Level IIE certification includes the offenses specified below:
- 9 V.S.A. Chapter 82 Scrap Metal Processors Subsection 3023 (b) Penalties
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 3 Abortion
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 5 Adultery and Bigamy
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 13 Subsection 608 Assault and Robbery
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1024 Aggravated Assault
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1028 Assault on a law enforcement officer, fire fighter, emergency medical personnel member or health care worker to include assault with bodily fluids
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1028a Assault of correctional officer with bodily fluids
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1043 First degree aggravated domestic assault
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1044 Second degree aggravated domestic assault
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 19 Subsection 1063 Aggravated stalking
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 21 Bribery
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 23 Burglary
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 25 Subsection 1301 Contributing to the delinquency of a minor
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 25 Subsection 1311 Unlawful sheltering; aiding a runaway child
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 28 Abuse, Neglect and Exploitation of Vulnerable Adults
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 29 Conspiracy
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 31 Discrimination
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 37 Explosives, all except Subsection 1601 and 1602
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 39 Extortion and Threats
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 43 Forgery and Counterfeiting
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 56 Custodial Interference
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 57 Larceny and Embezzlement
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 59 Lewdness and Prostitution
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 63 Obscenity
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 65 Perjury
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 75 Treason
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 76 Weapons of Mass Destruction
- 13 V.S.A. Chapter 87 Computer Crimes
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 29 Offenses Against Public Health
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 82 Labeling of Food and Drugs
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4228 Unlawful Manufacture, Distribution, Dispensing or Sale of a Non-Controlled Drug or Substance
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4230(c) Marijuana Possession By a Person Under 21 Years of Age, Third or Subsequent Offense, Crime
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Marijuana Possession By a Person Under 16 Years of Age, Delinquency
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4231 (b) Cocaine Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4232(b) LSD Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4233(b) Heroin Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4234(b) Depressant, Stimulant and Narcotic Drugs Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4234a(b) Methamphetamine Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4235(c) Hallucinogenic Drugs Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4235a(b) Ecstasy Selling or Dispensing
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4236 Manufacture or Cultivation
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 84 Subsection 4237 Selling or Dispensing to a Minor; Selling on School Grounds
- 18 V.S.A. Chapter 85 Sub-Chapter 3 Miscellaneous Subsection 4250 Penalties of Dispensing or Selling Regulated Drugs in a Dwelling
To be eligible for IIE certification, the officer must:
- Be non-provisionally Level II certified as of July 1, 2015
- Have a minimum of three years experience
- Have worked at least 3000 hours since July 1, 2010
- Have worked primarily in criminal and motor vehicle investigations
- The agency head must endorse and apply for Level IIE for the officer, and be able to provide documentation that the officer meets the criteria
Specific Level III authority allows officers certified at Level II or Level IIE to investigate some offense currently only allowed for Level III certified officers. This authority can be granted only to those officers holding Level II certification prior to July 1, 2015, under the following conditions:
- The officer has a defined and documented expertise in a particular skill
- The waiver application must be made by the agency head or his/her designee
- The agency must have a clearly defined department need for the waiver to enable assignment to a specialized duty position (drug task force, special investigation unit, etc)
The waiver application for specific Level III authority must include a resume documenting a defined expertise in a particular skill, including the number of years of experience, the work history involving the offense(s) for which the waiver is requested, and relevant training.
H.105 contains the following language that applies to both Level I and Level II:
(iii) Not withstanding the limitations set forth in subdivisions (i) and (ii) of this subdivision (B), a Level [I or II] officer may respond to calls regarding alleged crimes in progress and may react in the following circumstances if the officer determines that it is necessary to do any of the following:
- (I) protect an individual in the presence of the officer from the imminent infliction of serious bodily injury;
- (II) provide immediate assistance to an individual who has suffered or is threatened with serious bodily injury;
- (III) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a crime in the presence of the officer; or
- (IV) detain or arrest an individual who the officer reasonably believes has committed a felony under Vermont law
9. Q. What is the officer’s obligation if he/she discovers that an incident involves any offenses outside their scope of authority?
The officer can respond to calls outside the scope of their authority, as allowed above, but must call upon an officer certified to assume law enforcement authority over the incident. This also applies if the officer is responding to what was originally believed to be within his/her scope of authority but turns out to be outside it.