Township Not Allowed To Disband Police Department

On December 1, 2005, the Middlesex, Pennsylvania Township Board of Supervisors voted to disband its Police Department. The labor organization representing the Township’s police officers challenged the Township’s decision in arbitration.

An arbitrator upheld the grievance, and ordered the Township to reinstate all impacted employees with back pay. The Arbitrator’s decision turned on a staffing clause in the collective bargaining unit which required the Township to employ a complement of at least five full-time and one part-time hourly police officers as well as a police chief. In the Arbitrator’s eyes, though the Township might have the right in the abstract to disband its Police Department, once it agreed to a collective bargaining agreement with minimum staffing levels, it lost the right to eliminate the Department while the contract was pending.

Middlesex Township, Pennsylvania and Middlesex Township Wage and Policy Unit, LAIG 6442 (Miller, 2007).

This article appears in the June 2007 issue