5502.14 Enforcement agent.

(A) As used in this section, "felony" has the same meaning as in section 109.511 of the Revised Code.

(B)

(1) Any person who is employed by the department of public safety and designated by the director of public safety to enforce Title XLIII of the Revised Code, the rules adopted under it, and the laws and rules regulating the use of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits shall be known as an enforcement agent. The employment by the department of public safety and the designation by the director of public safety of a person as an enforcement agent shall be subject to division (D) of this section. An enforcement agent has the authority vested in peace officers pursuant to section 2935.03 of the Revised Code to keep the peace, to enforce all applicable laws and rules on any retail liquor permit premises, or on any other premises of public or private property, where a violation of Title XLIII of the Revised Code or any rule adopted under it is occurring, and to enforce all laws and rules governing the use of supplemental nutrition assistance program benefits, women, infants, and children's coupons, electronically transferred benefits, or any other access device that is used alone or in conjunction with another access device to obtain payments, allotments, benefits, money, goods, or other things of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds, pursuant to the supplemental nutrition assistance program established under the Food and Nutrition Act of 2008 (7 U.S.C. 2011 et seq.) or any supplemental food program administered by any department of this state pursuant to the "Child Nutrition Act of 1966," 80 Stat. 885, 42 U.S.C.A. 1786 . Enforcement agents, in enforcing compliance with the laws and rules described in this division, may keep the peace and make arrests for violations of those laws and rules.

(2) In addition to the authority conferred by division (B)(1) of this section, an enforcement agent also may execute search warrants and seize and take into custody any contraband, as defined in section 2901.01 of the Revised Code, or any property that is otherwise necessary for evidentiary purposes related to any violations of the laws or rules described in division (B)(1) of this section. An enforcement agent may enter public or private premises where activity alleged to violate the laws or rules described in division (B)(1) of this section is occurring.

(3) Enforcement agents who are on, immediately adjacent to, or across from retail liquor permit premises and who are performing investigative duties relating to that premises, enforcement agents who are on premises that are not liquor permit premises but on which a violation of Title XLIII of the Revised Code or any rule adopted under it allegedly is occurring, and enforcement agents who view a suspected violation of Title XLIII of the Revised Code, of a rule adopted under it, or of another law or rule described in division (B)(1) of this section have the authority to enforce the laws and rules described in division (B)(1) of this section, authority to enforce any section in Title XXIX of the Revised Code or any other section of the Revised Code listed in section 5502.13 of the Revised Code if they witness a violation of the section under any of the circumstances described in this division, and authority to make arrests for violations of the laws and rules described in division (B)(1) of this section and violations of any of those sections.

(4) The jurisdiction of an enforcement agent under division (B) of this section shall be concurrent with that of the peace officers of the county, township, or municipal corporation in which the violation occurs.

(C) Enforcement agents of the department of public safety who are engaged in the enforcement of the laws and rules described in division (B)(1) of this section may carry concealed weapons when conducting undercover investigations pursuant to their authority as law enforcement officers and while acting within the scope of their authority pursuant to this chapter.

(D)

(1) The department of public safety shall not employ, and the director of public safety shall not designate, a person as an enforcement agent on a permanent basis, on a temporary basis, for a probationary term, or on other than a permanent basis if the person previously has been convicted of or has pleaded guilty to a felony.

(2)

(a) The department of public safety shall terminate the employment of a person who is designated as an enforcement agent and who does either of the following:

(i) Pleads guilty to a felony;

(ii) Pleads guilty to a misdemeanor pursuant to a negotiated plea agreement as provided in division (D) of section 2929.43 of the Revised Code in which the enforcement agent agrees to surrender the certificate awarded to that agent under section 109.77 of the Revised Code.

(b) The department shall suspend the employment of a person who is designated as an enforcement agent if the person is convicted, after trial, of a felony. If the enforcement agent files an appeal from that conviction and the conviction is upheld by the highest court to which the appeal is taken or if no timely appeal is filed, the department shall terminate the employment of that agent. If the enforcement agent files an appeal that results in that agent's acquittal of the felony or conviction of a misdemeanor, or in the dismissal of the felony charge against the agent, the department shall reinstate the agent. An enforcement agent who is reinstated under division (D)(2)(b) of this section shall not receive any back pay unless the conviction of that agent of the felony was reversed on appeal, or the felony charge was dismissed, because the court found insufficient evidence to convict the agent of the felony.

(3) Division (D) of this section does not apply regarding an offense that was committed prior to January 1, 1997.

(4) The suspension or termination of the employment of a person designated as an enforcement agent under division (D)(2) of this section shall be in accordance with Chapter 119. of the Revised Code.

Amended by 128th General AssemblyFile No.9, HB 1, §101.01, eff. 10/16/2009.

Effective Date: 01-01-2004