Office of House Bill AnalysisH.B. 3320
By: Moreno, Joe E.
County Affairs


Currently, it is not uncommon for a county law enforcement officer
(officer) to be interrogated for alleged misconduct at the conclusion of a
shift.  In such cases, the officer is able to invoke the 48-hour rule,
which allows the officer to delay the interrogation for up to 48 hours
after the request and return accompanied by legal counsel, although the
officer must return on the officer's own time.  House Bill 3320 defines the
parameters for the investigation of a officer in counties with a population
of 2.8 million or more. 


It is the opinion of the Office of House Bill Analysis that this bill does
not expressly delegate any additional rulemaking authority to a state
officer, department, agency, or institution. 


House Bill 3320 amends the Local Government Code to authorize an
investigator to interrogate a county law enforcement officer (officer) who
is the subject of an investigation only during the officer's normally
assigned working hours unless the seriousness of the investigation as
determined by the sheriff or sheriff's designee requires interrogation at
another time, and the officer is compensated for the interrogation time on
an overtime basis.  The sheriff is prohibited from considering work time
missed from regular duties by an officer due to participation in the
conduct of an investigation in determining whether to impose a punitive
action or in determining the severity of a punitive action. 

The bill sets forth provisions regarding where an investigator is
prohibited from interrogating an officer and who may not serve as an
investigator.  The bill grants the subject of an investigation the right to
be informed of the investigators participating in the investigation and
sets forth provisions regarding the notice and conduct of an interrogation.

The bill prohibits an interrogation session of an officer who is the
subject of an investigation from being unreasonably long.  The bill
prohibits an investigator from threatening an officer with punitive action
during an interrogation.  However, an investigator is authorized to inform
an officer that failure to truthfully answer reasonable questions directly
related to the investigation or to fully cooperate in the conduct of the
investigation may result in punitive action.  The bill authorizes either
the investigator or the officer to record the interrogation if prior
notification of intent to record is given to the other party.   

The bill provides that if an investigation does not result in punitive
action against an officer other than a reprimand  recorded in writing or an
adverse finding or determination regarding that person, the reprimand,
finding, or determination is prohibited from being placed in that person's
personnel file unless the officer is first given an opportunity to read and
sign or refuses to sign the document.  The bill sets forth procedures for
an officer to respond to a reprimand, finding, or determination that is
placed in the person's personnel file.  The bill authorizes an officer who
receives a punitive action to appeal the action, and sets forth procedures
for responding to a punitive action. 

If the sheriff or any investigator violates any provision of the bill while
conducting an investigation,  the bill  requires the county to reverse any
punitive action taken based on the investigation and any information
obtained during the investigation is prohibited from being entered into
evidence in any proceeding against the officer.   

The provisions of the bill apply only to a county with a population of 2.8
million or more. 


September 1, 2001.