General Provisions

Section 21-P:4

    21-P:4 Duties of Commissioner. –
In addition to the powers, duties, and functions otherwise vested by law, including but not limited to those enumerated in RSA 21-G:9, the commissioner of the department of safety shall:
I. Represent the public interest in the administration of the department of safety and be responsible to the governor, the general court, and the public for such administration.
II. Require the director of the division of administration, in consultation with the commissioner of administrative services and the treasurer, to provide for a system of accounts and reports in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles, which will insure the integrity and lawful use of all revenues collected by the department, the use of which is restricted by state or federal law.
III. Have authority to adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, necessary to assure the continuation or granting of federal funds or other assistance not otherwise provided for by law.
IV. Have discretion to grant to highway enforcement officers within his department certain police powers as follows:
(a) Power to serve criminal and habitual offender process, make arrests, and enforce all criminal laws and motor vehicle laws and rules of the state.
(b) Power to inspect motor vehicles transporting hazardous materials in accordance with RSA 21-P:17.
(c) Power to enforce the provisions of RSA 375-A and 376.
V. Have discretion to grant to the state fire marshal and any deputy fire marshal or fire investigator within the division of public safety the authority to detain and make arrests as a peace officer pursuant to RSA 594, to serve criminal processes, to enforce the rules adopted under RSA 153:4-a and RSA 153:5, and to enforce RSA 154:7-a in order to promote the efficient discharge of such persons' lawful duties. Except for fire investigators under RSA 154:7-a, the commissioner shall assure in granting the authority provided in this paragraph that any person so designated has received appropriate law enforcement training through a program approved by the police standards and training council. Whenever persons authorized as peace officers under this paragraph are involved in the investigation of felonies or cases involving death due to fires, or whenever an arrest is to be made, such persons shall as soon as practicable notify a law enforcement agency having jurisdiction in the geographical area where the arrest or investigation is to take place.
VI. Have the discretion to grant to bingo and lucky 7 inspectors within the lottery commission certain limited police powers as follows:
(a) Power to serve criminal process.
(b) Power to make arrests for violations of RSA 287-E or any other laws or rules governing bingo and lucky 7 and to enforce and make arrests for violations of any criminal laws which they uncover incident to their enforcement of the bingo and lucky 7 law.
(c) Power to inspect premises that conduct bingo or lucky 7 or any records pertaining to bingo or lucky 7.
VII. Have the discretion to grant authority to issue a citation for violations of fire safety rules adopted under RSA 153:4-a, RSA 153:5, and RSA 160-C and to unlicensed persons who perform actions that require a license under RSA 153:28, RSA 153:29-a, or RSA 329-A to the state fire marshal or his or her designee, or to any fire chief, fire investigator, fire inspector or fire prevention officer who meets the qualifications established pursuant to RSA 21-P:14, II(s). A citation for violations under this paragraph shall carry the penalty set forth under RSA 153:24. A building official or code enforcement officer may also be granted authority under RSA 21-P:14, II(s) to issue a citation to any unlicensed person who performs actions requiring a license under RSA 153:28, RSA 153:29-a, or RSA 329-A.
VIII. Have the discretion to grant authority to act as an appropriate law enforcement authority for service of orders under RSA 153:14 to the state fire marshal or his designee.
IX. Have the authority to cooperate with other states in the exchange of information, on a reciprocal basis, relative to law enforcement matters; including but not limited to, motor vehicle violations involving alcohol or drug-related offenses, criminal matters, missing persons, stolen motor vehicles, and other police-related information. The commissioner shall make such information obtained from other states available to the law enforcement community.
X. [Repealed.]
XI. Have the discretion to grant to police officers of the state office complex police force such titles, ranks, and police powers as the commissioner deems necessary including the power of arrest for violations of the criminal and motor vehicle laws and the power to serve criminal process, and may limit such powers as deemed necessary. They shall have general police powers on the state office campus and New Hampshire hospital grounds and when attempting to apprehend a person who has committed a crime on the campus or escaped from the hospital, and when acting to transport a patient to or from the hospital, the court, or another mental health facility, or when acting to transport to or from a police station or correctional facility.
XII. Establish an easily accessible mechanism for citizens to file complaints with the department relating to on-board diagnostic system testing required by RSA 266:59-b. The complaint mechanism shall include either a telephone number reserved exclusively for such complaints or an Internet site for such complaints that may be accessed through links prominently displayed on Internet sites operated by the department or the state.
XIII. Establish a program to waive the repair requirements of the OBD II testing program. Waivers shall be granted based on indigency or other urgent financial need. The waiver program required by this paragraph shall be consistent with the recommendations of the OBD II testing advisory committee established in RSA 266:59-b, VII and shall be implemented no later than February 1, 2007.
XIV. Have authority, on behalf of the state of New Hampshire:
(a) To participate in the Uniform Carrier Registration System as authorized by section 4305 of the federal Unified Carrier Registration Act of 2005, 49 U.S.C. section 14504a, as amended.
(b) To enter into a multistate agreement or federal program for the purpose of administering the Uniform Carrier Registration Act of 2005, 49 U.S.C. section 14504a, as amended.
(c) To administer the Unified Carrier Registration System of 2005, 49 U.S.C. section 14504a, as amended.
(d) To adopt rules, under RSA 541-A, as are necessary for the proper administration and enforcement of this paragraph. Such rules may include, without limitation, rules establishing registration fees and other fees sufficient to cover the direct and indirect costs of administration and enforcement of this section. All fees collected under this section shall be deposited into the highway fund to promote motor carrier safety programs and enforcement, and to administer costs associated with the administration of the Unified Carrier Registration System.
XV. [Repealed.]
XVI. Implement the state highway safety program as provided in RSA 21-P:55 through RSA 21-P:63.
XVII. (a) Have discretion to grant to security officers assigned to protect one or more department facilities and grounds such powers as the commissioner deems necessary to quell disturbances, including the power to detain, for up to 2 hours, persons who are creating a disturbance or whom they have reasonable grounds to believe have committed any offense under the laws of the state. In this paragraph, a "disturbance" means behavior or actions that disrupt the orderly conduct of business in a department facility, including bitter exchanges, vulgarities, or abusive, offensive, or insulting comments that impede the orderly disposition of an administrative due process hearing, and any acts of violence or intimidation.
(b) A security officer who has detained a person shall, as soon as practicable, surrender the person to a state trooper, deputy sheriff, or local police officer having jurisdiction in the geographical area where the detention occurred. Any detention shall be accomplished in a reasonable manner and shall not exceed 2 hours.
(c) Each security officer employed on or after the effective date of this paragraph shall be required to pass a criminal history check, a background investigation, and a psychological evaluation approved by the commissioner, a physical examination by a licensed physician at the department's expense, and an initial training program approved by the commissioner and annual refresher training. The security officer shall serve a one-year term, at the pleasure of the commissioner, and shall be issued such equipment and weapons as the commissioner designates, subsequent to formal training in their usage and periodic retraining. The security officer shall serve in business attire with a suitable badge or other identification or in a distinctive uniform, as determined by the commissioner.
(d) A security officer shall submit a written report regarding any detention, use of physical force, or taking into custody of any person to the commissioner, or the commissioner's designee, and to the division of state police. The division of state police shall be responsible for any court prosecution arising from such incident.

Source. 1987, 124:1; 356:1, 2. 1988, 84:1; 288:1, 14. 1992, 154:1. 2003, 319:84. 2004, 257:1, 49. 2005, 296:1. 2006, 222:1. 2007, 263:167. 2008, 25:1. 2009, 52:3. 2011, 74:1, eff. July 1, 2011; 210:1, eff. Jan. 1, 2012. 2013, 30:1, eff. May 16, 2013; 100:7, eff. Aug. 23, 2013. 2015, 176:1, eff. June 26, 2015; 276:127, 158, eff. July 1, 2015. 2016, 147:12, eff. July 1, 2016. 2017, 201:5, eff. Sept. 3, 2017. 2018, 234:1, eff. July 1, 2019. 2020, 37:86, eff. Sept. 27, 2020.