Fired Fort Worth Police Chief Had Lost Support Of City, Bosses, Department

This newspaper’s Editorial Board has been privileged to meet with a great number of newsmakers over the years. Just recently we met with Sibulele Sibaca, a South African who, at 16, became one of 2 million AIDS orphans, and who today is an articulate global ambassador for the fight against HIV/AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and poverty. Prior to the May 4 local elections, we met with nearly every candidate for…

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Serving Those Who Serve: Mental Health Has Become A National Police Priority

As the motto goes, the role of law enforcement is “to protect and serve.” But the extent of their jobs doesn’t end just because a shift ends. Like firemen and other first responders, police officers are tasked with many duties that can often take a toll on their mental health and wellbeing. But unlike their first responder peers, police officers work individually (not in teams), and have an intimate relationship…

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State Police Contract Exempts Personnel Records, Grievance Hearings From Public Disclosure

In the wake to two controversial police shootings in Connecticut, the latest Connecticut State Police contract exempts officers’ personnel records and grievance hearings from public disclosure under the state’s Freedom of Information statute. Along with the wage increases and benefits totaling $22.1 million outlined in the contract, Article 9 states “The Department shall not, absent a court order, disclose or transmit any personal data to any other individual, corporation…

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Hillsborough Co. Survey Mirrors Union Findings On Fire Rescue Problems

TAMPA, Fla (WFLA) – Hillsborough County commissioners have gotten their first peek at a fire rescue study for which taxpayers doled out about $150,000. That study will tell them what 8 On Your Side revealed last August – there is a morale problem at Hillsborough Fire Rescue. Firefighters say they do not feel the department is doing enough to reduce fatigue and mental health issues. The study conducted by Mian Talent…

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CT Troopers, Five More State Employee Unions, In Line For Raises

A new contract granting state police raises and a paid lunch break tops a list of six new labor deals that would cost $58 million collectively by 2022 — and also could throw a last-minute wrench into state budget negotiations. As legislators and Gov. Ned Lamont struggle to craft a new biennial budget — and avert a multi-billion-dollar projected shortfall, five tentative contracts and one arbitration award would add…

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Federal Judge Finds Seattle Partly Out Of Compliance With Police-reform Deal — A Major Blow To City

Citing a history of defiance by Seattle’s rank-and-file police union, a federal judge on Wednesday found that a portion of Seattle’s contract with the union fails to address officer accountability, threatening to undermine public confidence in a seven-year-old reform agreement between the city and the Department of Justice. Delivering a lengthy and dramatic ruling from the bench, U.S. District Judge James Robart told a packed courtroom the city had fallen…

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PTSD Compromise Deal Offers One Year Of Benefits For Police, Firefighters

Legislative leaders unveiled a bipartisan proposal Monday to provide police and firefighters suffering with post traumatic stress disorder with up to one year of workers’ compensation coverage. Joined also by union leaders and representatives of the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities, lawmakers predicted the compromise — which ends a six-year debate on stress benefits for first-responders — would be enacted before the 2019 session closes on June 5. The agreement,…

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What Seattle Police Said In Their Exit Interviews. (It’s Blistering)

‘Hyper-aggressive oversight.’ ‘Non-supportive city government.’ ‘No backing from city, OPA and community.’ ‘An increasingly spineless legal system.’ These are the parting shots of Seattle police officers explaining why they left in the past year. In dozens of unredacted exit interviews over the past year, departing Seattle police officers provided their agency with their blunt take on the political climate in Seattle, including the statement, “City Council sucks.” Another officer…

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As Layoffs Loom, Oxnard Moves To Increase Health Care Contributions For Firefighters

The Oxnard City Council approved a significant increase to health care contributions for firefighters on Tuesday, a move that followed a similar agreement made for police officers. The higher payments to public safety health insurance comes as the city faces impending employee layoffs and a $9.2 million gap in its general fund. Under the contract with the International Association of Firefighters, which was approved unanimously, the city will pay $1,543 per month in…

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Atlanta Fire Union: Firefighter Staffing Shortages Dangerous

A union leader says the city is not getting all it can get out of fire personnel performance. The reason, says Paul Gerdis, is the mandatory overtime policy fire commanders have instituted due to staffing shortages. He told city council members late Wednesday that it is impossible to fill many fire companies without requiring firefighters to work more than there already demanding workload. The impact on staff is both exhaustion and stress, he says….

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After A California Police Department Switched To A New Bodycam Vendor, Axon Threatened City’s Credit Rating

The deal Fontana Police Department struck with Axon sounded simple enough: a trial of five inexpensive body cameras and, for each of them, a Professional subscription to the company’s cloud storage system. When the California city decided to use a different vendor years later, however, it found itself stuck continuing to pay $4,000 per year for an unused service. Exiting the contract, the department was told, could tarnish the city’s credit rating…

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PTSD ‘At Crisis Levels’ Among Police Officers

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among police officers in the UK is far more common than was ever thought, a new survey suggests. One PC describes his battle with the medical condition. Lee Jackson is the kind of police officer who runs towards danger, the sort who is not afraid to break down doors or break up fights. A Taser-trained response officer at Durham Police with over 19 years’ service,…

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New Policy Outfits Body Armor To Detroit Firefighters, Paramedics

The city of Detroit is equipping firefighters and EMS workers with body armor to wear on the job.  The new body armor policy for firefighters and EMS workers states it is not to be worn while knocking down fires but they are for practically every other run – especially when going to hostile scenes. “As a firefighter I would be afraid to be out here without it,” said resident…

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South Salt Lake Mayor Proposes 31 Percent Property Tax Hike To Give Police, Firefighters Pay Raises

SOUTH SALT LAKE — South Salt Lake Mayor Cherie Wood wants to give her city’s police officers and firefighters a substantial raise — but it’s a bill taxpayers would need to foot. To pay for it, Wood on Wednesday night proposed to the City Council a 31 percent property tax hike — one that would bring in about $1.6 million and cost the average South Salt Lake homeowner an…

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New Haven Police Union: City Offer ‘Lowest’ In CT

NEW HAVEN — If the city police union had accepted the most recent contract offer by the city, its officers would have been the lowest paid among a group of 12 departments in lower-income municipalities, union President Florencio Cotto Jr. said Friday at anews conference, standing in front of dozens of plainclothes officers outside police headquarters. According to information distributed at the event at 1 Union Ave., the city’s…

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Women Allege Discrimination, Retaliation On Male-Dominated Boston Police Force

Donna Gavin, the Boston Police Department’s lone female lieutenant detective, describes being retaliated against and undermined by her former captain because she is a woman. Pamela Besold, a sergeant detective who has spent 22 years on the force, says she has been treated with hostility because she is a lesbian. And two female civilians in the department say they were discriminated against because of their race and ethnicity. These…

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Judge Calls Damages Jury Awarded Lincoln Firefighter ‘Shockingly Excessive,’ Offers Choice Of Less Money Or New Trial

A federal judge this week said Lincoln firefighter Troy Hurd must choose between a new trial on damages or a $630,000 reduction in the amount the city must pay him for retaliation he faced after reporting discrimination against a female firefighter trainee born in Iraq. Senior U.S. District Judge Laurie Smith Camp said based on the evidence at Hurd’s trial in Omaha in February, it wasn’t shocking or plainly…

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Mayor Reverses Firefighter’s Suspension Over Social Media Post

A Lansing firefighter had his suspension reversed by Mayor Andy Schor after the Lansing Fire Department said he was suspended for two weeks without pay. Lansing City Council Member Peter Spadafore released a statement on Facebook regarding the firefighter saying “I am pleased to hear that Mayor Schor has reversed the decision to suspend. Free speech is not limited to points on which we agree. I would like to see…

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Officer Misconduct Bill Stalls In Conference Committee

KAILUA-KONA — A measure that would have disclosed the names of officers discharged or suspended from a county police department died quietly in conference last week. House Bill 285 was not reported out of conference committee by Tuesday, missing the deadline to file the notice required for a final vote by both chambers of the state Legislature before the 2019 session closes today. The proposal would have required police…

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Analysis: Cops Who Work More Overtime Get Sued For Bad Arrests At A Greater Rate

Cops who rack up the most overtime tend to get hit with more lawsuits, a Legal Aid Society analysis shows. According to the analysis, cops who averaged 406 hours of overtime per year from 2015 to 2018 were sued five or more times in federal court — while officers who worked an average of 214 hours overtime a year during the same period weren’t involved in any lawsuits. The…

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New Haven Grappling With Fiscal Impact Of Police Exodus From City

NEW HAVEN — The fiscal impact of blue exodus from the city has long tentacles. “Officers are working longer shifts, working doubles, being held over” because of the officer shortage, Interim Police Chief Otoniel Reyes told an aldermanic committee. “We’re forcing people to work overtime, but we’re trying to find ways to mitigate that.” Although the department’s budget was determined mostly by his predecessor — albeit with his input — Reyes…

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Feds Laud Las Vegas Police For Mental Health Program

The Department of Justice praised the efforts of Las Vegas police to address mental health issues among officers, particularly after the Oct. 1, 2017, shooting, in a report released Wednesday to Congress. Those interviewed within the Metropolitan Police Department said its comprehensive Police Employee Assistance Program, or PEAP, prepared officers for the severe emotional effect the mass shooting on the Strip would have, according to a case study of the…

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Police Pilot Program Sets Thresholds For Mental Health Check-ins; Severity Of Workplace Injuries Up In 2018

Ottawa police have launched a six-month pilot program aimed at early intervention for officers before mental health issues become insurmountable, according to a report to the police services board on the status of the force’s wellness strategy. The early intervention program began in February and is just that — a program that identifies officers and civilians who may need help and flags those individuals and their circumstances for a…

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Concern About Lower Life Expectancy Among Reasons For New Wellness Program For Steamboat Police

STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Emergency responders like police officers and firefighters put themselves on the frontlines of traumatic situations as part of their daily duties. Years in the field responding to shootings, burn victims and other high-stress incidents can take a heavy toll on their physical and mental health. That is why the Steamboat Springs Police Department is implementing new wellness initiatives, including a peer support program inspired by Steamboat…

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The Time Frame For Filing A PTSD Claim

This article appears in the May 2019 issue of our monthly newsletter Public Safety Labor News. Benjamin Pitts was a police officer with the City of Chandler, Arizona. In May 2013, Pitts was on duty in his patrol vehicle with his fiancée, who was participating in a ride-along. That evening, Pitts received a call that there was a man acting in a disorderly manner and possibly brandishing a gun…

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