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Mississippi Dep't of Pub. Safety v. Raybon

Court of Appeals of Mississippi

April 29, 2014

MISSISSIPPI DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC SAFETY, OFFICE OF STANDARDS AND TRAINING, APPELLANT
v.
OLAF R. RAYBON AND JAMES OLIVER HOLDEN, APPELLEES

Page 221

[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

Page 222

COURT FROM WHICH APPEALED: PEARL RIVER COUNTY CHANCERY COURT. DATE OF JUDGMENT: 11/21/2012. TRIAL JUDGE: HON. M. RONALD DOLEAC. TRIAL COURT REVERSED DECISION OF BOARD ON LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICER STANDARDS AND TRAINING DENYING APPELLEES CERTIFICATION AS FULL-TIME LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS.

FOR APPELLANT: OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL, BY: MALISSA W. WINFIELD.

FOR APPELLEES: NATHAN S. FARMER.

BEFORE LEE, C.J., BARNES AND ISHEE, JJ. LEE, C.J., IRVING AND GRIFFIS, P.JJ., ISHEE, ROBERTS AND MAXWELL, JJ., CONCUR. CARLTON, J., CONCURS IN RESULT ONLY WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. JAMES, J., CONCURS IN PART WITHOUT SEPARATE WRITTEN OPINION. FAIR, J., NOT PARTICIPATING.

OPINION

Page 223

NATURE OF THE CASE: CIVIL - STATE BOARDS AND AGENCIES

BARNES, J.

¶1. Officers Olaf Raybon and James Holden sought certification as full-time law enforcement officers with the Mississippi Board on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Training (Board) under Mississippi Code Annotated section 45-6-11(2)(b) (Rev. 2011). This statute stated, in pertinent part, that certified part-time officers " may" obtain certification, for a limited period of time, as a full-time law enforcement officers " without having to meet further requirements" of the Board, if they have twenty-five years of law enforcement experience. The Board unanimously denied Raybon's and Holden's applications. Accordingly, Raybon and Holden appealed to the Pearl River County Chancery Court,[1] which reversed the Board's decision, granting them full-time certification. The Board now appeals. Finding error with the chancery court's judgment, we reverse its decision and reinstate the Board's decision.

STATEMENT OF FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2. In 1981, the Mississippi Legislature enacted the Law Enforcement Officers Training Program (the Act) under Mississippi Code Annotated sections 45-6-1 through -19 (Rev. 2011). The Act established the Board and vested it with absolute authority to establish minimum standards for employment, training, and education of law enforcement officers. Miss. Code Ann. § § 45-6-5, -7. Under section 45-6-7(c), the Board has the authority to " [c]ertify persons as being qualified under the provisions of this chapter to be law enforcement officers or part-time law enforcement officers." [2]

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¶3. In 2009, State Senator Sid Albritton drafted Senate Bill 2803, which became codified as section 45-6-11(2)(b). The bill's title states it is an Act " to revise the qualifications to be designated as a law enforcement officer for part-time officers having a certain level of experience." That section provides:

Any person who has twenty-five (25) years of law enforcement experience, whether as a part-time, full-time, reserve or auxiliary officer, and who has received certification as a part-time officer, may be certified as a law enforcement officer as defined in Section 45-6-3(c) without having to meet further requirements. Application to the board to qualify under this paragraph shall be made no later than June 30, 2009.

Miss. Code Ann. § 45-6-11(2)(b) (emphasis added). The bill became law in April 2009, leaving approximately seventy-six days for officers to submit an application to the Board to qualify under this new subsection.

¶4. On July 16, 2009, at the regular meeting of the Board, it considered the timely applications of twenty part-time officers,[3] including Raybon and Holden. Senator Albritton personally appeared before the Board and explained that the legislation was originally designed for the narrow intent of certifying one part-time officer, Raybon, as a full-time law enforcement officer, so he could work as a school resource officer. At the time, Raybon had approximately forty-six years in law enforcement as a part-time officer.[4] Raybon needed full-time employment because he no longer had a side business. Previously, he had tried to become full-time certified, but the ...


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