Executive Order Extends POBRA Statute of Limitations by 60 Days

Peace officers from across the state were directly impacted by an executive order that was issued yesterday. On March 31, 2020, Governor Newsom signed Executive Order N-40-20. The headlines in the media focused on provisions of the executive order that provided relief and extensions on certain deadlines for small businesses. However, a critical aspect of the executive order was the 60-day extension on the Peace Officer Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA).

Under POBRA (Government Code sections §3300-3312), the statute of limitations for the completion of an investigation and notification to an employee of proposed disciplinary action is one year. Government Code §3304(d) specifically states:

“Except as provided in this subdivision and subdivision (g), no punitive action, nor denial of promotion on grounds other than merit, shall be undertaken for any act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct if the investigation of the allegation is not completed within one year of the public agency’s discovery by a person authorized to initiate an investigation of the allegation of an act, omission, or other misconduct. This one-year limitation period shall apply only if the act, omission, or other misconduct occurred on or after January 1, 1998. In the event that the public agency determines that discipline may be taken, it shall complete its investigation and notify the public safety officer of its proposed discipline by a Letter of Intent or Notice of Adverse Action articulating the discipline that year, except as provided in paragraph (2). The public agency shall not be required to impose the discipline within that one-year period.”

In the past, certain situations such as an ongoing criminal investigation or the safety of the officer involved were factors that could be used to potentially extend the deadline. However, by way of Executive Order N-40-20, the POBRA deadline is extended by 60 days:

“The deadline specified in Government Code section 3304(d) for opening and completing investigations of alleged misconduct by public safety officers is extended by 60 days.”

Goyette & Associates has decades of experience with labor and employment matters with respect to peace officers across California. The situation at hand is rapidly evolving, so please check back for updates and additional or subsequent posts on any POBRA issues.

If you have any questions or comments, or are in need of representation, please contact  Goyette & Associates at frontdesk@goyette-assoc.com or at (916) 851-1900.