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Two Minneapolis Fire Commanders Reassigned Following Internal Probe

Minneapolis Fire Chief John Fruetel has reassigned two training commanders after an internal investigation into an incident last month in which a rookie firefighter was physically accosted by a superior. Following the probe, Deputy Chief J.R. Klepp will no longer run the department’s training division and has been transferred back to the rank of battalion chief for his handling of the incident, officials say. Capt. Chad Komarec was also…

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Fire Promotion Policy Stays Same

Many of the two dozen or so Fort Wayne firefighters present at Tuesday’s City Council meeting left the room unhappy when council members failed to override Mayor Tom Henry’s pocket veto of an ordinance that would change the composition of the city’s Fire Merit Commission.  The changes, which would have given the commission more discretion over promotions, were approved in a 7-2 vote Dec. 17.  Council members, up against the end of…

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BART Board OKs Program To Put Unarmed Police ‘Ambassadors’ On Trains

In response to concerns about safety on the BART system, the transit agency’s board voted unanimously Thursday to approve an ambassadorship program in which unarmed officers will ride trains from 2 p.m. to midnight seven days a week, with extra coverage on Saturdays. The six-month pilot program, which will cost $690,000, is scheduled to begin on Feb. 10. The ambassadors will be recruited from the ranks of the BART…

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Buffalo Cops Still Waiting On Patrol Cars

Investigative Post reported in August that the Buffalo Police Department was woefully short of working patrol cars. The city’s failure to purchase new cars regularly, deferred maintenance and inadequate staffing at the department’s garage had led to a situation the Police Benevolent Association president John Evans described as “dire.” Among the resulting problems: officers without access to vehicles to respond to 911 calls in a timely fashion. Almost six months later, Buffalo’s…

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Ex-Council 82 President Sues Union For Records On His Firing

ALBANY — James F. Lyman, the former executive director of one of the state’s largest law enforcement unions, has filed a petition seeking to compel the union to turn over records related to his abrupt termination in 2016. Lyman, 55, is a former Albany city detective who headed Council 82 for eight years after his retirement from the police force. He was fired from the $185,000-a-year job for reasons…

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LMPD Officers Applying Elsewhere Amid Concerns About Pension, Pay, Low Morale

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) — The Louisville Metro Police Department is experiencing an exodus of experience through retirement and transfers with concerns about pay, pensions, restructuring among its ranks and low moral.  Mayor Greg Fischer said the department currently has about 1,100 officers on staff. That number is down about 200 from a full force, and some city officials believe it will drop below 1,000 by July as many current…

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Dallas Police Union Concerns About Push For More Street Officers

Dallas Police Union leaders have two concerns about the push to get more officers on the street. The largest Dallas Police Academy class of 82 recruits that started training in September shows the success the Dallas Police Department has had with recruiting. But field training requires that recruits be paired with an experienced officer with at least the rank of Senior Corporal and Dallas has a shortage of Senior…

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East Chicago Council Overrides Mayor’s Veto, Restores Previous Schedule For Firefighters

EAST CHICAGO — The Common Council voted Monday night to override a mayoral veto and bring back the firefighter’s preferred work schedule. The 7-1 vote brought applause from a room full of East Chicago Professional Firefighters Local 365 members who had been rallying outside city hall, as they have for the last month, to end the swing shifts Mayor Anthony Copeland imposed on them beginning Dec. 7. All four…

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A Vermont Police Chief Was Ousted Over His Social Media Use. Then His Replacement Was Too.

Two police chiefs in Vermont’s largest city were ousted Monday after they anonymously taunted and “engaged” critics of Burlington’s police department, officials said. The first chief to go, Brandon del Pozo, resigned Monday. The departure came after a local newspaper, Seven Days, reported that the former chief had targeted Charles Winkleman, a local political activist and critic of the department, with a series of tweets over the summer under the handle “Winklewatchers.”…

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Peoria Officer Fired Over Social Media Posts Gets Job Back

PEORIA — A former Peoria police officer, fired last year for breaking departmental policy and what the city thought was inappropriate use of social media, has regained his job and back pay. A Dec. 23 decision by an arbitrator held that Jeremy Layman’s posts on Facebook may or may not have been offensive — but that’s not enough to fire him. “Just cause mandates that the City act on…

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Watertown, Firefighters Union To Talk For First Time In Years

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) – For the first time in a least four years, the city of Watertown has set dates to sit down with its fire union to negotiate a contract. In two weeks, Watertown city officials will be doing something they haven’t done in a long time – negotiating a contract with the city fire union. “I think it’s long over due. My hope is that we let…

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New GPS System Allows Mass. State Police To Track Cruisers In Real Time

The Massachusetts State Police has unveiled a new GPS tracking system for nearly all of the department’s 3,000 vehicles. The new system will allow police to track their own cruisers in real time and better deploy troopers during emergencies. Vehicles are tracked in realtime at the State Police Watch Center through a new secure automated vehicle location system which allows them to see where the vehicles and troopers are…

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Police Union Says Arbitration Award Unfair, ‘Compromised’

An arbitrator has handed down a contract award to Pittsburgh police that the city characterized as fair but the union derided as a product of a flawed process that might be appealed. “The FOP clearly lost its case, and the city won astronomically,” Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1 President Robert Swartzwelder said Friday morning, vowing to appeal or seek to reopen the contract. “We did horribly….

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Brentwood Police Going To 12-Hour Shifts In 2020

Brentwood Police officers will begin working 12-hour shifts in 2020, as borough leaders entered into an agreement on Jan. 6 with the department that allows them to pilot an overhaul in scheduling in the new year. “What’s attractive about it is the unity in command,” said Police Chief Adam Zeppuhar. In the last several months, Brentwood police have promoted three officers to sergeant, the latest being Officer Josh Scott…

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Cleveland EMS Union Battle Puts Mental Health In Spotlight

CLEVELAND — When the call came in, paramedic Chuck Cali and his partner hoped it was a mistake, or some feeble attempt to get the fire department there faster: “Neighbors report there’s a man on fire walking down the street.” Then they turned a corner. He was just standing there, not waving his hands or yelling. All his hair had been burned away. So had his clothes. Naked and…

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Judge Orders Chicago Police Dept To Turn Over 48 Years’ Worth Of Misconduct Files

A Cook County judge is giving the Chicago Police Department until the end of the year to turn over nearly five decades’ worth of previously unreleased files related to allegations of misconduct by officers. The order was issued Friday in a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit filed against the city by Charles Green, who served more than two decades in prison after being convicted in a quadruple murder on…

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Pittsburgh Police Union Leader Slams New 4-Year Contract With City

The Pittsburgh police union president Friday denounced the terms of a new contract determined through arbitration that provides officers with raises totaling 16% over four years, calling the decision “patently unfair” and tilted in favor of the city. Robert Swartzwelder, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1, blistered an arbitrator’s decision to split the raises that total 4 percent each year and other contract provisions, including…

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Former Firefighter-Paramedic Files Claim Alleging Gender Discrimination

KALISPELL, Mont. — A former Evergreen Fire Rescue firefighter/paramedic has filed a wrongful termination claim alleging she was fired because of her gender and singled out by the department for her social media use. In her complaint filed Jan. 2 with the Montana Human Rights Bureau, Presley Pritchard alleged she also suffered multiple instances of sexual harassment during her nearly three-year career with Evergreen and was asked to take…

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Jacksonville Suing To Get Back Pension Money Paid To Former Pension Chief

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city of Jacksonville is going to court to try to force the former head of the Police and Fire Pension Fund, John Keane, to pay back his pension. “I did nothing wrong. I followed all the rules,” Keane told News4jax. It’s all part of a five-year, very public legal battle between Keane and the city. Keane was one of only three people who qualified for a…

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Illinois Governor Signs Pension Consolidation Law

SPRINGFIELD — A new law signed by Gov. J.B. Pritzker last month will consolidate 649 downstate and suburban police and firefighter pension funds into just two. Pritzker signed the measure, passed in the recent fall veto session, in Chicago and hailed it as an initiative 70 years in the making. “Bipartisanship in this General Assembly has achieved what none of their predecessors have been able to do: consolidate the…

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From Bankruptcy To Suicide, PTSD Can Wreck The Lives Of First Responders. A Woodstock Firefighter Wants To Change That.

The morning sky was the color of lead, the air was barely above freezing and the only sound was the crunch of dead leaves as Ryan Mains began a 10-mile run through Crystal Lake’s Veteran Acres Park. He has come here for years to build his stamina on the park’s steep hills, preparing for races that stretch well beyond a marathon. But he also treasures the stillness. When he…

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First Responders Gather At Cleveland City Hall For Pay Raise, Mental Health Resources

CLEVELAND — First responders are battling with the city of Cleveland over a longtime contract negotiation. EMS workers said they are still waiting for the city to honor a contract that would give EMS personnel a pay raise and better access to mental healthcare resources. It’s been a back and forth battle and a point of contention for more than three years. In December, a judge ruled in favor…

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Baldwin Firefighters Battling Increased Cancer Risk, Providing Advanced Health Coverage

BALDWIN COUNTY, Ala. (WPMI) — Fire departments across the country continue to work toward improving the health of their firefighters as synthetic materials inside many modern homes are increasing the risk of cancer for those battling the flames. Baldwin County fire departments are doing their part to minimize the chemical exposure to their crews, and they now offer better benefits thanks to legislation which they helped pass. Firefighters not only…

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2019 Sets Record For Highest Number Of Police Officer Deaths By Suicide

HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) — Mental health continues to be a concern after a record number of current and former police officers died by suicide in 2019. In 2019, 228 officers died by suicide, which was a 32 percent increase from 2018, when 172 officers died. A third of those deaths happened in 4 states, which include New York, California, Texas, and Florida. Sergeant Charles Grubbs, of the Harrisonburg Police Department,…

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Norfolk PD New Year’s Resolution: Improve Officer Wellness And Resiliency

NORFOLK, Va. – In spring 2020, the Norfolk Police Department will start an evidence-based wellness program that will be provided to all sworn members of the department. The police department partnered with the Bureau of Justice Assistance, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and University of Pennsylvania in December 2018. Norfolk PD became the first law enforcement agency in Virginia to receive nationally-accredited wellness and resiliency training. During a…

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