Correctional Officers Bill of Rights Heard in Judiciary Committee
Bill gives correctional officers equal discipline procedure as peace officers
St. Paul, Minn. – A bill to give county correctional officers the same rights during disciplinary hearings as local peace officers was heard in the Senate Judiciary Committee on Friday. The bill, SF 1413, is chief authored by Senator Karla Bigham (DFL-Cottage Grove) to ensure correctional officers can have all of the information they need to defend themselves during the disciplinary process.
“While our correctional officers play a major role in law enforcement, they currently lack some of the same rights that other law enforcement officials have during the disciplinary process,” said Senator Bigham. “The correctional officers bill of rights provides necessary parity that gives them equal rights to their defense.”
Currently, licensed peace offices have access to the nature of complaints made against them, having a union representative present during the investigation, and a complete record of sessions when a formal statement is taken. County correctional officers do not have these rights.
The bill creates a local corrections discipline procedures act and provides county and local correctional officers with the same rights during disciplinary proceedings as county and local peace officers. It dictates when and where formal statement may be taken, includes the definition of an actionable complaint, allows witness statements to be given to the correctional officer involved with the discipline procedure, maintains a record of proceedings, and allows for union representation at proceedings.
About Senator Karla Bigham
Karla Bigham is a state senator who represents Cottage Grove, Hastings, South St. Paul, St. Paul Park, Newport, Afton and neighboring townships. She is a member of the following committees: Environment and Natural Resources Finance; Veterans and Military Affairs Finance and Policy; and Human Services Reform Finance and Policy.