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Sleeping Dispatcher Allowed Trial On Retaliation Claims

Denise Watkins, who is African-American, was a shift supervisor for the St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Office in Louisiana. She reported to Lieutenant Marshall Carmouche, who reported to Sheriff Michael Tregre. On January 30, 2018 Carmouche commended Watkins and three other dispatchers for superb work. He recognized Watkins’s performance in an email to Sheriff Tregre, explaining that teamwork in the 911 Department had led to an arrest. Just…

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Reinstatement Ordered For Fire Association President

Cliff Snider is a firefighter with the city of Pasadena, California. In 2009, and then again from 2011 forward, Snider was the president of the Pasadena Firefighters’ Association. In October 2014, Snider injured his back while trying to lift a patient during an emergency call. Although Snider initially felt well enough to remain on duty, he soon suffered a severe back spasm that required him to visit the emergency…

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Mass. Civil Service Has No Authority To Review Leave Forfeiture

Denise Doherty has been employed by the Massachusetts State Police Department for over 20 years. From 2007 to 2012, Doherty was assigned to the Department’s certification unit, which is responsible for providing licensing services for private security, or watch guard, companies. In October 2011, Doherty began an administrative inspection of a watch guard company referred to anonymously in later court opinions as the XYZ Watch Guard Company. Doherty reviewed…

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Suspensions, Not Demotion, Appropriate Punishment For Harassing Conduct

Jimmie Turner was a lieutenant with the New Orleans Police Department. In an October 17, 2018 disciplinary letter, the Department suspended and then demoted Turner to a police sergeant classification after finding that he violated Policy 328 entitled “Workplace Discriminatory Harassment/Retaliation.” The discipline arose from a complaint lodged by Sergeant Peter Hansche. At the time of the complaint, Turner was Hansche’s immediate supervisor in the Homicide Unit. Hansche, a…

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Non-Disciplinary Questioning Does Not Violate Bill Of Rights

Errol Cruz worked as a senior trooper for the Maryland State Police. In February 2018, his supervisor, Ser­geant Torres, noticed that “he could not verify Cruz’s location” using a GPS device installed in Cruz’s patrol car and discovered that he was not able to log into the GPS device through­out Cruz’s shifts. Such GPS devices are installed in all police vehicles to enable the State Police to identify the…

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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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Employer Cannot Alter Finalized Discipline Given Firefighters

Justin Chaplin, James Michels, and Frank Schonig are firefighters with the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection. In April 2014, they and four other candidates applied to be interviewed for three fire captain positions that had become available. Before the interviews, a battalion chief surreptitiously texted information to Chaplin, Michels and Schonig about the interview, including questions and desired responses. Without reporting that they had received this information,…

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Sergeants Not Severed From Rank-And-File Union

The Middlesex Sheriff’s Sergeants Association, FOP Lodge 59, filed a petition with New Jersey’s Public Employment Relations Commission to sever sergeants from the bargaining unit represented by Middlesex County Sheriff’s Superior Officers Association, PBA Local 165A. Since at least 1977, the PBA’s bargaining unit has included sergeants, lieutenants, and captains. When the PBA intervened in the proceedings, the matter ended up with PERC’s “representation director.” The Director dismissed the…

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Sexting With Minors And Stealing Firearms Result In Pension Forfeiture

Eric Reamy was a sergeant with the Glen Rock Police Department in New Jersey. From 2011 to 2015, Reamy wrongfully and without authorization sold four rifles and three handguns that he improperly removed from the Department’s evidence locker. In 2015, Reamy was the juvenile officer for the Department. He began sexting on his work cellphone with two juvenile females, R.K., who was then 17 and H.G., who was then…

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Promise Of No Discipline? No Weingarten Rights

The Fraternal Order of Transit Police (FOTP) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Mark Byrne had been a police officer at SEPTA for approximately two-and-a-half years when in December 2017, Byrne responded to a radio call concerning a man on a train station platform with four other SEPTA police officers. Byrne later described some sort of altercation, during which the officers…

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Arbitration Panel Rules In Favor Of Pre-Statement Review Of Video

The City of Newton, Massachusetts and the Newton Police Superior Officers Association Coalition of Police, Local 401 are parties to a collective bargaining agreement effective July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2014. In May 2014, the Parties began bargaining for a successor agreement but were unable to reach a settlement. Eventually the matter ended up before an interest arbitrator. A key issue in the arbitration dealt with video systems….

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Who Is ‘Similarly Situated’ For Disciplinary Purposes?

Morris Johnson was a trooper with the Ohio Department of Public Safety. Johnson pulled over a woman for a DUI, arrested her, and asked her out. A month later, he saw the same woman on the road and pulled her over without probable cause so he could talk to her. He asked her out again, told her he liked her, and asked her to go to the casino with…

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Reporting To Work On Time Essential To Firefighter’s Job

Darrell Hartwell worked as a firefighter/EMT for Naval Support Activity (NSA) Panama City for more than 16 years, until he was fired by Chief James Elston. For his entire career at the Department, Hartwell had trouble getting to work on time. The firefighters at NSA Panama City worked alternating 24-hour shifts starting at 7:00 AM. According to Chief Elston, Hartwell was late “almost every shift.” Until 2011, however, Hartwell…

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Favored Treatment To Fellow Officer Violates Ethics Statute

Edward McGovern is an Agawam, Massachusetts police lieutenant. On the evening of June 29, 2012, at about 9:15 p.m., the neighboring West Springfield Police Department received an anonymous 911 call reporting a wrong-way driver on Route 5 North. Three responding officers found Agawam Police Officer Danielle Petrangelo sitting on the guardrail next to the passenger side of an SUV, crying. The responding officers noticed damage on the passenger side…

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Officer’s Discipline For Text Message Upheld

On April 27, 2017, Cleveland Police Officer Sean Gorman received a call to go to a Cleveland strip club. He texted Officer Aaron Petitt to ask for help. The following exchange of messages ensued: “Gorman: Stop down to hustler apparently there are some middle eastern types giving people a hard time we are in route.Petitt: Packing up. Be there soon.Gorman: Take your time.Gorman: Sorry for bothering you SirPetitt: Never…

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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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Failure To Follow Through On Alcohol Treatment Legitimate Basis For Discipline

While working as an Omaha Police Department (OPD) officer, Jason Christensen sought leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) to get treatment for his alcoholism. He was granted FMLA leave in April 2015, until he exhausted his leave on or about July 18, 2015. Christensen sought voluntary inpatient alcohol treatment at Valley Hope of Omaha, an addiction treatment center, from April 26, 2015, through May 17, 2015….

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Permanent Inability To Return To Work Is Fatal

Isaiah Cardinale was an officer with the police department in Nutley Township, New Jersey. In December 2013, Cardinale submitted to a random drug test. Two days later, Cardinale admitted to using cocaine. The Department immediately suspended him pending the results of the test, and Cardinale successfully completed drug and alcohol treatment in Florida. In February 2014, the toxicology report demonstrated that he had tested positive for cocaine. The Department…

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Discharge Not Excessive For Off-Duty, Alcohol-Influenced Shots Fired At Another Deputy

Judith Diaz was a deputy sheriff with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On October 13, 2011, Diaz went out for drinks with a friend and fellow deputy, Stephanie Hile. The two were joined by a third deputy, Adrienne Myers. The three had drinks at two different locations until closing time. All three left in Hile’s car. According to Diaz, Myers was driving. Myers said that Hile was driving;…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Officer Who Installed Hidden Cameras

Officer Daniel Wagner works for the Aurora, Illinois Police Department. Wagner and his wife Lisa were divorced in July 2016. Wagner and Lisa have two children: a six-year-old daughter and a two-year-old son. During the divorce proceedings, Wagner lived in the marital home in Sugar Grove. Afterward, Lisa retained the property and Wagner moved out. However, Lisa permitted Wagner to have access to the home, to help with maintenance,…

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Anti-Union Animus, Not Profanity, True Basis For Firing

Teamsters Local 261 represents the corrections officers working for Lawrence County, Pennsylvania. Before being represented by Local 261, the bargaining unit was represented by the Laborers Union, which disclaimed interest in the bargaining unit on January 19, 2017, following expiration of the collective bargaining agreement on December 31, 2016. Corrections officer Kevin Boston was instrumental in the bargaining unit affiliating with Local 261 and served on Local 261’s bargaining…

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Officer Cannot Go Directly To Court, Must Exhaust Internal Appeals

In January 18, 2012, a fellow police officer informed the Bridgeton Police Department in New Jersey that Officer Robert Smith would be arriving at the police station to sell him anabolic steroids. When Smith arrived, the Department arrested him and charged him with several indictable crimes involving the possession and distribution of a controlled dangerous substance. When the City notified Smith that it intended to terminate him, Smith and…

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Hearsay Alone Cannot Justify Disciplinary Decision

Corey Corbo is a Union City, New Jersey police officer. An incident that resulted in Corbo’s termination began when police and emergency medical personnel responded to a residence in nearby Monroe Township. Monroe police officer Jamey DiGrazio later testified that medical personnel, who were upstairs in the residence performing CPR on an unconscious and intubated Corbo, told him that Corbo likely overdosed. DiGrazio went downstairs and engaged Corbo’s then-girlfriend,…

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Fire Captain Loses Beach Volleyball Case

Andre DeCohen, who is African-American, is a fire captain employed by Los Angeles County. On February 25, 2012, DeCohen was working an overtime shift at a different station. Tom Brady was another captain working the same shift. In the Department, firefighters, including captains, are required to participate in physical training for at least one hour per day. When DeCohen arrived at Fire Station 110 for his overtime shift, Brady…

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Revocation Of Corrections Certificate Not Automatic For Conviction For Lying

Shawn King was a corrections officer with the Oregon Department of Corrections (DOC). In 2009 or 2010, King’s brother and sister-in-law gave him their dog, Sophie. They told King that they would take Sophie back at any time if King could no longer care for her. In 2013, King took Sophie to the Payette City Police Department in Idaho, where King lived, and told a police officer that he…

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