Officer Had No Expectation Of Privacy In Employer Video Equipment

Scott Kilmer was a police officer for Bells Police Department in Tex­as. On March 11, 2017, Kilmer was working off-duty security at a private wedding venue; he was dressed in his Bells police officer uniform and using his Bells police patrol vehicle. Over the course of the evening, some guests noticed Kilmer placing his foot between the legs of unsuspecting women and “videoing up their skirt” with a small…

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No Privacy Interests In Another’s Apple Watch

William Owens was the fire chief for the City of Monroe, Georgia. Logan Propes is Monroe’s city administrator, and R.V. Watts is the City’s police chief. Watts and Propes learned that Owens had a “intimate” relationship with a married woman referred to as K.I. Chief Owens and K.I. had regular electronic communications via their personal electronic devices, including K.I.’s Apple Watch. In May 2020, K.I. was in the hospital…

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Qualified Immunity Shields Employer From Liability For Illegal Dropbox Search

Steven Bowers was a sergeant for the Taylor County Sheriff’s Department in Wisconsin. In 2017, the Department started working with a television show called Cold Justice, a true-crime series that investigated unsolved crimes. The Department gave the crew members access to one case file, but Bowers began sharing other case files with them, even though he did not have permission to do so. After Bowers admitted what he had…

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ADA Violated By Routine Physical, Psychological Examinations

Officer James LaCroix and Detec­tive Renee Payne-Callender are mem­bers of the Boston Police Department. On March 6, 2015, LaCroix sustained back and hip injuries while he was on duty. LaCroix was placed on leave due to his injuries and remained out of work until he was cleared to return by his doctors in December 2018, The Department notified LaCroix that he would also be required to be examined by…

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Major Cell Phone Decision From Phoenix

Christopher Turiano is a 25-year veteran of the Phoenix Police Department. Until recently, he served as a grenadier in the Department’s Tactical Response Unit (TRU). On August 22, 2017, the TRU, including Turiano, was assigned to oversee ground operations at a large protest in downtown Phoenix. Throughout the course of the evening, the protest devolved into violence, with various reports of protesters defying law enforcement instructions, damaging property, and…

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Seizure Of CO’s Personal Guns Does Not Violate Law

Andre Anderson is a Corrections Officer with the New York City Department of Corrections (DOC). On July 25, 2020, Anderson was driving home when he was rear-ended by another motorist who fled the accident scene when Anderson insisted that they exchange insurance information. Anderson pursued the occupants of the departing vehicle, first by car and then on foot, eventually drawing his registered personal firearm, identifying himself as a police officer, and ordering a passenger to get…

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Court Turns Down Vaccination Challenge From LAPD Officers

A group of 13 Los Angeles Police Department employees sued the City in federal court, contending the City’s COVID-19 vaccine mandate violated their federal and state civil rights. The employees sought a preliminary injunction holding the mandate in abeyance pending completion of the litigation. The City responded by filing a motion to dismiss the entire lawsuit. A federal court trial judge agreed with the City and dismissed the lawsuit. The employees’ primary argument was that the mandate violated the…

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LAPD Officers Lose Job Pokémon Go

A case involving the termination of two Los Angeles Police Department officers contains one of the more unusual fact patterns in any reported police discipline case. Louis Lozano and Eric Mitchell were working as partners on Saturday, April 15, 2017, assigned to a foot patrol beat. Their primary responsibilities included providing community services and addressing “quality of life” issues in the Crenshaw Corridor and Leimert Park area. Sergeant Jose…

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No Reasonable Expectation Of Privacy In Cell Phone Backups On Work Computer

Jennifer Smith was a police officer for the City of Pelham, Alabama. When the police chief became concerned that Smith was excessively using sick time and time off, particularly on Fridays and Mondays, he asked a detective to con­duct a forensic analysis of Smith’s work computer. The City has a Computer/Email & Internet Use Policy (Computer Use Policy) governing employees’ use of their work computers. The Computer Use Policy…

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Florida Statute Shields Officers’ Names From Disclosure After Officer Involved Shooting

In two separate encounters, crime suspects threatened Tallahassee police officers with violence. Faced with the imminent threat of harm, the officers responded with force, resulting in fa­talities. Following the encounters, the City of Tallahassee revealed its intent to disclose the identities of the police officers to the public. The officers and their union, the Florida PBA, opposed public disclosure of the officers’ identities and sought a declaration from the…

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Inadvertent Recording Of Calls On Police Line Does Not Violate Wiretap Laws

In November 2016, the Grand Rapids Police Department dispatched an officer to a car accident site. The driver of the car, a Kent County assistant prosecutor, drove down a one-way street and struck a parked car. The on-scene officer called Lieutenant Matthew Janiskee on a recorded, public line – Line 3604 – and explained the accident; Janiskee responded that the officer should hang up and call him on a…

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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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No Privacy Rights To Flash Drive Plugged Into Employer’s Computer

Saintamen Edwards, a Miami-Dade County police officer, was arrested and charged with two counts of official misconduct after an investigation revealed she had falsified police records in an apparent attempt to get her husband, Clyde Edwards, fired from his job at a sports apparel and footwear store. Clyde’s boss, Jose Raij, contacted police after he received a phone call from someone identifying herself as Miami-Dade police detective Diann Mich….

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Supreme Court Narrows Cell Phone Searches Even Further

In 2011, police officers arrested four men suspected of robbing a series of Radio Shack and T-Mobile stores in Detroit. One of the men confessed that, over the previous four months, the group (along with a rotating cast of getaway drivers and lookouts) had robbed nine different stores in Michigan and Ohio. The suspect identified 15 accomplices who had participated in the heists and gave the FBI some of…

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Constitutional Protection For Officer’s Affair

You know you’re in for a weighty pronouncement when a court begins its opinion in this fashion: “We are confronted in this case with the ongoing and difficult constitutional question of how much control the government can force individuals to cede over their private lives in exchange for the privilege of serving the public by means of government employment. To be sure, private citizens often must sacrifice some individual…

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Court Grants Inmate’s Request For In Camera Inspection Of Officer’s Personnel File

Jeremy Goodman is an inmate at California State Prison-Solano. He was involved in an incident with Correctional Officer J. Johnson. During a search, Goodman resisted Johnson. As a result of the incident, Goodman was criminally charged with battery on a non-prisoner, possession of heroin in jail, and resisting an executive officer. In his criminal case, Goodman brought what is known in California as a Pitchess motion. A Pitchess motion…

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No Expectation Of Privacy During Raid Of Marijuana Dispensary

Two officers with the Santa Ana, California Police Department were the subjects of an internal affairs investigation based on their conduct during the execution of a search warrant at a marijuana dispensary. The Department initiated the investigation after video recordings of the officers were released to the media. The video recordings were made by the dispensary owners without the knowledge of the officers, who had removed all known recording…

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Brady And The Privacy Of Personnel Records

A bit of backdrop is necessary to understand an important Brady decision recently issued by the California Court of Appeals. In Brady v. Maryland, 373 U.S. 83 (1963), the United States Supreme Court held that constitutional due process creates an affirmative obligation on the part of the prosecution, whether or not requested by the defense, to disclose all evidence within its possession that is exculpatory to a criminal defendant….

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Q & A

From Florida Question: I’ve often heard from my union’s legal defense plan that we cannot go to arbitration for a written reprimand because the grievant has no “property loss” and that the arbitrator can’t rescind the written reprimand. Often our members feel like this is an excuse by the legal defense plan because the LDP doesn’t want to spend the money on the arbitration. While a written reprimand doesn’t…

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Officer Has Privacy Rights In Personal Cellphone

Timothy Larios was an officer with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and was assigned to the Shasta Interagency Narcotics Task Force. He was issued a cell phone by the CHP, and he also had a personal cell phone. In September 2014, CHP removed Larios from his position and told him that he was the subject of an internal investigation. During the course of the investigation, Larios was ordered to…

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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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Court Rejects FOIA Requests For Race, Gender Of Supervisors With IA Complaints

In November 2008, the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) submitted 20 separate Freedom Of Information Act requests to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) for documents generated in connection with internal disciplinary proceedings against officers of specified upper ranks for particular offenses in particular years. For example, one request sought all documents regarding any lieutenant who was disciplined during the year 2007 for “Conduct Unbecoming for inappropriate disciplining…

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Union Entitled To Copy Of Complaint Against Member

Though the case does not involve public safety officers, a recent decision from an administrative law judge (ALJ) of the California Public Relations Board (PERB) could have significant ramifications in the public safety workplace. In the case, the ALJ ruled that employees filing a complaint against a fellow employee do not have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their complaints. The case began in October 2009, when two community…

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No Privacy Rights If Affair Has On-Duty Aspects

Janelle Perez was a probationary police officer for the City of Roseville, California. Perez was given a patrol assignment and a few months into the assignment, she and another officer, Shag Begley, initiated a personal relationship. At the time, Perez and Begley were both separated from, but legally married to other individuals. On June 6, 2012, Begley’s wife, Leah Begley, filed a citizen complaint alleging that Perez and Begley…

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Publication Of DOB, Height, Weight, Eye And Hair Color Violates Officers’ Rights

Twenty-one-year-old David Koschman died after an April 25, 2004 altercation with R.J. Vanecko, a nephew of Richard M. Daley, then-Mayor of Chicago. Given Vanecko’s political connections, the subsequent Chicago Police Department investigation was highly publicized. Several weeks after the incident, the Department placed Vanecko in an eyewitness lineup, in which five Chicago police officers participated as “fillers.” The officers closely resembled Vanecko in age, height, build, and complexion. When…

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