Date:March 30, 2017
Among the many benefits bestowed on the brave men and women who honorably retire after serving behind the badge is the right to carry a concealed weapon in public. Owing to federal law, this right extends to every jurisdiction in the country, regardless of local law. This is a cherished right of these retired officers. However, a law enforcement agency may deny this right to an honorably retired officer for “good cause” (for example, psychological unfitness), with the officer having the right to demand a hearing and require a showing of “good cause.”
Recently, the Fourth District Court of Appeal was tasked with sorting out what it means to be “honorably retired.” (Bonome v. City of Riverside, E064925, decided March 24, 2017.)
In June 2012, Camillo Bonome, an officer with 17 years of service on the Riverside Police Department, handled a sexual abuse report. Three months later, Bonome suffered an on-duty back injury. In May 2013, an internal affairs investigation concluded that Bonome mishandled the sexual abuse matter and the police chief concluded that Bonome should be discharged from the Department. Discharge proceedings were immediately initiated. A month later, Bonome applied for an industrial disability retirement based on his on-duty back injury. That application was granted, Bonome retired in August 2013, and the discharge proceedings were abated. That same month, Bonome was notified that the department would not issue a concealed weapon permit (commonly referred to as a “CCW”) endorsement on his retirement badge because the Department did not consider him “honorably retired,” owing to fact that the discharge proceedings were pending when he sought the disability retirement. The chief later testified in a deposition that, had Bonome not been granted the disability retirement, he would have been discharged as discipline. Bonome brought suit in Riverside Superior Court to win the CCW endorsement, or, in the alternative, be provided a good cause hearing under Penal Code § 26310. After the court ruled in Bonome’s favor, the City appealed.
The appellate court had to determine whether Bonome was “honorably retired” within the contemplation of Penal Code § 16690, which provides: “[H]onorably retired includes any peace officer who has qualified for, and has accepted, a service or disability retirement. As used in those provisions, honorably retired does not include an officer who has agreed to a service retirement in lieu of termination.” The City asserted that Bonome agreed to a service retirement in lieu of termination, and therefore, was not “honorably discharged” and thereby not entitled to a CCW endorsement or a hearing.
The Court of Appeal disagreed with the City. It held that the statute’s terms are clear and plainly state that an officer who accepted a disability retirement is “honorably retired,” and that it excludes only an officer who accepts service retirement in lieu of termination. Bonome was found to be “disabled” and his retirement was granted on that basis. The statute did not permit any exceptions. The court directed that the City either issue the CCW endorsement or afford Bonome a good cause hearing.