PORAC LDF Rolls Out Plan VI Coverage Details
As you are aware, the passing and subsequent signing into law of Senate Bill 2 (SB 2) in California brought about several big changes for peace officers to be aware of, not least of which being the establishment of a decertification procedure.
SB 2 amends Penal Code section 13503, which describes the powers of the Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST), and creates PC 13509.5 as the “Peace Officer Standards Accountability Division” (“Division”) which it describes in only general terms as “… staffed with a sufficient number of experienced and able employees that are capable” in handling decertification investigations, prosecutions, and administrative proceedings.
The new law also adds Penal Code section 13509.6 creating a “Peace Officer Standards Accountability Advisory Board” (“Board”), the principal purpose of which is to “make recommendations on the decertification” of peace officers to the POST Commission.
In response to the passage of SB 2 and the creation of the decertification procedure, the Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) has updated their Plan Document of the Legal Defense Fund (LDF). The changes to the structure, operation and benefits regarding the LDF is of major importance to you and your association.
In particular, PORAC has added an additional Plan VI to the LDF Plan Document regarding SB 2. So, what is Plan VI, and how will it affect you and your association?
- Plan VI will provide coverage for Decertification Proceedings
Under Benefit Plan VI, LDF will provide you and your association with legal representation in administrative proceedings regarding the revocation or suspension of a certification or license to serve as a peace officer in California. This includes an investigative proceeding initiated by POST or other licensing agency, and any proceedings before an advisory, first-level administrative or appellate administrative bodies by a Panel Attorney. The Plan Document specifically states that the coverage from a Panel Attorney must arise from any act or omission of the peace officer within the scope of his or her employment.
- There are key limitations to Plan VI coverage
One important factor to understand is that the LDF coverage under Plan VI does not extend to post-administrative hearing review, including judicial proceedings, such as a writ of mandate. However, the Plan Document states that Members will in fact be covered under all customary, necessary and reasonable services related to an action described in the approved coverage in Plan VI where it appears reasonably probable that such an action will be commenced.
- Specific Exclusions of Plan VI Coverage
If any facts, charges, allegations, or grounds have been finally determined or adjudicated in a separate legal proceeding, including a guilty plea or nolo contendre, Plan VI will not provide coverage for the Member. This means that there will be no Plan VI coverage for legal representation to contest facts, charges, allegations, or grounds for revocation or suspension that would decertify a peace officer.
It is important to remember that the deadline for enrollment in Plan VI is March 31, 2022 to get full retroactive coverage back to November 17, 2021. Any association who enrolls after will NOT get coverage for acts or events that occurred after November 17, 2021.
Goyette, Ruano & Thompson has decades of experience with representing peace officers and public safety personnel in California. The situation at hand is rapidly evolving, so please check back for updates and additional or subsequent posts regarding decertification and how it will impact you & your agency.
If you have any questions or comments, or are in need of representation, please contact Goyette, Ruano & Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (916) 851-1900.