§ 1953. Peace Officer Background Investigation.
11 CA ADC § 1953Barclays Official California Code of RegulationsEffective: January 1, 2024
Effective: January 1, 2024
11 CCR § 1953
§ 1953. Peace Officer Background Investigation.
Every peace officer candidate shall be the subject of a thorough background investigation to verify good moral character [Government Code section 1031(d)] and the absence of past behavior indicative of unsuitability to perform the duties of a peace officer, including any acts requiring denial of employment pursuant to the California Law Enforcement Accountability Reform (CLEAR) Act (Penal Code section 13680, et seq.).
The background and personal history sections of the Bias Assessment Framework [Commission Regulation 1955(d)(3)] and the entire set of POST Background Investigation Dimensions (Dimensions), herein incorporated by reference, described in the POST Background Investigation Manual -- Guidelines for the Investigator (2022) -- Integrity, Impulse Control/Attention to Safety, Substance Abuse and Other Risk-Taking Behavior, Stress Tolerance, Confronting and Overcoming Problems, Obstacles, and Adversity, Conscientiousness, Interpersonal Skills, Decision-Making and Judgment, Learning Ability, and Communication Skills - shall be considered in the conduct of every peace officer background investigation. The manual provides guidance in conducting background investigations. The use of the manual is discretionary, with the exception of the Dimensions and the relevant sections of the Bias Assessment Framework.
(1) Every peace officer candidate shall complete, sign, and date a personal history statement at the onset of the background investigation. A personal history statement can be either the Personal History Statement -- Peace Officer, POST 2-251 (1/2023) or until June 30, 2024, an alternative personal history statement.
(B) Proof of employment eligibility is prescribed by Section 274a.2 of Title 8 of the Code of Federal Regulations, specifically USCIS Form I-9 -- Employment Eligibility Verification Form. Documentation must include either a completed Form I-9 verifying the employer has examined documents as identified in the List of Acceptable Documents, or any document(s) required for completion of the Form I-9. Documents shall be original, certified copies, or copies that include a notation by the investigator that the originals or certified copies were reviewed.
(A) Every peace officer candidate shall be minimally 21 years of age on or before the date of appointment as a peace officer. Peace officers appointed under section 830.1(c) of the Penal Code must be a minimum of 18 years of age on or before the date of appointment. (Government Code section 1031.4).
Every peace officer candidate shall be the subject of criminal and other records searches at the local, state, and national levels to determine legal eligibility for peace officer employment [Government Code sections 1029, 1030 and 1031(c)], eligibility to carry a firearm [Penal Code section 29805; U.S. Code Title 18, section 922(d)(9)], and to assess moral character [Government Code section 1031(d)].
(A) Local searches shall include inquiries with local law enforcement departments where the candidate has lived, worked, attended school, or frequently visited. Proof of local searches shall be documented by a letter or other written documentation from each department contacted. If a contacted department does not provide written documentation, the request for information shall be noted.
(B) A state search shall include forwarding the candidate's fingerprints to the California Department of Justice (DOJ) to establish the candidate's legal eligibility for employment (Government Code section 1029) and eligibility to possess a firearm [Penal Code section 29805; U.S. Code Title 18 section 922(d)(9)]. Proof of a state search shall be documentation issued by the DOJ consisting of an official clearance return and an authorization to possess and carry firearms. The authorization shall be relevant to the peace officer position and shall have been generated no more than one year prior to the date of employment.
(C) A national search shall include forwarding the candidate's fingerprints to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Proof of a national search shall consist of an official clearance from the FBI. The clearance shall be relevant to the peace officer position and shall have been generated no more than one year prior to the date of employment.
Any accreditation or approval required by this subdivision shall be from a state or local government educational agency using state or local government approved accreditation, licensing, registration, or other approval standards, a regional accrediting association, an accrediting association recognized by the Secretary of the United States Department of Education, an accrediting association holding full membership in the National Council for Private School Accreditation (NCPSA), an organization holding full membership in AdvancED or Cognia, an organization holding full membership in the Council for American Private Education (CAPE), or an accrediting association recognized by the National Federation of Nonpublic School State Accrediting Associations (NFNSSAA).
(B) Proof shall consist of an official transcript or other means of verifying satisfactory completion of educational requirements deemed acceptable by POST. The document shall be an original, a certified copy, or a copy that includes a notation by the investigator that the original or certified copy was reviewed.
(A) Every peace officer candidate shall be the subject of reference checks through contacts and interviews with relatives, including former spouses, and personal references listed on the candidate's personal history statement. Additional references (e.g., secondary references), provided by the initial contacts, shall also be contacted and interviewed to determine whether the candidate has exhibited behavior incompatible with the position sought. Sufficient information shall be collected and reviewed to determine candidate suitability.
(B) Proof of reference checks shall be documented by written information showing that relatives and personal references identified by the candidate and additional references provided by the initial contacts (e.g., secondary references) were interviewed. Documentation shall include the identity of each individual contacted, if the contact is an initial or secondary reference, the contact's relationship to the candidate, and an account of the information provided by the contact. All requests for information shall be documented.
(A) Every peace officer candidate who indicates one or more marriage dissolutions on the personal history statement shall have his/her court issued dissolution documents and legal separation decrees reviewed as an indication of personal integrity, financial responsibility, and other relevant aspects of candidate suitability.
(B) Proof of a military history check shall consist of written verification of Selective Service registration, except for women or any man born prior to January 1, 1960. For any candidate who indicates military history on the personal history statement, proof shall consist of an official copy of their DD-214 long form or equivalent documentation of foreign military service, if available.
(A) Every peace officer candidate shall be the subject of a social media search for statements, postings, and/or endorsements made by the candidate that are relevant to suitability for peace officer employment, including bias-relevant information consistent with the requirements of Commission Regulation 1955(d)(3) and any public expression of hate made in an online forum, as defined in Penal Code section 13680(g)(1). Social media may include, but not be limited to, social networking sites, online forums, blogs, and video sharing platforms. Searches must be conducted in compliance with state and federal laws.
(B) Proof shall consist of documentation verifying a social media search was conducted which, at a minimum, shall include written documentation of websites searched and/or services used, including webpage URLs and findings. When there is evidence of activity relevant to peace officer suitability, documentation shall consist of screenshots, printouts, website links, and/or other documentation verifying the information and shall be limited to that which is relevant to suitability for peace officer employment.
(B) At the discretion of the hiring authority, if an interim police chief was initially investigated by a California POST participating department in accordance with all current requirements and the background file has been determined compliant by POST, an updated background investigation, as opposed to a complete new background investigation, may be conducted provided the following three conditions are met:
2. For candidates transferring, without a separation, to a different department within the same city, county, state, or district per subsection 1953(f)(1)(A)2., or interim chiefs who meet the requirements of subsection 1953(f)(1)(B), the new background investigation shall cover the period since the date the previous background investigation was completed.
(C) Any area of investigation for which there is updated information shall be addressed in the updated background investigation. This shall minimally include a new: 1) Local Criminal Record Check, 2) State and National Criminal Check, unless there is written attestation that the candidate was never removed from the department's peace officer files of the DOJ or FBI, 3) Driving Record Check, and 4) Credit Record Check.
The background investigator shall summarize the background investigation results in a narrative report that includes sufficient information for the reviewing authority to extend, as appropriate, a conditional offer of employment. The report shall include sections that summarize relevant Background Investigation Dimensions and any findings of behaviors, traits and/or attributes that may be relevant to bias per the Bias Assessment Framework [subsection 1953(b)], including whether the candidate has engaged or is engaging in membership in a hate group, participation in any hate group activity or advocacy of public expressions of hate, per Penal Code section 13680, et seq. The report shall identify the data sources reviewed for the findings, regardless of weight given.
The report shall include narrative information in order of, and consistent with, the required areas of investigation [subsection 1953(e)] using the following headings:
The report, along with all supporting documentation obtained during the course of the background investigation, including relevant documentation of bias-related findings and documentation obtained through the social media search [subsection 1953(e)(12)], shall be included in the candidate's background investigation file. The supporting documents shall be originals or true, current and accurate copies as attested to by the background investigator. The background investigation file shall be made available during POST compliance inspections.
The background narrative report and supporting documentation shall be retained in the individual's background investigation file for as long as the individual remains in the department's employ. Additional record retention requirements are described in Government Code section 12946.
The narrative report and any other relevant background information [subsection 1953(g)(1)] shall be shared with the psychological evaluator [Commission Regulation 1955(e)(3)]. This information shall also be shared with others involved in the hiring process, such as screening physicians, if it is relevant to their respective evaluations.
This information must be furnished to those conducting background investigations of peace officer candidates on behalf of other law enforcement departments except as specifically provided by statute (Government Code section 1031.1, Government Code section 6250 et seq, Labor Code section 1050, Labor Code section 1054, O'Shea v. General Telephone Co. (1987) 193 Cal. App 3d 1040). This information shall only be utilized for investigative leads and the information shall be independently verified by the prospective department to determine the suitability of the peace officer candidate.
Note: Authority cited: Sections 1029, 1030, 1031, 1031.2, 1031.3 and 1031.4, Government Code; and Sections 13503, 13506 and 13510, Penal Code. Reference: Sections 1029, 1030, 1031, 1031.2, 1031.3 and 1031.4, Government Code; Section 12500, Vehicle Code; Sections 13510, 13680, 13681, 13682, 13683 and 29805, Penal Code; and Title 18 Section 922(d)(9), US Code.
1. Change without regulatory effect renumbering former section 9053 to new section 1953, including amendment of section and Note, filed 11-26-2012 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2012, No. 48).
2. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (d) filed 12-9-2015 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2015, No. 50).
3. Change without regulatory effect amending subsections (e)(5)(A)2. and (e)(5)(A)4. filed 1-27-2016 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2016, No. 5).
4. Amendment of subsections (c) and (g)(3) filed 2-24-2016; operative 4-1-2016 (Register 2016, No. 9).
5. Amendment of subsections (f)(1)(A)1.-2. and (f)(2)(B)2. filed 10-31-2016; operative 1-1-2017 (Register 2016, No. 45).
6. Amendment of subsections (b) and (c) and new subsections (f)(1)(B)-(f)(1)(B)3. filed 2-27-2018; operative 4-1-2018 (Register 2018, No. 9).
7. Amendment of subsection (f)(2)(B)2. filed 10-24-2018; operative 1-1-2019 (Register 2018, No. 43).
8. Amendment of subsections (f)(1)(A)1., (f)(2)(A), (f)(2)(B)1.-2. and (g)(3) filed 10-15-2021; operative 1-1-2022 (Register 2021, No. 42). Filing deadline specified in Government Code section 11349.3(a) extended 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-40-20 and an additional 60 calendar days pursuant to Executive Order N-71-20.
9. Change without regulatory effect amending subsections (e)(2)(A) and (e)(3), adopting subsections (e)(3)(D), (e)(6)(B) and (f)(2)(D), relettering subsections and amending Note filed 12-30-2021 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations; operative 1-1-2022 (Register 2021, No. 53).
10. New subsection (a)(1) filed 5-24-2022; operative 7-1-2022 (Register 2022, No. 21).
11. Amendment of subsections (b), (e)(1)(A), (e)(5)(A)4. and (e)(7)(A)-(B), new subsections (e)(12)-(e)(12)(B), amendment of subsections (g)(1) and (g)(3) and amendment of Note filed 7-18-2022; operative 8-1-2022 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2022, No. 29).
12. Redesignation and amendment of portions of subsection (c) as new subsections (c)(1)-(c)(2)J., new subsection (c)(3), amendment of subsection (d)(1), new subsections (g)(2)-(g)(2)(B) and subsection renumbering filed 11-3-2022; operative 1-1-2023 (Register 2022, No. 44).
13. Change without regulatory effect amending subsection (a), repealing subsection (e)(1)(B), relettering subsections, amending subsection (e)(5)(A)4. and amending Note filed 1-4-2023 pursuant to section 100, title 1, California Code of Regulations (Register 2023, No. 1).
14. Amendment of subsections (e)(7) and (g)(1) filed 6-8-2023; operative 10-1-2023 (Register 2023, No. 23).
15. Amendment of subsections (e)(1)-(e)(1)(B), (e)(2)(A)-(B), (e)(12)(A), (g)(1) and (g)(2)(B) filed 8-29-2023; operative 8-29-2023 pursuant to Government Code section 11343.4(b)(3) (Register 2023, No. 35).
16. Amendment of subsection (c)(1), new subsection (c)(4) and amendment of Note filed 9-11-2023; operative 1-1-2024 (Register 2023, No. 37).
This database is current through 11/24/23 Register 2023, No. 47.
Cal. Admin. Code tit. 11, § 1953, 11 CA ADC § 1953
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