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Police Chief Blames Error For Social Media Post Resulting In Cries Of Racism And Resignation

LAPORTE — LaPorte Police Chief Tom Owens said an error is to blame for a Wednesday morning post on his personal Facebook page that triggered accusations against him of racism and bias, as well as calls for his resignation. The shared post in question contained a photograph of a young woman handling a firearm along with the caption, “Here is your precious Muslim congresswoman at a Al’ Qaida training…

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Anne Arundel Police Captain Apologizes To County’s Caucus Of African American Leaders For Social Media Post

Anne Arundel County police Capt. Jeffrey Silverman issued a written apology to the Caucus of African American Leaders after it filed a complaint to the department highlighting his “disparaging” social media comments about U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, a black presidential candidate. Carl Snowden, convener of the Caucus of African American Leaders, said a person who wished to remain anonymous pointed him to Silverman’s Facebook posts, sending screenshots of his…

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More Philadelphia Police Officers Expected To Be Fired Over Racist, Controversial Social Media Posts, Activists Say

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia community leaders say more firings are expected in the wake of the police social media scandal. In July, 13 officers were dismissed for their racist and controversial posts on social media. On Monday, Mayor Jim Kenney updated the leaders on the investigation into the controversial posts involving Philadelphia police officers during a meeting at City Hall. “The original number of officers who had those Facebook posts was…

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Retired Detective Says He Got Bad Advice From DMS. Now He Owes $541,000 In Retirement Payments

Michael A. Fewless, a 30-year law enforcement veteran with a spotless record, must pay back the $541,000 he received from the state’s Deferred Retirement Option Program, or DROP, lawyers for the state’s retirement system said. They dispute an administrative law judge’s recommended order saying Fewless can keep the money and resume getting his retirement benefits — which he stopped receiving a year ago when his predicament came to light. Fewless said that he got bad advice from David Kent,…

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Small Towns Continue To Eliminate Police Forces, Instead Relying On Deputies To Cover Widespread Regions

Police departments in small towns throughout northeastern North Dakota and northwestern Minnesota have increasingly closed their doors as shrinking populations suffocate their already small budgets and it becomes harder to recruit staff to the remote locations. Everyone smiles and waves at Northwood Police Chief Mark Pollert as he walks into Skip’s Cenex to buy a cup of coffee. He jokes with three men sitting at a corner booth and…

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San Diego Fire-Rescue Faces Challenges In Recruiting, Retaining Firefighters

The San Diego Fire-Rescue Department has a chronic understaffing problem. Now it has a plan of attack: It aims to add more than 200 firefighters over the next five years. The idea is to offset the employees retiring or otherwise leaving by creating a relief pool of workers who can fill in for firefighters who call in sick or go on vacation to trim skyrocketing overtime costs. But will…

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Former NYPD Psychologist Says Policy Change Essential In Officers’ Mental Health Treatment

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A former NYPD psychologist said that the department needs to fully change its approach to mental health treatment if it wants to seriously address a spate of recent officer suicides. “From my estimation, this is fundamentally and primarily a policy issue,” Dr. Tom Coghlan said. “You need a complete root-and-branch tearing-up of the current wellness policy in the NYPD.” In the last eight years of…

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Bismarck Police Struggle To Recruit And Retain Officers

In January, Lt. Roger Marks, head of recruitment for the Bismarck Police Department, had an interview scheduled with a midcareer officer from Williston. But in the days leading up to it, the job candidate canceled. The officer said he would have accepted a pay cut, but what the Bismarck police offered wasn’t enough. “The pay differential was too much,” Marks said. North Dakota’s capital city is struggling to retain and recruit police. Most…

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Appeals Court Upholds Duluth Police Officer’s Reinstatement

In the latest blow to the city, a three-judge panel upheld previous findings that officer Adam Huot should get his job back. The Minnesota Court of Appeals on Tuesday affirmed a ruling that would give a Duluth police officer his job back after he was fired for dragging a handcuffed man through the downtown skywalk system. The appeals court concluded that a district judge did not err in declining…

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EMS Union Calls For Creation Of ‘Medic In Distress’ Dispatch Code

If police had realized that a patient was attacking an Austin medic inside an ambulance a few weeks ago, Austin-Travis County EMS union president Selena Xie believes officers would’ve arrived sooner than the eight minutes it took them to get there. “The patient took off all his restraints — his seat belts — and then just started pounding on the medic,” giving him a black eye and a busted…

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Here’s Why Salinas Firefighters Will Soon Be Sporting Body Armor

SALINAS, CA — As a Salinas firefighter, Josh Hostetter has dealt with much more than medical calls, wildfires and structure fires.  He’s responded to gunfire.  “I’ve pulled guns out of people’s hands. I’ve have guns drop out of waistbands,” said Hostetter, who is the president of the Salinas City Firefighters Association IAFF Local 1270. “I’ve responded to hundreds of shootings (throughout the years).”  The Salinas union and fire administration requested to use $96,173…

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Pelahatchie Mayor Suspends Police Chief. ‘Insubordination’ Linked To Push To Get Paid

PELAHATCHIE, MS — The drama in Pelahatchie continues as the mayor announced Friday that she had suspended the town’s police chief, days after the two had a heated exchange in the streets about employees not getting paid.  Pelahatchie city attorney John Wakeland said Friday morning that it’s his “understanding and belief” that Mayor Ryshonda Harper Beechem suspended Chief Joseph Daughtry Thursday for “insubordination.” “I don’t want to speculate without seeing the actual documents…

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Pay Raise Credited For Big Spikes In APD Recruitment, Retention

ATLANTA, GA — One year ago, no one would have predicted that for the first time in years, Atlanta police would announce dramatic increases in applicants, new hires and re-hires. Turns out, throwing money at a problem can sometimes produce the desired result. Since Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms’ announcement last October that Atlanta Police Department officers would receive pay hikes of up to 30 percent, the city’s longtime struggle…

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‘Exploding Offers’ Can Be Bad-Faith Bargaining

This article appears in the September 2019 issue of our monthly newsletter Public Safety Labor News. In collective bargaining parlance, an offer that expires on a fixed date is known as an ‘exploding offer.’ In a lengthy opinion, the California Public Employment Relations Board analyzed when exploding offers amount to bad-faith bargaining. The case involved the City of Arcadia and the Arcadia Police Civilian Employees Association. In September 2013,…

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HOA Tells Clearwater Officer To Move Her Police Cruiser Into Her Garage Or Face Legal Action

EAST LAKE, FL — A Clearwater police officer is facing an ultimatum in her East Lake neighborhood: Stop parking her marked police cruiser in her driveway, or pay hundreds of dollars in violation costs. “The first thought is, it a joke? Like this is the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard of,” said Dan Parri, a family friend speaking on behalf of the officer and her husband who is…

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Austin Police Pension Fund Facing Trouble

AUSTIN, TX — The Austin Police Department’s retirement system is in considerable trouble, with actuaries predicting that the fund will run out of money within 50 years unless the city and the officers who are members of the system reach an agreement to change current contribution levels, benefits and/or try a more novel approach. Like other retirement funds, the Austin Police Retirement System suffered a significant loss in 2018….

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Report: Kissimmee Officer Fired Over Sex Video at School

KISSIMMEE, FL — A Kissimmee police officer assigned to a K-8 charter school was fired for making a sexually explicit video of herself for her husband from inside a school staff bathroom in December 2018, according to an internal affairs report. The report for the unidentified officer became public Friday. “The safety and security of our community, especially when it comes to our children, is our top priority at…

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Orange County Sheriff Seeks Higher Starting Pay For Deputies

ORLANDO, FL — Orange County deputies said it’s time for them to make as much money as Orlando police. And now that the former Orlando police chief is the sheriff, they expect it. Sheriff John Mina asked the county for a $267 million budget that would include hiring 52 new deputies. But as WFTV investigative reporter Shannon Butler found out, a tentative offer on pay fell short and the union is…

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Huntsville Police Department Offering Pay Raise If Officers Pass Fitness Test

HUNTSVILLE, AL — If officers with the Huntsville Police Department want a pay raise, they’ll have to earn it, by passing a physical fitness test! What would you do for a 2.5 percent pay raise? Every officer with the Huntsville Police department can sign up for a fitness program. If they pass the rigorous test, they’ll then see more money added to their bank account. “You have to do…

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Cleveland Police Officer Sues City, Says Cops Required To Take ‘Comp Time’ Instead Of Overtime Pay

CLEVELAND, OH —  A Cleveland police officer said in a lawsuit that city officials refused to pay time-and-a-half for overtime hours that he and other officers worked, and instead forced them to bank those hours. Jeffrey Kozma, a 20-year veteran officer, said he typically works more than 40 hours a week. But city officials required him and other officers to take “compensatory time off” even if they’d already accrued…

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Orem Residents Say No To Tax Increase, Yes To Funding First Responders

OREM, UT — Orem residents voicing concern about a proposed city property tax increase told the City Council at the Truth in Taxation hearing Tuesday that they would not like to see a tax increase, but want police and firefighters to get more pay. Comments from retired police officers, police and firefighter wives, council candidates and residents all agreed — whether they supported the tax increase or not —…

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Kansas City, Kansas Fire Department Offers Paid Program To Recruit Paramedics

KANSAS CITY, KS — The Kansas City, Kansas, Fire Department is starting a program to recruit more paramedics amid a national shortage. KCKFD Assistant Fire Chief Morris Letcher told 41 Action News the department is short about 20 paramedics right now. “Firefighting is more than just firefighing,” Letcher said. “We’re an EMS-based service, so we have to keep up with the times.” The application is extensive and open to…

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Baltimore City Fire Department To Send Fewer Trucks Out To Calls

BALTIMORE — Starting next month, the Baltimore City Fire Department will reduce the number of engines, trucks and battalion chiefs it sends out on any fire calls, in an attempt to have more units available for medical calls and other emergencies. Under the policy that takes effect Sept. 1, three engines, one truck and one battalion chief truck will respond to every fire call. Currently five engines, two trucks…

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Former Massachusetts Police Union President Used Dues As ‘Personal Piggy Bank,’ Feds Say

BOSTON – The former president of the Massachusetts state police union and the organization’s top lobbyist were arrested Wednesday in an alleged kickback and bribery scheme involving the misuse of thousands of dollars in union dues. Dana Pullman, ex-president of the State Police Association of Massachusetts, is accused of using the union’s debit card to pay for personal expenses. Feds said Pullman used the union’s bank account like his “own personal piggy bank,” embezzling…

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Arkansas Prison Sergeant Accused Of Stashing Drugs Inside Her Body

LITTLE ROCK, AR — According to Arkansas State Police, a sergeant at the Arkansas Department of Correction Cummins Unit was arrested on Tuesday. On Monday afternoon, 26-year-old Sergeant Tia Washington entered the Cummins Unit to report to work. She was searched and prison staff found an object in her duty belt containing 53 grams of what is believed to be marijuana or K2. Prison authorities contacted Special Agents of the…

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