Attorney General: T. William Knapp, Municipal Police Training Council, 1995-013 Formal Opinion, Attorney General of Connecticut

Attorney General's Opinion

Attorney General, Richard Blumenthal

April 4, 1995

T. William Knapp
Executive Director
Municipal Police Training Council
285 Preston Street
Meriden, CT 06450-4891

Dear Mr. Knapp:

You have requested our advice on whether first selectpersons who exercise criminal law enforcement powers must successfully complete the training requirements established by the Municipal Police Training Council ("MPTC") pursuant to Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d. Your letter asks four questions:

Does a first selectperson, by virtue of the designation of "chief executive officer" of the municipality in which he or she presides, have law enforcement powers? If the answer is "yes," is the person subject to the mandatory training requirements set by the Municipal Police Training Council?

Does a first selectperson, by virtue of a local ordinance or charter provision designating said person as the local "chief of police," have law enforcement powers? If the answer to this question is "yes," is the person subject to the mandatory training requirements set by the Municipal Police Training Council?

Unfortunately, we cannot answer your questions concerning the "law enforcement powers" conferred on first selectpersons by their municipalities. These questions involve legal issues regarding the organization of local governments which is a matter of local concern. See e.g. Shelton v. Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Protection, 193 Conn. 506, 521, 479 A.2d 208 (1984); and Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-148(c)(4).1 Questions regarding whether a municipality has, in fact and as a matter of law, bestowed law enforcement powers upon its chief executive officer or designated its chief executive officer the "Chief of Police" should be addressed and answered by the municipality's legal counsel. See Conn. Gen. Stat. 3-125; and 84 Conn. Op. Atty. Gen. 146, 148 (1984) (letter to Colonel Lester J. Forst, Commissioner, Department of Public Safety, April 5, 1985). Similarly, legal questions regarding the specific authority for and validity of the grant of law enforcement powers to, or the assumption of such powers by, the chief executive officer, should be addressed to the legal counsel for the municipality.

In considering your remaining questions, we undertake an analysis of the legal issues strictly from the standpoint of advising the MPTC as to its authority to impose mandatory training requirements on those individuals empowered to perform "police functions" as that term is used in Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d(e).2 Earlier, we advised you that persons who perform police functions, unless specifically exempted by statute, must successfully complete a basic training program as established by the MPTC. Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d; --- Conn. Op. Atty. Gen. --- (1993) (Letter to T. William Knapp, Executive Director, Municipal Police Training Council, September 21, 1993). We determined that a person performs police functions when he or she is required to do one or more of the following activities: the "(1) enforcement of criminal or traffic laws, (2) preservation of public order, (3) the protection of life or property, and (4) the prevention, detection or investigation of crime." Id, at 4.

The state has a broad public concern in assuring that those individuals who perform police functions within this state meet a minimum level of proficiency in the exercise of law enforcement powers by completing a basic training course as established by the MPTC under Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d et seq. Therefore, in answer to your second and fourth questions, if a first selectperson is empowered to perform police functions, then Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d(e) requires, that he or she successfully complete a basic training course as prescribed by the MPTC. However, as we stated in our 1993 opinion, all persons who exercise police functions need not receive the same training:

All persons exercising police functions in the State of Connecticut, however, are not required to receive the same training. The specific training requirements set forth in Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d are applicable only to "police officers" or "probationary candidates;" police officers who have not yet satisfied the MPTC training requirements. Persons falling outside the statutory definition of police officer or probationary candidate, who nonetheless perform police functions, are not subject to those specific requirements. Thus, the MPTC has the authority to formulate other appropriate training curricula for persons performing police functions as a prerequisite to their certification, depending on the statutory source of their appointment and the individual needs of their respective offices.

--- Conn. Op. Atty. Gen. --- (1993) (Letter to T. William Knapp, Executive Director, Municipal Police Training Counsel, September 21, 1993, p. 3., fn. 2).

Please do not hesitate to request further clarification should you require additional guidance.

Very truly yours,

Richard Blumenthal
Attorney General

Ronald E. Naves, Jr.
Assistant Attorney General

RB/ren


1 This statute states in relevant part:

Any municipality shall have the power to do any of the following, in addition to all powers granted to municipalities under the constitution and general statutes: ... (4) Public services. (A) Provide for police protection, regulate and prescribe the duties of the persons providing police protection with respect to criminal matters within the limits of the municipality and maintain and regulate a suitable place of detention within the limits of the municipality for the safekeeping of all persons arrested and awaiting trial and do all other things necessary or desirable for the policing of the municipality.

2 Conn. Gen. Stat. 7-294d(e) makes the Municipal Police Training Council provisions of the General Statutes applicable "to any person who performs police functions."


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