In Texas, an Arlington police union is suing the city of Arlington because of a new personnel policy.
The Arlington Police Department created a new policy in May prohibiting association members from meeting with new academy recruits while off-duty and outside city property.
The Arlington Municipal Patrolman’s Association, one of four police associations in Arlington, supports sworn-in and non-sworn-in police personnel that join. A main resource for members part of the association is legal representation, said Chris CeBallos, a board director for the association.
It’s none of the city’s business what he does or who he meets while off-duty, CeBallos said.
CeBallos attended a meeting with other members of local police associations to discuss this policy before it was passed. He said he disagreed with the policy, but the majority passed it anyway. He still disagrees with the rule.
“If we allow the city to control what we do off-duty for one policy, then there will be another and another and another,” CeBallos said. “That’s what we’re trying to avoid.”
Assistant city attorney Pamela Johnson said the city’s legal team is still determining their course of action. Arlington Police Department officials declined to comment.
Fort Worth lawyer Randall Moore, who works mainly with police officers, is representing the association. The next step in the legal process is for city attorneys to respond in a couple weeks, within the deadline, to the lawsuit.
Moore will argue the policy attacks a person’s constitutional rights.
“We’re talking about two fundamental rights here,” he said. “The right to assemble is one of our sacred constitutional rights — and the right to free speech.”