False Use of Law Enforcement Term in Name of Nongovernmental Organization – Penal Code Section 146c
A person may be charged with a misdemeanor for naming a nongovernmental agency in such a manner that the name infers that its membership is comprised largely of police or fire personnel. You may be charged with a misdemeanor if you use the terms “peace officer, “police,” or “law enforcement” in the name of an organization where less than 80% of the voting members are current or retired police officers or firefighters.
You may also be convicted of a misdemeanor if, while knowing that the improperly named organization contains less than 80% firefighters or police officers, you do the following:
- Solicit a person to become a member of the organization
- Make a contribution to such an organization;
- Subscribe to, or advertise in a publication of the organization;
- Sell or give away any bade, pin, membership card, or other article indicating membership in the organization
Commentary: This article is for information purposes only. You should consult with an attorney if you are considering naming a nongovernmental organization with any designation that gives any hint of an affiliation with law enforcement.