Failure To Include Video, Photos In Record Results In Termination Being Upheld

Sheila Kalina was a deputy sheriff for Cook County, Illinois. The Sheriff charged Kalina and three other deputy sheriffs with various infractions of departmental rules arising out of an incident where two male prisoners sexually assaulted a female prisoner. Kalina, who was working in the Markham courthouse, was charged with improperly allowing the male prisoners to enter a restroom being used by the female prisoner, falsifying a Prisoner Safety…

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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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Arbitrator Upholds Lieutenant’s Termination For January 6 Charges

Roxanne Mathai was a lieutenant with the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office in Texas. Mathai maintained a Facebook page that had photos of her in her Sheriff’s Office uniform. On January 7, 2021, the Sheriff’s Office learned from Mathai’s Facebook page that she had participated in the events at the Capitol on January 6. Mathai posted pictures and videos of rioters climbing the walls of the Capitol building. When the…

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Trooper Should Have Known Falsifying Report Violated Rules

Megan Habina was a trooper with the New Jersey Division of State Police. Sometime in late 2016, while on duty, Habina lost the alcohol influence report necessary to complete the paperwork for a drunk driving arrest. She consulted with Trooper Casey McPartlin, who suggested she contact the Alcohol and Drug Testing Unit to retrieve a copy. Instead, Habina used an unrelated report to create a replacement and signed McPartlin’s…

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‘Shy Bladder’ Lead s To Firefighter’s Reinstatement

Roy Neely worked as a firefighter for the New Orleans Fire Department. On September 1, 2020, Neely struck an overhead door as he was driving a rescue unit vehicle out of Fire Station 7. Neely’s District Chief ordered a post-ac­cident substance abuse test. The test was administered by Jeffrey Mendler, the owner of Toxicology and Drug Analysis Laboratory (TDAL), which contracts with the City of New Orleans to provide…

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Court Rejects Challenge To Arbitrator’s Opinion In Excessive Force Case

On October 21, 2017, Michael Sta­nitis, a police officer for the Bridgeport Police Department in Connecticut, re­sponded to an incident in which he and other police officers arrested Carmelo Mendez. On October 22, 2020, the Bridgeport Board of Police Commis­sioners terminated Stanitis’ employment upon finding that he used excessive force during Mendez’s arrest, and that he was dishonest in an investigation into his con­duct during the arrest. After Stanitis…

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Civil Service Referee Upholds Firefighter’s CBD-Based Termination

Gerardo Colon became a Cleveland firefighter on October 9, 2000. Over his career, Colon suffered three consequential injuries on the job to his neck, back, shoulder and knee that have caused ongoing pain. In 2017, Colon tested positive for marijuana, and admitted to smoking marijuana prior to the test to help him sleep. In lieu of termination, Colon signed a last chance agreement on October 3, 2017. The agreement…

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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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Civil Service Orders Reinstatement Of Officer Who Shot Rayshard Brooks

On June 12, 2020, Atlanta Police Officer Garrett Rolfe and another offi­cer were called to a Wendy’s restaurant to deal with Rayshard Brooks, who had fallen asleep in his car in the drive-through lane. The officers questioned Brooks for a half hour and conducted field sobriety tests. As the officers moved to handcuff Brooks, Brooks grabbed the Taser of one of the officers and began running away. Rolfe chased…

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Probationary Employee Not Entitled To Details Of Basis For Termination

James Fermin was hired by the Law­rence Police Department in Massachusetts in April 2016. After completion of the police academy, Fermin was sworn in as a full-time officer on October 14, 2016. Fermin was on probationary status until October 14, 2017. On August 2, 2017, Mayor Daniel Rivera gave Fermin a written notice of termination. The termination letter, which was effective immediately, stated that “a number of issues have…

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Challenges To The ‘Public Policy’ Doctrine In Illinois

Parties to contracts such as labor agreements can choose to substitute arbitration for a court resolution of contractual disputes. With two notable exceptions, final and binding arbitration of grievances is just that: final and binding. As the Supreme Court held in United Steelworkers of America v. Enterprise Wheel & Car Corp., 363 U.S. 593 (1960), a court should not disturb a labor arbitrator’s decision unless the decision does not…

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Last Chance Agreement Can Waive Title VII Discrimination Claims

Michael Snowden is an African American male who formerly worked as a sergeant for the United States Park Police (USPP) supervising other law enforcement officers in the Communications Section. While working a shift in August 2004, Snowden received a call from his relative, Brian Lamont. On the call, Lamont asked Snowden for the registration information associated with a specific license plate – information that Snowden had the ability to…

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EMT Forfeits Job By Failing To Appear For Retraining

After being injured while on duty as an EMT for the Borough of Wildwood Crest, New Jersey in 2010, and following two surgeries on his knee, Jasen Mitchell reached the maximum level of rehabilitation before being medically cleared for modified duty. The physical restrictions placed on Mitchell made it impossible for him to perform the duties of an EMT. The Borough offered him a newly created position as a…

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Corrections Officer Terminated For Dishonesty, Not Disability

Brad Sandefur was a corrections officer for the Sheriff of Cook County, Illinois. He suffers from disk desiccation in his spine and osteoarthritis in his knees. Both conditions can cause intermittent pain for weeks at a time. In 2011, Sandefur applied for and received a handicapped parking placard from the Illinois Secretary of State. His application identified his qualifying disability as osteoarthritis or a “knee condition.” The application asserted…

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Reinstatement Ordered For Firefighter Terminated For ‘Moral Character’

To become a City of Plainfield firefighter in New Jersey, applicants are required to prove residency. Christopher D’Amico submitted several documents supporting his Plainfield residency, including a roller hockey alliance insurance card. D’Amico modified the card to include his actual residential address in Plainfield. According to D’Amico, he revised the card because he did not have additional proof of residency when he was asked for further documentation as part…

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Disability Retirement Precludes Civil Service Appeal Of Discharge

Martin Deiro began working for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department in 1997 and was injured on duty in May 2012. He continued to work though October 2013, after which he had the first of two surgeries for the injury. He could not return to work after his first surgery and remained on leave. On May 1, 2015, Deiro applied to the Los Angeles County Employees Retirement Association (LACERA)…

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Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion Reinstating Officer

Andrew Kline is a police officer with the Township of Uwchlan in Pennsylvania. On October 26, 2018, Kline, Officer Warren Obenski and Sergeant David Balben responded to a domestic violence call. While at the caller’s residence, Obenski seized a black duffel bag on the suspicion that it contained illegal drugs. After arriving at the police station, Obenski processed the bag and reminded Kline that it could not be opened…

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‘Mere Technical’ Violations Of Bill Of Rights Not Basis To Reverse Termination

Eric Hiller was a police officer with the Rehoboth Beach Police Department in Delaware. In July 2018, Hiller was advised that he must complete a computer voice stress analyzer exam (CVSA) so that the Department might examine the truthfulness of Hiller’s statements made during his initial interview involving the events of a prisoner transport. A private CVSA examiner, Mike McQuillen was selected to administer the CVSA and Lt. Jaime…

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Chief Deputy Loses Job After Heated Meeting With Union President

Patricia Fritz was the Chief Deputy in the Office of the Sheriff of Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. In August 2018, Fritz met with Corporal Steven Felder in his capacity as union president. After other business had been concluded, Felder began a discussion with Fritz concerning her implementation of a policy requiring medical excuses for absence from work in certain situations. Felder challenged the propriety of that requirement. The conversation became…

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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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Video Shows Assault, Not Rough Sexual Foreplay

Joe Jones was a San Diego police officer. In December 2015, Jones traveled to Puerto Rico with his girlfriend, Sarah, to attend a boxing match. Sarah worked as a bookkeeper for the boxer’s wife. Several off-duty San Diego police officers also attended the boxing match as the boxer’s security detail. The day after the boxing match, one of the off-duty police officers, Lieutenant Ben Kelso, learned that an alleged…

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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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Deputy Doubles Down On Dishonesty, Loses Job

Deputy Mark Montez worked as a corrections officer for the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. On September 27, 2010, Dequan Ballard, an inmate in the jail, stole items from a commissary cart. The theft was reported to Deputy Omar Lopez, who informed Montez. Lopez and Montez took Ballard to an elevator landing to strip search him for the stolen items. Lopez searched Ballard while Montez monitored the hallway to…

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Termination For Theft ‘Shocks Conscience’ Of Court

The New York Police Department’s Internal Affairs Bureau conducted an integrity test whereby an undercover officer acted intoxicated while parked illegally near a fire hydrant. A video of the incident shows Officer Richard Arroyo going into the undercover officer’s vehicle, taking $55 from the center console, taking a $20 bill and putting it into his left hand, while counting out the remaining $35 and grabbing that with his right…

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Fire Lieutenant Terminated For Twice Testing Positive For Marijuana

Marlon Cooper, a lieutenant with the Memphis Fire Department, first tested positive for marijuana in 2008. At that time, Cooper was not terminated from his employment, but instead was suspended for 360 hours and thereafter entered into an employee assistance program (EAP). Although Cooper was given a second chance, the City made clear that illegal drug use was not permitted by its personnel, noting in its 2008 suspension letter…

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