Warwick Mayor Promises Reform, Restitution After Firefighters’ Pay Issue

WARWICK, RI — Mayor Joseph J. Solomon was forced to scramble late last week when he wanted to examine a vacation benefit written into the firefighters’ union contract. He wondered if a benefit not approved by the City Council in 2015 had, nevertheless, found its way into the text of the contract. The version of […]

Police Applications Down Dramatically In Nashville

NASHVILLE, TN — The number of people applying to be police officers in Nashville has dropped by more than 50 percent since 2010. The Metro Police Department says the scrutiny officers receive keeps potential candidates from applying. “If a bad act happens or something controversial is caught on tape, it’s presented as ‘the police,’” said […]

Powerpoint Led Bremerton Mayor To Fire Fire Chief

BREMERTON — Mayor Greg Wheeler’s displeasure with Fire Chief David Schmitt came to a head over a PowerPoint presentation. Schmitt, the veteran chief who was spearheading a post-recession rehabilitation of the 60-member fire department, was prepping in October to go before the Bremerton City Council with several requests for funding, as well as to trumpet […]

Defect In Firefighter’s Pre-Disciplinary Letter Violates Due Process

On November 1, 2013, Paul Moss was at home and off duty from his employment with the Shelby County Fire Department in Tennessee. His wife was attending a political rally at an interstate overpass on Quince Road in Memphis. The rally consisted of, among other things, participants holding a banner calling for the impeachment of […]

Union President’s Evaluation, Transfer Found To Be Retaliatory

The City of Williamsport, Pennsylvania and Lodge 29 of the Fraternal Order of Police are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Lieutenant Steve Helm is the president of Lodge 29. When a captain completed Helm’s 2017 performance evaluation, he downgraded Helm on communications issues, citing Helm’s role as FOP president. For example, the captain wrote […]

Rape And The ‘Course And Scope Of Employment’

There are times when court decisions reach contrary results that are simply irreconcilable. And so it was in September 2018, when two neighboring courts reached opposite results in cases involving whether an employer could be civilly liable for sexual assaults committed on the job. One of the cases involved Milwaukee County Corrections Officer Xavier Thicklen. […]

Massachusetts Court Retrenches On Dishonesty Arbitration Decisions

Massachusetts courts have had a difficult time achieving consistency as to when an arbitrator’s opinion may be overturned because it violates “public policy.” The difficulties have particularly been evident in how the courts have dealt with arbitrators’ opinions involving the termination of police officers for dishonesty. In a 2005 decision involving Boston police, the Supreme […]

Garrity Is Not A ‘License To Commit Crimes’

Armando Noguiera was a Sheriff’s Officer with the Essex County Sheriff’s Office in New Jersey. On October 5, 2012, John Warnock, a fellow Essex County Sheriff’s Officer, allegedly restrained and threatened to sexually assault a woman. Warnock’s trial began in September 2014. Both the State and Warnock called Noguiera as a witness at trial. On […]

Pennsylvania Sorts Out Cancer Presumption, With Difficulty

In a decision that badly fractured its members, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has sorted out questions dealing with workers’ compensation claims by firefighters suffering from cancer. The case involved Philadelphia firefighter Scott Sladek. Prior to his service as a firefighter, Sladek had not been treated for cancer and he passed a physical examination confirming he […]

Whether Accommodation Is ‘Reasonable’ May Depend On CBA

Linda Faulkner, who is 56 years old, worked as a correctional officer for Douglas County, Nebraska. Per the County’s job description, officers are required to be able to control fights between inmates and to restrain combative inmates through use of necessary force at times. The physical requirements in the job description also provide that officers […]

Kentucky Sticks With ‘Firefighter’s Rule’

Like a cough that lingers long after the cold has fled, the “firefighter’s rule” remains a feature of the law decades after its theoretical underpinnings have been undermined. Under the “firefighter’s rule,” firefighters and law enforcement officers are prohibited from bringing many lawsuits against those whose negligence has injured them on the job. The original […]

What Due Process Rights Are Chiefs Owed, And When?

The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, not always known for the brevity of its decisions, has recently used a case involving the termination of Spokane Police Chief Frank Straub as the vehicle to succinctly describe whether chiefs are entitled to due process upon their termination, and if so, when. Due process rights come in […]

San Antonio Police Union Questions Lowering Of Hiring Standards

SAN ANTONIO, TX — Police union President Mike Helle believes the changes will have an effect on the quality of the men and women serving and protecting the Alamo City. “The person that you’re putting your faith and hands into can take someone’s life if they feel that it’s justified to do so. You need […]

N.Y. Fire Chief Is Removed Amid ‘Inappropriate Behavior’ Inquiry

The top uniformed officer of the New York City Fire Department was relieved of his duties on Thursday amid accusations of “inappropriate behavior” toward subordinates and co-workers, including the most senior woman at the agency. Chief James E. Leonard, a 39-year veteran of the department, was accused of bullying and screaming at several people at […]

Long Beach Police Officer Awarded $2.5 Million In Retaliation Case

LONG BEACH, CA — A jury awarded $2.5 million in damages to a Long Beach police officer who said he was subjected to retaliation after protesting how management responded to complaints by a recruit who did not want to be assigned to a high-crime area. Lawrence Alexander said he once supervised a large group of […]

Police Launch Criminal Probe Into Detroit Fire Union Head Over Social Media Posts

Detroit, MI — Police have launched a criminal investigation into allegations that the city’s fire union head outed homicide witnesses on social media, potentially endangering them. Police Chief James Craig confirmed the investigation Thursday afternoon during a news conference, saying the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office will determine whether Detroit Fire Fighter Association President Mike Nevin […]