§7-14C-1. Definitions.

Unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, as used in this article:

(1) "Deputy sheriff" means any person appointed by a sheriff as his or her deputy whose primary duties as deputy are within the scope of active, general law enforcement and as such is authorized to carry deadly weapons, patrol the highways, perform police functions, make arrests or safeguard prisoners. This definition may not be construed to include any person or persons whose sole duties are the service of civil process and subpoenas as provided in section fourteen, article one, chapter fifty of this code, but the exclusion does not preclude the service of civil process or subpoenas by deputy sheriffs covered by the provisions of this code.

(2) "Under investigation" or "under interrogation" means any situation in which any deputy sheriff becomes the focus of inquiry regarding any matter which may result in punitive action.

(3) "Punitive action" means any action which may lead to dismissal, demotion, suspension, reduction in salary, written reprimand or transfer for purposes of punishment.

(4) "Hearing board" means a board which is authorized by the sheriff to hold a hearing on a complaint against a deputy sheriff and which consists of three members, all to be selected from deputy sheriffs within that agency, or law-enforcement officers or firefighters of another agency with the approval of the sheriff and who have had no part in the investigation or interrogation of the deputy sheriff under investigation. One of the members of the board shall be appointed by the sheriff, one shall be appointed by the deputy sheriff's association and these two members of the board shall, by mutual agreement, appoint the third member of the board: Provided, That if the first two members of the board fail to agree upon the appointment of the third member of the board within five days, they shall submit to the sheriff's civil service commission a list of four qualified candidates from which list the commission shall appoint the third member of the board: Provided, however, That in the event one or more members of the board cannot be appointed as otherwise provided in this section, then the chief judge of the circuit court of the county shall appoint a sufficient number of citizens of the county as may be necessary to constitute the board. At least one member of the hearing board shall be of the same rank as the deputy sheriff against whom the complaint has been filed.

(5) "Hearing" means any meeting in the course of an investigatory proceeding, other than an interrogation at which no testimony is taken under oath, conducted by a hearing board for the purpose of taking or inducing testimony or receiving evidence.