CITY POLICE HAVE ARREST POWERS OUTSIDE OF CITY

QUESTION: “I am trying to ascertain whether or not a police officer of a 4th class city has the authority to make a speeding/traffic stop outside of city limits.”

LawReader Answer by Senior Editor Stan Billingsley – May 21, 2011

¬†Sorry, but the legislature has designated police officers of 1st through 5th. class cities as “deputy sheriffs”.

KRS 95.019(1) states that The chief of police and all members of the police force in cities of the first through fifth classes shall possess all of the common law and statutory powers of constables and sheriffs. They may exercise those powers, including the power of arrest for offenses against the state, anywhere in the county in which the city is located, but shall not be required to police any territory outside of the city limits.

Com. v. Bishop, 245 S.W.3d 733 (Ky., 2008)

On March 15, 2004, Detective Patrick Robinson of the Manchester City Police Department arrested Appellees Johnny Bishop and Christopher Sester for drug-related offenses at a residence located outside of the Manchester city limits but within Clay County, Kentucky. After the grand jury returned indictments against

[245 S.W.3d 734]

both men, Bishop filed a motion to dismiss, which Sester joined, arguing that the arrest was unlawful because it was effectuated by a Manchester city policeman and occurred outside of the Manchester city limits. Bishop based his argument on a 1987 Municipal Order that amended certain sections of the Manchester Personnel System, the pertinent amendment being that all Manchester city police were to remain within the city limits unless an emergency arose. Despite KRS 95.019, which gives city police county-wide arrest powers, the trial court agreed with Bishop, and on October 13, 2004, entered an order dismissing Bishop’s indictment because it was based on an unlawful arrest. The Court of Appeals affirmed and, upon the Commonwealth’s motion, this Court granted discretionary review. After reviewing the applicable law, we find that the 1987 Municipal Order, while valid, does not affect Manchester city police officers’ statutorily authorized county-wide arrest powers. Therefore, we reverse the Court of Appeals decision, reinstate the indictments against Bishop and Sester, and remand this case for further proceedings not inconsistent with this opinion.

Bishop argued that due to a municipal order enacted by the City of Manchester on April 20, 1987, Detective Robinson had no jurisdiction to arrest him outside of the Manchester city limits and thus, his arrest was unlawful. The 1987 Municipal Order on which Bishop relies was enacted to amend certain portions of Part 1, the Policies and Procedures section, of the Manchester Personnel System, which the city adopted on July 18, 1983. Bishop focused on Section 8.1(2) of the Personnel System’s Policies and Procedures, which the 1987 Municipal Order amended to include the provision that “[n]o city policeman or police car is to leave the Manchester City limits while on duty, unless an emergency arises.” Even though Bishop acknowledged that KRS 95.019 gives city police officers in fourth-class cities the same county-wide arrest powers as sheriffs, he argued that the City of Manchester nonetheless properly restricted that arrest power to its own geographical limits by enacting the 1987 Municipal Order. Thus, Bishop contended, his arrest by a Manchester city police officer outside of the city limits was invalid.

Neither party in this case disputes that KRS 95.019 and Kentucky case law give city police officers in fourth-class cities county-wide arrest powers. KRS 95.019(1) states that

The chief of police and all members of the police force in cities of the first through fifth classes shall possess all of the common law and statutory powers of constables and sheriffs. They may exercise those powers, including the power of arrest for offenses against the state, anywhere in the county in which the city is located, but shall not be required to police any territory outside of the city limits.

In Commonwealth v. Monson, 860 S.W.2d 272, 273 (Ky.1993), this Court interpreted KRS 95.740(1), which was repealed in 1994 and replaced with KRS 95.019, as clearly giving police officers of fourth-class cities the same county-wide arrest powers as sheriffs. Thus, with this matter not in contention, the main issue in this case is the validity of Manchester’s 1987 Municipal Order and its effect, if any, on the arrest powers conferred on city police officers in KRS 95.019.

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