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First Thursday, March 2016

Listen Will tackles a question on physical fitness standards testing and HIPAA When Must An Employer Bargain Over The ‘Effects’ Of A Management Right? El Dorado County Deputy Sheriff’s Association, 2016 WL 542342 (Cal. App. 2016) Ex-fire chief sues over firing, www.dailyastorian.com/Local_News/20160125/ex-fire-chief-sues-over-firing Court Reverses Trooper’s Suspension For Failing To Take Action, New Jersey State Police, 2016 WL 674191 (N.J. App. 2016) What Is Reasonable Notice Of Disciplinary Charges? Ellins…

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Filmmaker Urges Fans To Report Police Union Pres. For Cyber-Bullying

MIAMI, FL – Filmmaker Billy Corben has asked his thousands of fans to report the Miami Fraternal Order of Police Union president who blasted a woman’s actions on Facebook after she pulled over an officer for speeding. Corben, best known for his Miami-centric documentaries, The U and The U Part 2, as well as Cocaine Cowboys, called on his more than 43,000 Twitter followers to report Javier Ortiz to…

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Firefighter Suspended For Facebook Post Denouncing Narcan

WEYMOUTH, MA – A Weymouth firefighter has been suspended for 90 days without pay for a Facebook post that denounced the use of the overdose-reversing drug Narcan. The Facebook post—which has since been deleted but was captured by multiple Twitter and Facebook users—described Narcan as “the worst drug ever created.” It also called users of the drugs “losers.” Weymouth firefighter under fire for Facebook post criticizing Narcan https://t.co/jc1ALn3fEc #7News…

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Houston Suspended Four Firefighters for Facebook Posts About Union President

HOUSTON, TX – The end of Bryan Sky-Eagle’s short stint as president of the Houston Professional Fire Fighters Association did not seem like a particularly fun time for the union. Before Sky-Eagle resigned just 11 months into his three-year term as president in September 2014, the contract he’d negotiated with City Hall was rejected by a stunning 93 percent of his firefighters. Sky-Eagle sued the union’s umbrella organization, the…

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Officer Who Posted Threatening Tweets No Longer On Force

SAN JOSE, CA – A Northern California officer suspended for posting inflammatory comments on social media that were critical of vocal and sometime-violent police abuse demonstrations is no longer on the force. A San Jose Police Sgt. Enrique Garcia confirmed Thursday that Phillip White no longer works for the department but declined to say if he was fired or resigned. White didn’t return a phone call. The department suspended…

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Chicago Mayor Discusses “YouTube Effect” On Police

Last week, Mayor Rahm Emanuel joined other big city mayors and police chiefs in Washington, D.C., to discuss the violence plaguing their cities. One of the conclusions they drew is that the increase in violence is partly due to the decrease in policing. During the discussion in D.C., the many of the leaders, including Emanuel, agreed that part of the problem is the “YouTube effect,” meaning officers are less…

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Firefighter Suspended Over Racist Facebook Post

NEW HAVEN, CT – Fire Chief Allyn Wright Tuesday suspended for 15 days without pay a firefighter who allegedly posted a Facebook comment using the N-word. The firefighter, a lieutenant with 20 years on the job, will be suspended from Sept. 1 through Sept. 30, according to a general order Wright issued. Wright wrote that the lieutenant violated department rules “not limited to” Rule #16G, forbidding the use of…

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FOP Conference In Pittsburgh Dissects Increasing Use Of Social Media By Police Officers

PITTSBURGH, PA – As they faced off again Monday night in Ferguson, Mo., police joined protesters on social media to tweet about what was happening and to warn against violence. Some livestreamed developments on Periscope. Officers in Pittsburgh for the National Fraternal Order of Police Conference say departments across the country are trying to embrace social media. “We’re a small village in Ohio, and even we’re utilizing social media,”…

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Another Officer Loses His Job To Facebook

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL – A veteran Fort Lauderdale police officer’s comments on Facebook about black people have cost him his job. Former Patrol Officer Jeffery Feldewert, 45, wrote “Typical Hoodrat Behavior” in a Facebook post that also included a photograph of a black man being arrested by white police officers. A caption for the photo read, “BLACK PEOPLE. Because without them, the evening news wouldn’t be as much fun…

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First Thursday, July 2015

Topics discussed in this month’s podcast include: Supreme Court To Hear Case Threatening Public Employee Unions, Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association No Right For Non-Members To Vote On Contract, AFSCME Council 25 v. Yunkman, 2015 WL 3505668 (Mich. App. 2015) The Department of Labor Issues Draft FLSA Exemptions Regulation Health Care Cashback, Merit Pay Must Be Included In FLSA Overtime Rate, Callahan v. City of Sanger, 2015 WL 2455419…

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Another Officer Loses Her Job To Facebook

REYNOLDSBURG, OH – After months of investigation, a longtime Reynoldsburg police officer was fired last week. Conduct unbecoming. Two racially charged Facebook posts deemed beyond the pale. But the case against Officer Katherine Mielke was far more complex than that, investigative files reveal. Complaints and testimony released on Thursday by the city of Reynoldsburg show one officer complaining of a larger issue within the department. “Is the pigment of…

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Deputy Gets 30-Day Unpaid Suspension For Facebook Post

WARREN – A hearing officer has issued a 30-working-day unpaid suspension to a Trumbull County Sheriff’s deputy who purportedly wrote a Facebook post commenting on the man who died in police custody in Baltimore. Maj. Tom Stewart of the sheriff’s office served as hearing officer for an appeal by Deputy Michael Geer of a finding by Maj. Harold Firster that Geer should be fired for the comments. After a…

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Veteran Police Officer Could Be Fired For Racial Facebook Posts

IRONDEQUOIT, NY – Tough action is taken against a veteran Irondequoit police officer accused of posting racially offensive comments on Facebook. Local blogger, Davy V., first reported on the posts, March 19. The next day, the town put the officer on administrative leave and started an internal investigation. “The results of the investigation show that highly offensive and inappropriate comments were posted by a member of our police force,”…

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Seattle PD Now Posting Body Camera Video Online

SEATTLE, WA – The Seattle Police Department is receiving international attention this week after launching a new YouTube page showing videos from body cameras worn by officers. The police say that their goal is to restore public trust. They have about a dozen videos online at this point, but the department plans to upload videos daily once they get the kinks ironed out. “Citizens, as these cameras are used…

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First Thursday, March 2015

In this month’s podcast, Will discusses another public safety employee losing her job because of Facebook, two FLSA cases, an important firefighter staffing opinion and a new Weingarten case out of California Here are the case citations: Sergeant Loses Job Over Facebook ‘Rant’, Graziosi v. City of Greenville, Mississippi, 2015 WL 148998 (Fifth Cir. 2015) ‘Pure Gap Time’ Is Not Compensable Under The FLSA, Whenry v. Board of Commissioners,…

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Maryland Corrections Official Fired For Facebook Joke About Prison Guards

A high-ranking Maryland corrections official was fired Thursday for making “inappropriate comments” on Facebook about prison security guards, according to a Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services spokesman. Michael A. Allred was hired a few weeks ago to oversee the compilation of statistics and serve as the department’s liaison to the law enforcement community, said Gerard Shields, a department spokesman. On Wednesday, Shields said Allred accompanied the department’s…

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Cleveland Police Sergeant Sues City, Chief For Suspension Over Facebook

CLEVELAND, OH – A Cleveland police sergeant suspended for 10 days last year for comments he posted on his Facebook profile while off duty filed a federal lawsuit against Chief Calvin Williams and the city Wednesday, alleging the city’s policy on social media is unconstitutional. Johnny Hamm expressed his support for his fellow police officers in June 1 post, two days after Prosecutor Timothy McGinty’s May 30 announcement that…

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Tennessee Asst. Chief Posts Resignation On Facebook

LA VERGNE, TN – The assistant police chief of La Vergne announced his resignation through a lengthy post on his Facebook page. La Vergne Assistant Police Chief Keith Lowery handed in his gun and his badge after only a year and a day on the job. “He’s a man of implacable character and integrity,” La Vergne Police Chief Mike Walker said. Lowery posted the message on his Facebook page…

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Seattle Police Chief Says Crackdown On Cops’ Social Media Posts Needed

SEATTLE, WA – Seattle police chief Kathleen O’Toole has now placed a second officer on paid leave over racially charged social media posts she says have been “called into question.” “I think it was the totality of the circumstances and beyond the heels of other similar cases that we felt it was really important to not only investigate this big case but also the development of the new policy,”…

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Police Say Waze Cop-Tracker Is Threat To Officers

Sheriffs are campaigning to pressure Google Inc. to turn off a feature on its Waze traffic software that warns drivers when police are nearby. They say one of the technology industry’s most popular mobile apps could put officers’ lives in danger from would-be police killers who can find where their targets are parked. Waze, which Google purchased for $966 million in 2013, is a combination of GPS navigation and…

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Pittsburgh Police Chief Shuts Down Twitter Account After Photo Controversy

PITTSBURGH, PA – Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay has asked the city’s Office of Municipal Investigations to determine whether his use of social media violated any police bureau regulations. The request follows national attention sparked by controversy over a photograph posted on Facebook that showed Chief McLay holding an anti-racism sign on New Year’s Eve. Supporters on social media tweeted the photo with the hashtag ISupportChiefMcLay. The city’s police…

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Police Upset Over Social Media Posts That Target Officers

Is it free speech or a threat? Some current and former police officers are outraged about pages on one social media site that seem to encourage the killing of officers. CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov takes a look at them and at what the site is doing about it. They state things like, ‘cop lives don’t matter’, on group pages called things like “cop killer.” Facebook pages that seem to…

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Philly Firefighter’s Instagram Post About Police Causes Stir

PHThe city’s firefighters union has rebuked the actions of a paramedic who posted a photo on Instagram of two black men holding guns to a white police officer’s head. But if the paramedic, Marcell Salters, is fired, the union will appeal, an official said Friday. “The paramedic involved is sorry. He realizes it was inappropriate. He issued an apology,” said Joe Schulle, president of Fire Fighters Local 22. PHILADELPHIA,…

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Social Media Smackdown Roils Chattanooga Police Department

CHATTANOOGA, TN – A public squabble between a local activist and a Chattanooga police officer has sparked an internal affairs investigation and raised concerns among officers about their right to privacy. The incident started a week ago Thursday when Officer William Puckett and local activist Chris Brooks commented on a Facebook post about racial injustice. Puckett, who has been on the police force since 2002, made two comments that…

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No First Amendment Violation In Facebook Case

By Anil Karia Maria Gresham was employed by the City of Atlanta as a police officer. She maintained a Facebook page, set to “private,” that was available for viewing by a number of her “friends,” who could share her posts more widely. Gresham made critical comments on her Facebook page about a fellow Atlanta officer for allegedly unethically interfering with Gresham’s investigation of a person she had arrested for…

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