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Union Entitled To Materials In Member’s Disciplinary File

Corrections officers working for the State of New York Department of Corrections are represented by the New York State Correctional Officers and Police Benevolent Association. The Department began a disciplinary investigation into Sergeant Erik Rakoff, who worked at Sullivan Correctional Facility. The investigation centered around an incident where an inmate was injured during an escort that Raykoff supervised. When the Department issued a discipline notice to Raykoff, the Association…

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NJ Supreme Court Upholds AG’s Order Requiring Disclosure Of Police Disciplinary Files

In June 2020, the Attorney General for New Jersey issued two directives. The directives called for the release of the names of law enforcement officers who commit disciplinary violations that result in the imposition of major discipline – termination, demotion, or a suspension of more than five days. The directives required that a summary of the misconduct and the sanction imposed should be disclosed. One directive applied to all…

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Release Of Disciplinary Records Does Not Violate Constitution

Responding to the police reform movement, New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced in June that he would end New Jersey’s decades-long practice of shielding the identities of law enforcement officers receiving major discipline for misconduct. Believing he could best improve the public’s trust in state and local police by instilling greater accountability in the processes that govern officer misconduct, the Attorney General issued Law Enforcement Directive Numbers 2020-5…

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Discipline Settlement Agreement Not A Public Record

A New Jersey group calling itself Libertarians for Transparent Government obtained minutes of the March 12, 2018 Cumberland County Board Meeting of the Police and Fireman’s Retirement System (PFRS), reflecting the Board’s consideration of an application for special retirement by Tyrone Ellis, a corrections officer employed by the County at its correctional facility. The minutes stated that Ellis had been proposed for termination for conduct unbecoming following an internal…

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When Does An Employer Have To Disclose Disciplinary Files?

The City of Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Milwaukee Police Supervisors’ Organization are parties to a collective bargaining agreement covering sergeants. On May 1, 2019, a police sergeant received written notice from the Department that he would be interviewed on May 14, 2019 as part of an internal investigation concerning his alleged negligent driving. The notice advised the sergeant that “disciplinary action may result.” A criminal investigation as to the…

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Public Records Law Prevails Over Purging Clause In Contract

Since January 1981, the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7, have been parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Section 8.4 of the CBA calls for the purging from employee disciplinary files of materials “five (5) years after the date of the incident or the date upon which the violation is discovered, whichever is longer.” The City destroyed records subject to Section 8.4…

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Discipline Outside Of Statutory Time Frames Is ‘An Absolute Nullity’

Kevin Pozzo was a police officer with the New Orleans Police Department. On December 11, 2015, Pozzo and his then-fiancé, Melanie Wilson, who shared a residence, were drinking alcoholic beverages at home, and continued to drink afterward at an acquaintance’s party. Pozzo became upset when he observed Wilson talking with other men. After Pozzo confronted one of the men, Pozzo and Wilson were asked to leave the party. They…

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Destruction Of Disciplinary Records Violates Public Policy

In 2011 and 2012, Lodge 7 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents officers in the Chicago Police Department, filed grievances seeking the destruction of disciplinary records older than five years. Section 8.4 of the Lodge’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA) provides that “all disciplinary investigation files, disciplinary history card entries, Independent Police Review Authority and Internal Affairs Division disciplinary records, and any other disciplinary record or summary of…

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