California Police Chief- Fall 2013 CPCA_2019_Spring Magazine- FINAL - Page 8

LEGAL POBRA’S FORGOTTEN COUSIN: Government Code Section 3508.1 Affecting Civilian Police Employees By James R. Touchstone, Esq. and Jamaar M. Boyd-Weatherby, Esq. Almost every law enforcement agency in California is intimately aware of the duties and the obligations imposed by the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (“POBRA”). However, many agencies are not aware that POBRA has a little known cousin - Government Code section 3508.1. Section 3508.1 provides POBRA-like rights to police civilian employees. Located in collective bargaining statutes associat- ed with the Meyers- Milias- Brown Act, Section 3508.1 provides a number of rights to civilian employees that were taken directly from POBRA. Section 3508.1 states that the term “‘police employee’ includes the civilian employees of the police department of any city.” Based upon this broad definition, it arguably would include everyone from clerical employees to non-sworn jailers. Due to the relative anonymity of this code sec- tion, there have not been any cases that specifically address the proper interpretation of Section 3508.1. Similar to provisions of POBRA, Section 3508.1 provides in subdivision (a): “With respect to any police employee, except as provided in this subdivision and subdivision (d), no punitive action, nor denial of promotion on grounds other than merit, shall be undertaken for any act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct if the investigation of the allegation is not completed within one year of the public agency’s discovery by a person authorized to initiate an investigation of the allegation of an act, omission, or other misconduct.” Section 3508.1 also has the same tolling periods as POBRA. As such, the one- year limitations period is tolled in the following situations: 8 California Police Chief | 1 2 3 4 If the act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct is also the subject of a criminal investigation or criminal prosecution. If the police employee waives the one-year time period in writing. If the investigation is a multijurisdictional investigation that requires a reasonable extension for coordination of the involved agencies. If the investigation involves more than one employee and requires a reasonable extension.