Despite Troubling Rise In Suicides, CPD Falling Short On Getting Help For Officers, Inspector General Finds

Carrie Steiner still remembers the day in 2009 when a Chicago police officer called and told her he had a gun in his lap and wanted to kill himself. A Chicago cop herself who got a doctorate in psychology while working on the force, Steiner said she encouraged the officer to seek help from the department’s counseling staff. He had just left them, he told her, and didn’t believe…

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Redmond Terminates Orders Requiring COVID Vaccines For Firefighters

Redmond firefighters and paramedics will no longer be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to work in the Eastside city. The firefighters who lost their jobs for not complying with the state’s 2021 coronavirus vaccine mandate won’t be getting their jobs back as a result, however. The city says the former firefighters have the option to apply for a job, regardless of their vaccination status — but currently there are no…

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Worcester Police Union, Seeking Delay, Says Body Cameras A Contract Issue

The police union began Tuesday’s City Council meeting by requesting that the body camera program be delayed until the completion of contract negotiations.  “Our union is in support of the body camera program,” Rick Cipro, president of the police union, said during public comment. “But one thing we have been clear and consistent on is this program is a change of working conditions…a bargaining issue.” Continue reading at www.telegram.com

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Former Firefighter Helps First Responders Deal With Professional Trauma

The tough situations firefighters deal with on a regular basis can leave permanent scars that a former firefighter is hoping to heal.  Zach Maddox spent seven years as a firefighter answering the call and saving people at the worst points of their lives. The sleep deprivation, stress and what he saw every day on the job, he said, eventually became too much. Continue reading at www.fox13news.com

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Sergeant Has Privacy Interest In Dropbox Account Created With Employer’s Email

This article appears in the February 2023 issue of our monthly newsletter, Public Safety Labor News, and is a follow-up to the June 2022 article Qualified Immunity Shields Employer From Liability For Illegal Dropbox Search (for subscribers only). Steven Bowers was a detective sergeant for the Taylor County Sher­iff’s Department in Wisconsin. In February 2017, the Department was working with the television program Cold Justice on a homicide cold…

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Firefighter Schedule Change Illegal Discrimination

Anthony Copeland, a former firefighter of 26 years, was elected mayor of the City of East Chicago, Indiana in 2010. Shortly after he was elected, Copeland implemented certain cost-cutting measures to address the City’s deficit. One such effort was freezing the salaries and benefits of East Chicago firefighters, including abolishing terminal leave, freezing longevity pay and grade pay, and eliminating the payout of leave banks for firefighters hired after…

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Union Fails To Timely Demand To Bargain Over Pension Changes

Deputy sheriffs in Orange County in California are represented by the Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs (AOCDS). The Orange County Employees Retirement System (OCERS) provides retirement benefits for AOCDS members. The County makes employer pension contributions to OCERS and collects employee pension contributions from AOCDS bargaining unit members and remits those funds to OCERS. Under OCERS, a retiree’s pension benefit is calculated using a formula based in part…

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No Religious Freedom Exception To Photographs In Uniform

Thomas Swartz was a firefighter working for the Bourne Fire Department in Massachusetts. All members of the Department had an identification card as well as an accountability tag. Both featured a picture of the firefighter. The photographs on the identification cards and accountability tags were inconsistent – some firefighters wore t-shirts in their photographs while others wore ties. In 2016, the Chief, seeking consis­tency among the photographs on the…

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Council Member’s Comments Do Not Establish Bias

Steve Jones was a supervisor for the paramedic program within the City of Loma Linda’s Fire Department in California. In January 2014, one of the employees who Jones supervised punched a patient. The employee told Jones about punching the patient. Jones failed to report the incident and when the incident came to light, Jones was dishonest in claiming not to know about the violence. The City accused Jones of…

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Sergeant Has Privacy Interest In Dropbox Account Created With Employer’s Email

This is a follow-up to the article Qualified Immunity Shields Employer From Liability For Illegal Dropbox Search in the June 2022 issue of Public Safety Labor News. Steven Bowers was a detective sergeant for the Taylor County Sher­iff’s Department in Wisconsin. In February 2017, the Department was working with the television program Cold Justice on a homicide cold case (Murder 1). The Department agreed to provide information to Cold…

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Failure To Discipline Officer Belies Employer’s Claim Of ‘Immediate Threat To Public’

When the Town of Kingston, Massachusetts lost an arbitration decision and was ordered to reinstate a member of the Kingston Police Superior Officers Union, the Town challenged the decision in the Massa­chusetts Court of Appeals. In a brief, three-page decision, the Court rejected the Town’s arguments. The Court began by accepting the Town’s basic argument that “as a general matter, the potential for immediate danger to the public from…

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PTSD Caused By Shooting, Not Gradual Stress

William Marx was employed by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Depart­ment for 21 years and was a member of the SWAT team during the last ten years of his employment. In August 2018, Marx was involved in a shooting with an armed suspect who was barricaded inside the bathroom of an apartment for about 14 hours. Police officers and nego­tiators repeatedly contacted the suspect by telephone, attempting to get…

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Officer Loses Job To Facebook Post

Shaina Kirkland served as a patrol officer with the City of Maryville’s po­lice department in Tennessee. While in that role, Kirkland periodically used her Facebook account to criticize the County Sheriff. Kirkland’s supervisors became concerned that her posts would under­mine the Department’s relationship with their sister law enforcement agency, so they asked her to stop. They also reprimanded her for other behavioral issues. Matters came to a head following…

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Firefighter’s Case Illustrates Difference Between Summary Judgment And Motions To Dismiss

At times in Public Safety Labor News, we’ll write about a case involving a motion for “summary judgment” or a “motion to dismiss.” A case involving Delaware firefighter Hiram Whatley gives us a great platform to describe the difference between the two motions. Whatley was a Wilmington firefight­er for more than two decades. In June 2019, he injured his back in a training exercise. This injury kept him out…

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Officer’s T-Shirt Was Racially Insensitive But Not Overtly Racist

Jeffrey Layman is a police officer in Peoria, Illinois. On January 10, 2018, the City received a complaint from a local pastor about social media posts made by Layman. One post showed a photo on social of Layman wearing a t-shirt with the word “POLICE” on it, under which were the letters “BDRT” and then the phrase “Baby Daddy Re­moval Team.” The complainant found the posts “derogatory and concerning…

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Two North Providence Police Union Officials Accused Of Embezzling Union Funds

Two North Providence police union officials are facing charges that they embezzled union funds. A secret grand jury indictment unsealed Tuesday charged recently retired North Providence Police Lt. Dennis Stone with three counts of embezzlement related to Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 13 money and six counts of filing a false tax report that excluded work he did at Twin Oaks, both dating back to 2014, according to court records. Continue…

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Daytona Beach Sees Success In Attracting More Police Officer Recruits With Higher Pay

The Daytona Beach Police Department (DBPD) has cut its officer openings from 41 to just 17. They even started four new officers this week.  “We are not nearly having the problems that we had before attracting great candidates,” said Mayor Derrick Henry.  DBPD’s strategy of enticing officers with a starting salary of just over $50,000 a year is working. The city bumped DBPD pay this summer $3 an hour…

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State Of Pittsburgh Policing? ‘Abysmal’ Staffing, Union Tells City Council

Pittsburgh City Council called in top leaders from Mayor Ed Gainey’s administration and the police union for a public meeting to talk about the “state of policing.” Police union officials are making it clear that they consider city police staffing levels are “abysmal.” “Right now, there is absolutely no way you can have a St. Patrick’s Day Parade, a marathon or any other event in this city without improving…

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Pennsylvania Takes Steps To Ease Volunteer Firefighter Crisis

As Pennsylvania’s volunteer firefighters dwindle, lawmakers hope to reverse the trend. States nationwide struggle to recruit and retain volunteers, while simultaneously investing time and money into training required to keep up with stringent regulations. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, volunteers account for 96.8 percent of firefighters in Pennsylvania – the third highest percentage in the country. The national average is 70.2 percent. Continue reading at www.broadandliberty.com

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Chattanooga Settles With 14 Reassigned Police Officers After Allegations Of Untruthfulness

The city of Chattanooga has settled with 14 Chattanooga police officers who were reassigned after allegations of untruthfulness or misrepresentations, Chattanooga Mayor Tim Kelly’s office announced Wednesday. “In the course of raising department standards for officer truthfulness, several process and legal concerns were raised by affected employees asserting that related reassignment and personnel changes were out of compliance with existing department policy,” the news release said. “This issue was complex and took…

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Largest US Firefighter Union Announces Legal Action Over ‘Forever Chemicals’ In PPE

Cancer is the number one killer of firefighters, with career-related cancers causing more than 60% of firefighter deaths, according to the International Association of Firefighters (IAFF), the largest firefighters’ union in the nation. In a news conference Monday, IAFF said the cancers are caused by toxic chemicals called PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals,” that coat many products. Those products include “turnouts,” the protective gear worn by firefighters. “We need to…

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San Diego Repeals Controversial COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For City Workers

SAN DIEGO —   San Diego has repealed a controversial COVID-19 vaccine mandate for city workers that had led to multiple lawsuits, the firings of 14 employees and resignations by more than 130 police officers. City officials said drops in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations in recent months prompted the repeal, which the City Council approved unanimously Tuesday. Continue reading at www.sandiegouniontribune.com

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Black Firefighters Who Sued Jacksonville For Requiring Them To Shave Lost Case

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Black firefighters who sued Jacksonville for grooming standards that could help them manage a common skin problem have lost their case, a federal judge has ruled. The firefighters went to court in 2020 arguing the fire department was wrongly burdening Black firefighters by requiring them to be cleanshaven even if they had a condition called pseudofolliculitis barbae, or PFB, which can involve ingrown hairs, irritated skin and scarring. Continue…

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Officers Concerned After FBI Asks About Police Union, Unanswered Questions Remain

Past actions involving the Police Association of Falls Township (PAFT) have been scrutinized by investigators over the past three years, multiple sources and documents provided to LevittownNow.com confirmed. The investigation has caused discord and upheaval inside the union and among the ranks of one of Bucks County’s largest police departments. It also has been made public in lawsuits filed in county court. Continue reading at www.levittownnow.com.

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‘They’ll Keep Leaving,’ Retired Nevada State Police Colonel Sounds Alarm Over Trooper Crisis

LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — A lack of funding and resources has created a public emergency on Nevada’s roads, retired Nevada State Police Col. Anne Carpenter said in a one-on-one interview Tuesday. Carpenter, a longtime public servant, became the first woman to head Nevada Highway Patrol in October 2020. She served until November 2021. Highway patrol changed its name to Nevada State Police Highway Patrol last year. Continue reading at…

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