California Government Code Section 3253
Legal Research Home >
California Laws > Government Code > California Government Code Section 3253
3253. When any firefighter is under investigation and subjected to
interrogation by his or her commanding officer, or any other member
designated by the employing department or licensing or certifying
agency, that could lead to punitive action, the interrogation shall
be conducted under the following conditions:
(a) The interrogation shall be conducted at a reasonable hour, at
a time when the firefighter is on duty, unless an imminent threat to
the safety of the public requires otherwise. If the interrogation
does occur during off-duty time of the firefighter being
interrogated, the firefighter shall be compensated for any off-duty
time in accordance with regular department procedures. The
firefighter's compensation shall not be reduced as a result of any
work missed while being interrogated.
(b) The firefighter under investigation shall be informed, prior
to the interrogation, of the rank, name, and command of the officer
or other person in charge of the interrogation, the interrogating
officer, and all other persons to be present during the
interrogation. All questions directed to the firefighter under
interrogation shall be asked by and through no more than two
interrogators at one time.
(c) The firefighter under investigation shall be informed of the
nature of the investigation prior to any interrogation.
(d) The interrogating session shall be for a reasonable period
taking into consideration the gravity and complexity of the issue
being investigated. The person under interrogation shall be allowed
reasonable breaks to attend to his or her own personal physical
(e) (1) The firefighter under interrogation shall not be subjected
to offensive language or threatened with punitive action. A promise
of reward shall not be made as an inducement to answering any
question. The employer shall provide to, and obtain from, an employee
a formal grant of immunity from criminal prosecution, in writing,
before the employee may be compelled to respond to incriminating
questions in an interrogation. Subject to that grant of immunity, a
firefighter refusing to respond to questions or submit to
interrogations shall be informed that the failure to answer questions
directly related to the investigation or interrogation may result in
(2) The employer shall not cause the firefighter under
interrogation to be subjected to visits by the press or news media
without his or her express written consent free of duress, and the
firefighter's photograph, home address, telephone number, or other
contact information shall not be given to the press or news media
without his or her express written consent.
(f) A statement made during interrogation by a firefighter under
duress, coercion, or threat of punitive action shall not be
admissible in any subsequent judicial proceeding, subject to the
(1) This subdivision shall not limit the use of statements
otherwise made by a firefighter when the employing fire department is
seeking civil service sanctions against any firefighter, including
disciplinary action brought under Section 19572.
(2) This subdivision shall not prevent the admissibility of
statements otherwise made by the firefighter under interrogation in
any civil action, including administrative actions, brought by that
firefighter, or that firefighter's exclusive representative, arising
out of a disciplinary action.
(g) The complete interrogation of a firefighter may be recorded.
If a recording is made of the interrogation, the firefighter shall
have access to the recording if any further proceedings are
contemplated or prior to any further interrogation at a subsequent
time. The firefighter shall be entitled to a transcribed copy of any
notes made by a stenographer or to any reports or complaints made by
investigators or other persons, except those portions that are
otherwise required by law to be kept confidential. Notes or reports
that are deemed to be confidential shall not be entered in the
firefighter's personnel file. The firefighter being interrogated
shall have the right to bring his or her own recording device and
record any and all aspects of the interrogation.
(h) If, prior to or during the interrogation of a firefighter, it
is contemplated that he or she may be charged with a criminal
offense, he or she shall be immediately informed of his or her
(i) Upon the filing of a formal written statement of charges, or
whenever an interrogation focuses on matters that may result in
punitive action against any firefighter, that firefighter, at his or
her request, shall have the right to be represented by a
representative of his or her choice who may be present at all times
during the interrogation. The representative shall not be a person
subject to the same investigation. The representative shall not be
required to disclose, or be subject to any punitive action for
refusing to disclose, any information received from the firefighter
under investigation for noncriminal matters.
This section shall not be construed to apply to counseling,
instruction, or informal verbal admonishment by, or other routine or
unplanned contact with, a supervisor or any other firefighter.
(j) A firefighter shall not be loaned or temporarily reassigned to
a location or duty assignment if a firefighter in his or her
department would not normally be sent to that location or would not
normally be given that duty assignment under similar circumstances.
Speak with a Lawyer in California
Last modified: October 1, 2013