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Internal Complaints About Quota System Not Constitutionally Protected

Derek Cid was a police officer for Riley County, Kansas. Cid’s sergeant sent an email to the officers he supervised providing each officer’s arrest statistics. The sergeant’s email recognized that self-initiated stops and activity had increased, but he also warned officers that they had missed their DUI “goal” of 105 for two quarters in a row. Sergeant Bortnick told officers that they needed to “buckle down” to meet the…

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Fact Witness Cannot Also Conduct Internal Affairs Investigation

While on patrol, two Oakland, California police officers witnessed what appeared to be a drug transaction. A subsequent stop of one of the suspects gave the officers cause to detain the suspect and led to the recovery of cash and illegal drugs in the vicinity of the suspect. During his detention, the suspect claimed he did not feel well and the officers summoned medical support on his behalf. The…

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Q & A

From Montana Question: Can the County Attorney’s office legally maintain possession of an internal investigation file of a Deputy in which a district court judge deemed was not Brady material? Answer: Unless there’s something to the contrary in Montana state law or in the County’s ordinances and codes, we see no prohibition that would bar the County Attorney from holding onto the IA file. However, whether the County Attorney…

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Union Lacks Right To Record IA Interviews

Many peace officer bills of rights allow employee representatives to record disciplinary interviews. Even in the absence of a statutory bill of rights, a collective bargaining agreement can grant a labor organization the right to record interviews. But what if there is no statutory bill of rights, and the collective bargaining agreement is silent on the issue of recording? Is there some sort of recording right that springs out…

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Q & A

From Washington Question: Are you familiar with cases where IA investigator pre-interviews complainant for two hours before going on tape but makes no reference to the pre-interview or provides any notes on the pre-interview in the IA file? Answer: This is a practice that used to be fairly common, but by now has largely disappeared in the name of transparency of the IA process. We wouldn’t recommend it. From…

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Q & A

From Illinois Question: I represent (mostly unionized) police officers in Illinois and am dealing with Garrity situations on a daily basis. I represent one small organization of railway police officers who are organized under the National Railway Labor Act (RLA). This set of laws is often quite different from NLRB/IPLRA cases (including no ULP/Weingarten charge available). I ran into a situation yesterday where the Railway was unfamiliar with Garrity…

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Q & A

From Illinois Question: I represent (mostly unionized) police officers in Illinois and am dealing with Garrity situations on a daily basis. I represent one small organization of railway police officers who are organized under the National Railway Labor Act (RLA). This set of laws is often quite different from NLRB/IPLRA cases (including no ULP/Weingarten charge available). I ran into a situation yesterday where the Railway was unfamiliar with Garrity…

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County Ordered to Produce Audio Tapes of Officers’ IA Statements in Wrongful Death Case

In 2006, Suffolk County, New York police officers engaged in a high-speed pursuit of a DUI suspect. During the pursuit, the suspect crashed his vehicle into a house, killing William Calhoun. The Internal Affairs Bureau of the Suffolk County Police Department conducted an investigation into the incident. Brian Calhoun, as administrator of the Calhoun Estate, sued the Department for wrongful death. During the litigation, Calhoun requested the Department’s IA…

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No Remedy For Violation Of IA Non-Disclosure Law

Michigan has a statute, known as MCL 15.395, that provides that Garrity statements made by employees pursuant to an employer’s orders are “confidential communications.” As two former officers for the City of Portage Police Department learned, simply having protections under a statute doesn’t necessarily mean there is a remedy if those protections are violated. Officers Douglas Louis and James Myers were involved in internal affairs investigations, and gave compelled…

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The Interplay Between Garrity And Weingarten

In July 2009, the Internal Affairs Division (IAD) of the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP) was investigating allegations of misbehavior against a PSP member. As part of that investigation, IAD interviewed Corporal Edmund Fret. At the outset of the interview, the IAD representative gave Fret a “reverse-Garrity” warning. In the warning, PSP ordered Fret to answer questions, and advised him that his answers and the fruits of his answers would…

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Police Union Denied Access To Investigation Of Deputy Chief

In January 2005, an officer in the South Portland, Maine Police Department filed a complaint with the City’s director of human resources. In his complaint, the officer named the deputy police chief, alleging harassment, discrimination, and a hostile work environment. In response to the complaint, the director of human resources conducted an internal investigation. In March 2005, the director issued a report containing her findings. No disciplinary action was…

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Q & A

From Arizona Question: During an Administrative Investigation, can an employee of equal rank question you? (i.e., a police sergeant interview a police sergeant). Answer: Unless there’s a provision in a collective bargaining agreement or local law to the contrary, we know of no prohibition on individuals performing internal affairs investigations on other employees of equal rank. From California Question: Can a department prohibit its officers from going to Hooters…

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NYPD Prohibited From Conducting IA Investigation Into Sergeants’ FLSA Testimony

A group of approximately 4300 current and former New York City police sergeants sued the City of New York claiming systematic violations of their overtime rights under the Fair Labor Standards Act. Because of the sheer volume of plaintiffs, the City and the Plaintiffs agreed in May of 2005 to limit depositions to “test plaintiffs” – individuals from 17 job categories, who would be organized into three groups. In…

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Employer’s Decision To Voluntarily Reinstate Officer Ends Possibility Of Appeal

Alexei E. Sviridov, a police officer with the San Diego Police Department, was charged with child abuse based on his teenage daughter’s accusation that he struck her. A jury found Sviridov guilty of battery and he was placed on probation and fined. Sviridov appealed his conviction, and while his criminal appeal was pending, investigators for the Department asked Sviridov whether he had struck his daughter. Sviridov denied his daughter’s…

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Polygraph Not Admissible In Wrongful Discharge Lawsuit Filed In Federal Court

Dan Dixon was employed as a lieutenant by the Coeur d’Alene, Idaho Police Department. In June 2009, at the conclusion of an internal department investigation into allegations that Dixon had falsified timekeeping records and manipulated a subordinate officer’s work schedule, the Police Chief recommended that Dixon’s employment be terminated by the City. On June 24, 2009, following a pre-termination hearing, the City’s Personnel Officer determined that in lieu of…

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Firefighter’s Compelled Display Of Insulation Violates Fourth Amendment

Nicholas Delia is a firefighter with the City of Rialto, California. On August 10, 2006, Delia began to feel ill while working to control a toxic spill. He was then transported to a hospital emergency room for evaluation. There, a doctor gave him an off-duty work order for three work shifts. The doctor, however, did not place any activity restrictions on Delia. On August 15, 2006, the City became…

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Referring Ballot Measure To Voters Is Not Unfair Labor Practice

Since 2004, the City of Eugene, Oregon has had a civilian police auditor generally involved in the internal affairs process. The implementing ordinance provided that the City Council “may” authorize the auditor to have access to all internal affairs evidence and to participate in interviews. In 2008, the City Council referred to the voters a ballot measure that changed the word “may” to “shall.” The Eugene Police Employees Association…

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Significant Garrity Decision From Georgia Supreme Court

A Georgia police officer’s indictment for murder has produced an important decision on whether a seemingly voluntary statement can be considered to be “coerced” for purposes of Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967). At approximately 3:15 a.m. on September 12, 2006, the DeKalb County, Georgia Police Department received a 911 call reporting a stolen motor vehicle from an apartment complex. When officers arrived, they learned that the…

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Compelled Internal Affairs Interview Not ‘Seizure’ For Fourth Amendment Purposes

Lawrence Goodine was a police officer for the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee. In early 2007, after complaints from several suspects, the Department’s Internal Affairs division began investigating Goodine. On March 7, 2007, Internal Affairs officers approached Goodine during roll call and ordered him to accompany them back to their offices. Goodine was escorted into a police vehicle and driven to another location. Internal Affairs officers then advised Goodine in…

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‘Gross Error’ Required To Reverse Arbitrator’s Decision In Alaska

The termination of a four-year officer of the Airport Police and Fire Department of the Alaska Department of Transportation gave the Alaska Supreme Court the opportunity to revisit the standard used to evaluate arbitrators’ opinions. The termination was based on two events that occurred in May 2006 while the officer was working at the Alaska Law Enforcement Academy in Sitka, Alaska, and on the officer’s conduct during the subsequent…

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Participation In An Internal Affairs Investigation Not Protected By First Amendment

The ramifications of Garcetti v. Ceballos, 547 U.S. 410 (2006), continue to be felt in free speech cases brought by public employees. In Garcetti, the Supreme Court held that where speech is made as part of an employee’s job, it is not protected by the First Amendment. The teachings of Garcetti allow an employer to retaliate against an employee for speech made in the course of the job without…

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Ohio Supreme Court Decides Major Garrity Case

A recent decision from the Ohio Supreme Court addresses some important questions under the rule of Garrity v. New Jersey, 385 U.S. 493 (1967). The Garrity rule states that if a public employee is compelled to answer questions as part of a disciplinary interview, neither the employee’s answers nor the “fruits” of the answers can be used to criminally prosecute the employee. The case involved Anthony Jackson, a police…

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Racial Profiling Complaints Are Not Exempt From Public Disclosure

Maryland’s statutes concerning public documents are similar to those in many states, and contain an exemption allowing the non-disclosure of documents that are “personnel records.” A recent decision from the Maryland Court of Appeals addressed whether racial profiling records fit within the “personnel records” exception. The case had its origins in a 2003 consent decree entered into by the NAACP and the Maryland State Police. In 2007, the NAACP…

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Civil Service Appeals Get New Trials In Ohio

In October 2006, Michael Bryant was suspended by the Hamilton, Ohio Police Department for unbecoming conduct, untruthfulness, and insubordination. The internal affairs investigation which led to this sanction was conducted by Captain Joseph Murray, Lieutenant Scott Scrimizzi, and Sergeant Michael Waldeck. In early 2007, Murray received an unsolicited subscription to Cosmopolitan magazine along with a bill for $54. The bill indicated that subscriptions had also been sent to Lieutenant…

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Police Captain Wins $1.5 Million Jury Verdict In Retaliation Claim

William Broderick was a captain with the Boston Police Department. In 1988, Broderick was elected to become president of the Superior Officers Union, a full-time position he held until 2000. For the 12 years he was president of the Union, the atmosphere between Broderick and Police Commissioner Paul Evans was one of “conflict and distrust,” including “public charges and lawsuits by Broderick, and on the Department’s side, disciplinary proceedings…

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