HELENA – The Montana Public Safety Officer Standards and Training Council, or POST, certifies every public safety officer in the state of Montana.
But what happens when a public safety officer finds themselves in legal trouble?
First, each law enforcement agency conducts an internal investigation when an issue arises with an officer.
POST executive director Perry Johnson said the agency will report the public safety officer to POST if they feel the certificate has been compromised.
Johnson said that is the starting point for the investigation.
“We look at the results of their own investigation and then we do some of our own investigations too," Johnson said. "We may go back and interview the same witnesses that they did. We may review the same audio and video evidence that they had."
The findings will then be brought to the POST Case Status Committee for review. The Committee will make a recommendation regarding the next step.
"We have reviewed allegations where we have taken no action at all. We can impose probation. We can sanction a certificate by suspending it for a period of time that includes the revocation of the certificate,” Johnson said.
Johnson said they provide due process to every officer who has an allegation made against them.
What is POST? According to the Montana Department of Justice website:
The Council was formed in 2007 under 2-15-2029, MCA as an independent Quasi-judicial board. And as allowed by statute the Council adopted Administrative Rules in order to implement the provisions of Title 44, chapter 4, part 4, MCA.
Per 44-4-403, MCA the Council is required to set employment and training standards for all Public Safety Officers as defined in 44-4-401, MCA and in addition the Council shall provide for the certification or recertification of public safety officers and for the suspension or revocation of certification of public safety officers.