A bill to streamline the reciprocal process for law enforcement officers to be certified in Nebraska was advanced from the general docket on Feb. 25.
LB1241, introduced by Senator Steve Lathrop of Omaha, would make a number of changes to the current law enforcement reciprocity program. Among other provisions, the bill would change the reciprocity process for law enforcement officers certified in another state.
It would require a candidate to pass a physical fitness test and a reciprocity test approved by the Policing Standards Advisory Board. A candidate would also be required to have completed a training program equivalent to a Nebraska academy or to be actively engaged in the performance of the duties of a law enforcement officer.
A person seeking certification under the reciprocity process would not be permitted to exercise law enforcement authority until all requirements are met, but could serve as an uncertified conditional agent in under the bill.
LB1241 would also require reciprocity testing to be offered at least once a month and redefine a training academy as any facility operated by multiple agencies that provides certification training. In addition, the bill would remove the requirement for a law enforcement officer to complete continuing education within one year of retirement.
Lathrop said the bill would improve how Nebraska trains and certifies its law enforcement officers.
“If you’re trying to recruit an officer from out of state, the hurdles they have to go through to become certified law enforcement officers in Nebraska were unnecessary, and they hampered Nebraska agencies’ ability to recruit in out of state,” he said. .
The Judiciary Committee has proposed an amendment to the bill that would require the council to act on a request within 45 days after all requirements have been met. Additionally, the amendment would require the board to create a study guide for the program by July 1, 2022.
Bennington Senator Wendy DeBoer spoke in support of LB1241 and the amendment, which she said would be an important workforce development tool for the state.
“[The bill] would deal with law enforcement and making sure they have the best possible candidates to choose from when they have to choose which officers they’re going to recruit and making sure they’re able to retain these agents, not only in rural areas, but also in urban areas,” DeBoer said.
Senator Sterling Julie Slama also spoke in favor of the bill and the amendment, saying the proposal would incentivize rural police officers by giving them the resources and manpower to serve communities.
The amendment passed on a vote of 46-0 and LB1241 advanced from the general record 45-0.