North carolina criminal justice training and standards

He then returned the report to Mr. Cranford received diplomas indicating successful completion of the course. Nearly two and one-half years later, in mid-April , Ms. Georgia Lea, then Director of the Commission, notified Ms. Cranford of the denial of their certification.

Both petitioners appealed the decision and requested an administrative hearing pursuant to Chapter B of the North Carolina General Statutes. Melott ALJ recommended on 18 October that petitioners be certified. In his proposal Judge Melott concluded that both petitioners met all requirements for certification. The Commission rejected the recommendation and denied both petitioners' applications for certification.

The Commission concluded, in orders filed 3 May that both petitioners had not satisfied the minimum training requirements set forth in the North Carolina Administrative Code and that Mr. Cranford had not satisfactorily completed a commission-accredited basic training course within one year of his probationary appointment as deputy sheriff. Both petitioners appealed the final agency decision to the Superior Court of Forsyth County. Booker reversed the Commission, concluding 1 that the petitioners had passed the minimum training requirements and satisfactorily completed a commission-accredited basic training course within one year of their probationary appointments as deputy sheriffs; 2 that any influence by Mr.

Rector resulting in the changing of the post-delivery report which was initially based on the evaluation by the instructors was an improper procedure; and 3 that the Commission's decision not to certify the petitioners because of their handicap, despite their instructors' positive evaluation, was arbitrary and capricious. In an order on 21 July , Judge Booker ordered the Commission to issue certifications to the Commission, effective 15 January Pursuant to N.

On appeal, the Commission brings forward four major arguments. The Commission first contends that the trial court exceeded its authority by making findings of fact which were not contained in either the ALJ's proposal for decision or the final agency decision. In its next three arguments, the Commission contends the trial court erred by concluding 1 that petitioners met minimum requirements, 2 that petitioners were not certified because they were handicapped, and 3 that the Commission's decision was arbitrary and capricious.

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Before addressing the Commission's arguments, we first summarize the rules applicable to judicial review of final agency decisions. Pertinent to this proceeding, subsection b provides:. In reviewing the agency's decision, the superior court applies the "whole record" test, which requires the examination of all competent evidence to determine if the administrative agency's decision is supported by substantial evidence.

Henderson v. Dep't of Human Resources, 91 N. Substantial evidence is "such relevant evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion" and "is more than a scintilla or a permissible inference.

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Dep't of Human Resources, N. In its role as an appellate court, the superior court reviews the agency's decision but is not allowed to replace the agency's judgment with its own when there are two reasonably conflicting views, even though the court could have reached a different result upon de novo review. Thompson v. Wake County Bd. Upon determining that the agency's decision is not supported by substantial evidence, the superior court may make additional findings of fact in order to show the insubstantiality of the evidence relied upon by the agency.

See Star Automobile Co. Saab-Scania of America, Inc. The whole record test is also applied when determining whether a decision is arbitrary and capricious. Brooks, Comm'r. Rebarco, Inc. Rate Bureau, N. We now turn to the issues presented in this case. In , N. Code tit.

Section r. To satisfy the minimum training requirements for certification as a law enforcement officer, a trainee shall:. In its final agency decision, the Commission concluded that both petitioners failed to satisfy the minimum training requirements set forth in subsections 2 , 3 , and 5 above. The Commission further concluded that Ms. Rector also failed to satisfy subsection 4. Finally, the Commission concluded that Mr. Cranford did not comply with N. The Commission's findings and conclusions were based primarily on the testimony of Mr. Rector's firearms scoring memorandum.

After reviewing the whole record, we agree with the superior court that the petitioners met all the pertinent and necessary requirements in all areas for certification. The Commission's decision not to certify the petitioners was not supported by substantial evidence and was arbitrary and capricious. We first scrutinize the testimony of Forsyth Tech Director Jones and the basis for his refusal to recommend certification of the petitioners.


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The Commission found that Mr. Jones did not "sit in on every class.

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Phipps and his own observation of Ms. Cranford at registration. The Commission further found that based upon the information available to him, Mr. Jones concluded that Ms. Cranford did not have the minimum degree of general attributes, knowledge, and skill to function as inexperienced law enforcement officers. The evidence shows that Mr. Jones received information concerning the course from Mr. Phipps, the assistant administrator of the course, but that he did not ask specifically about Ms. Phipps did not convey to Mr. Jones his opinion that the petitioners had not demonstrated proficiency in the motor-skill and performance subject areas and lacked the minimum degree of general attributes, knowledge, and skill to function as an inexperienced law enforcement officer until after Mr.

Jones initially sent in the post-delivery report. Even then, Mr. Jones testified that he did not rely on Mr. Phipps' opinion in making his determination on whether the petitioners had satisfied the five minimum training requirements. At the time Mr. Jones initially sent in the post-delivery report, the instructors' evaluations were his only source of information concerning the petitioners' actual performance in the course. The post-delivery report indicated that both petitioners had received scores of seventy percent or better in each area of testing.

Jones concerning the petitioners' inclusion on the post-delivery report, Mr.

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Jones did not question the competence of the instructors or whether the petitioners had actually passed the course. Specifically, he testified: "[A]nd I indicated to Mr.

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Rector that they had passed all of the requirements and we discussed what I should do and what my options were. Jones further testified that, after reviewing the scores, he had "mixed feelings" about recommending the petitioners for certification and "had to think about it. During this conversation, Mr. Rector expressed "concerns about the certification of Forsyth Technical College to continue to offer courses at Forsyth Tech," and that Forsyth Tech's accreditation eventually might be revoked if Mr.

Jones did not strike the petitioners from the list. According to Mr. Jones, he and Mr. Rector also "talked about bad recommendations or recommendations that could backfire on us later on in court suits and things like that. After the conversation with Mr. Cashwell testified that in this telephone conversation, Mr. Jones indicated to him that the petitioners had completed the course and that they did possess at least the minimum degree of general attributes, knowledge, and skill to function as an inexperienced law enforcement officer.

When asked whether Mr. Rector told him "either in written form or verbal form that it was in fact a Mr. Gary Rector who had instructed him to strike the names from this roster," Mr.

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Cashwell responded, "I believe we did discuss that. Cashwell also told Mr. Jones and Mr. Rector that inclusion of the petitioners on the report recommending certification could lead to the loss of Forsyth Tech's accreditation and the loss of certification of any instructor that had not performed correctly.

Despite his "mixed feelings" and recognition that the petitioners had passed the required course indicating the ability to competently function as an inexperienced law enforcement officer, upon the return of the report Mr.

Jones crossed out the names of the petitioners.