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Reverted Lieutenant Has No Claim Under California Bill Of Rights

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department rescinded the probationary promotion of Thomas Conger to lieutenant based on investigatory findings that Conger had failed to report a use of force several months earlier. Conger challenged the action through the California state court system. The California Court of Appeals upheld the Department’s decision. The key issue for the Court was whether Conger had suffered a demotion or a somewhat late “denial…

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Video Results In Firefighter Losing Workers’ Comp Benefits

Thomas Swiech sustained an established injury to his neck in 2007 in the course of his employment as a firefighter for the City of Lackawanna, New York. In 2008, he had cervical fusion surgery and retired, and in 2010 he had lumbar surgery. In 2016, the City’s workers’ compensation carrier conducted an independent medical exam finding that Swiech had a significant permanent partial disability. At a November 2016 hearing,…

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Not Against Public Policy To Reinstate Dishonest Corrections Officer

A limited public policy exception exists to the principle that arbitration decisions are final and binding. If an arbitrator’s award violates a well-established and unequivocal public policy, the arbitrator’s decision may be overturned. Most often in the public safety world the public policy exception is debated in cases involving the reinstatement of employees who have been proven to be dishonest. Such a case arose with the termination of Corrections…

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Interview With Steve Grammas

Will interviews Las Vegas Police Protection Association president Steve Grammas about developments in the Nevada legislature strengthening the Public Safety Officer Bill of Rights. They discuss the details of Nevada Senate Bill 242, how it was passed and if it can be a model for similar legislation in other states. LISTEN

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Officer’s Monocular Vision Not Protected By The ADA

Carlos Melo began working as a police officer for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts in 1997. He injured his left eye while on duty in October 2002. The following year, after multiple surgeries, he returned to work without restrictions. In 2007, he became a station officer, which required him to answer police calls, run criminal history checks, and monitor prisoners. Additionally, he was required to be able to perform…

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As ‘Experience Is The Best Teacher,’ State Can Set Requirements For Sheriff Candidacy

To be elected county sheriff in California, a person must meet certain law enforcement experience and education requirements set forth in the state’s government code. In 2018, local business owner Bruce Boyer filed a candidate application to be placed on the ballot for Ventura County Sheriff in an upcoming primary election, Boyer did not have the experience required by the statute. When the county clerk refused to place his…

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Weingarten Violation When Employer Ejects Representative From Meeting

Officers with the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections are represented by the Pennsylvania State Corrections Officers Association. In April 2018, Lieutenant Brian Taylor of the Department’s Bureau of Investigations and Intelligence began an investigation into an allegation that an inmate did not receive any food for several days. One of the targets of his investigation was Corrections Officer John Snook. At the start of Taylor’s interview of Snook, Snook requested…

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Employer Cannot Refuse To Negotiate With Union’s Lawyer

Lodge 109 of the Fraternal Order of Transit Police (FOTP) and the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transit Authority (SEPTA) were parties to a collective bargaining agreement which was effective from April 29, 2012 through March 31, 2016. On March 2, 2017, the parties entered into a Memorandum of Agreement, extending the terms of the agreement through March 31, 2018. On November 18, 2016, SEPTA issued a written order pertaining to the…

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Officer’s Tampering Conviction Does Not Result In Pension Forfeiture

Thomas Ungard was employed by the City of Williamsport, Pennsylvania as a police officer from 1993 until he was suspended in 2006 and discharged in 2014. During his tenure, Ungard also served as a member and coordinator of the Lycoming County Drug Task Force, which frequently obtained vehicles through criminal and civil forfeiture proceedings. Membership on the Task Force is voluntary, with work done through the District Attorney’s Office….

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Failure To Communicate Not Breach Of Duty Of Fair Representation

Kevin Burger is a police officer with the Detroit Transit Police and a member of the Detroit Transit Police Officers Association. The Association is affiliated with the Police Officers Association of Michigan (POAM). Burger filed a claim with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission, alleging that the Association and POAM had breached their duty of fair representation, and expressed dissatisfaction in how POAM representatives had communicated with him about an…

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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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Merely Owning Property Does Not Meet Residency Requirement

John Cannici was a firefighter with the Village of Melrose Park, Illinois. The Village requires that all firefighters live within the Village and “maintain resident status during his or her period of employment.” Cannici and his family lived together at a house in Melrose Park until 2008, when he purchased a second house in Orland Park. Cannici’s wife and two children moved into the new house and had no…

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Seniority Prevails Over ADA For Day Off Selection

Natasha McIntyre was a sergeant with the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. McIntyre worked the day shift, which runs from 6:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., due to her seniority. In February 2016, McIntyre’s drug test revealed the presence of amphetamines. McIntyre had been prescribed the drug Adderall to treat her ADHD. She contacted Metro regarding possible accommodations for her ADHD. As accommodations for McIntyre’s disability, her doctor recommended: “(1)…

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Disability Pension Subject To Division In Divorce

Adrian and Brooke Aurs were married in July 2007. At all times during the parties’ marriage, Adrian was employed as a police officer with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) and was a member of the 1977 Police Officers’ and Firefighters’ Pension and Disability Fund (1977 Fund). Brooke filed for divorce in November 2015. Adrian was placed on unpaid suspension starting July 30, 2016, following a violent incident at…

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No Mutiny, No Termination

On November 13, 2018, the City of Virden, Illinois served a notice of termination on a dispatcher by the name of Ibberson. The notice detailed four reasons for termination: (1) that Ibberson had encouraged another dispatcher to disregard telephone calls from the Department and had informed him of the date and time when she planned to call in sick; (2) by engaging in “insubordination or mutinous activity” by encouraging…

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Chief Wins $4.1 Million In Free Speech Lawsuit

Doug Greisen was the chief of police for the City of Scappoose, Oregon. In 2012, after more than ten years in that position, he became suspicious about the city’s accounting and budgeting practices. He worried Jon Hanken, the city manager, was hiding something. Greisen believed Hanken was suspiciously defensive about the budget, improperly delayed paying invoices at the end of the fiscal year and had weakened the city’s external…

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Interview With Attorney Isaac Kaufman

Will interviews Isaac Kaufman of Law Enforcement Labor Services about a case out of Richfield, Minnesota involving the public policy exception. The case started in arbitration and eventually ended up in the Minnesota Supreme Court, where Kaufman and his client prevailed. DOWNLOAD ABOUT ISAAC KAUFMAN Isaac Kaufman has served since 2008 as General Counsel for Law Enforcement Labor Services, Inc. (LELS), the largest law enforcement union in Minnesota. As…

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Q & A

From FloridaQuestion: Does being informed that the employee is a witness in an investigation negate the witness from asking for representation under Weingarten? He reasonably believed that as a witness, he may be subjected to discipline. The employer did not inform or assure the employee that he wouldn’t be, just stated that as a witness, he was not entitled to representation. Does being called a witness cancel the right…

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Training Is Not An ‘Emergency’

Jennifer Beckman was an officer with the police department in Peoria, Illinois. On February 26, 2015, Beckman participated in mandatory riot training, which included a briefing/classroom session and a field simulation. During the field simulation, Beckman slipped and fell on the snow and ice-covered pavement, striking her head on the ground. Beckman was asked by her fellow officers whether she could continue, as well as whether she wanted to…

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Cooperation With FBI Protected By First Amendment

On January 4, 2012, four members of the Hillview, Kentucky Police Department – James Barrow, Leo Cook, Police Chief Glenn Caple and Kenneth Straughn – went to the home of Mayor James Eadens after Eadens reported suspicious activity on his property. Eadens was not home when the officers arrived, but his son Allen was there. While looking around the yard, Straughn found a backpack tucked inside a tire behind…

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Mayor Had No Right To Promise Lieutenant Promotion

John Walker is a lieutenant in the Pocatello Police Department in Idaho. Walker sued the City, contending his due process rights were violated when Police Chief Scott Marchand and Mayor Brian Blad failed to deliver on Blad’s promise to promote Walker to captain. The federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals dismissed Walker’s lawsuit. The Court’s terse opinion began: “Walker’s due process claim is premised on his contention that he…

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The ADA And Light-Duty Jobs

Repeating a result that has been reached many times in courts across the country, the federal Second Circuit Court of Appeals has illustrated how difficult it is for public safety employees to claim that their employers should accommodate their disabilities by assignment to a light-duty position. The case involved Sergeant Michael Garvey of the Town of Clarkstown, New York. Garvey suffered a knee injury while on duty, was placed…

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Deputy Cannot Sue Prosecutor For Wrongful Placement On Brady List

Mike Harris was hired by the Chelan County, Washington Sheriff’s Department in 1995. In July 2012, Harris advanced to the Chief of Patrol. Harris’ duties as Chief of Patrol included overseeing the Department’s armory. In August 2013, Harris investigated a missing Colt M16 rifle the County had purchased from the Army. In 2011, Undersheriff John Wisemore had signed documents indicating the rifle was in the armory, but range masters…

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Firefighter Loses Claim Against Union

Brandon Santiago was a firefighter with the City of Villa Park in Illinois and was represented by Local 2392 of the IAFF. When he was fired, Santiago filed an unfair labor practice complaint with the Illinois Labor Relations Board alleging that Local 2392 breached its duty of fair representation towards him. In essence, Santiago claimed that Local 2392 failed to adequately represent him during an investigation into his on-duty…

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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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