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By September 15, 2016 Read More →

A Harsh Look at Police Union Contracts

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Recently, articles and opinion pieces that are critical of police union contracts they say are preventing bad officers from being fired or disciplined are popping up everywhere. The op-ed piece below, published in the New York Times, is just one among many we have seen in recent weeks.

If your group has developed any talking points or has written a rebuttal to these claims, please send them along and we will get them out to the PubSecAlliance community. Keep in mind that in order for our enemies to accomplish their goals of privatizing your job and controlling your pensions, they have to get the public sentiment building against you in these articles are certainly helping.

If there is anything here at PubSecAlliance we can do to help counter these claims, let us know and we will do our best to help you. It’s important to not be silent in the face of this tsunami of criticism. Write op-ed pieces, go on TV, do a podcast, anything to get your side of the story out.

Via the New York Times:

When Police Unions Impede Justice

Across the country, municipal governments have signed contracts with police unions including provisions that shield officers from punishment for brutal behavior as well as from legitimate complaints by the citizens they are supposed to serve.

That may soon change, as public outrage over police killings of civilians is ratcheting up pressure on elected officials to radically revise police contracts that make it almost impossible to bring officers to justice.

The most striking case in point is Chicago, which has been roiled by a police scandal stemming from a cover-up in the case of a 17-year-old named Laquan McDonald, who was executed by a police officer nearly two years ago.

The Police Department first claimed that Mr. McDonald was brandishing a knife and moving toward officers when he was killed. A video — probably available to the city within hours of the shooting but not made public until last November, more than a year later — showed that Mr. McDonald was moving away from the cops when they shot him 16 times, and that the police were obviously lying.

But it was not until last month that the city’s inspector general recommended firing several officers, some of whom have since retired, for making false statements.

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That recommendation was passed on to the police superintendent, Eddie Johnson. Mr. Johnson, who lacks the power to fire the officers outright, has filed administrative charges against five officers with an agency known as the Chicago Police Board, whose members are appointed by the mayor and confirmed by the City Council.

It is incredible that this is the first official disciplinary action taken against the officers, 22 months after the killing. And even if the board votes to dismiss the officers, they will be able to challenge their dismissals in court.

As a task force appointed by Chicago’s mayor, Rahm Emanuel, noted in April, “The collective bargaining agreements between the police unions and the city have essentially turned the code of silence into official policy.”

This absurdly slow process is a direct outgrowth of collective bargaining agreements that actually encourage officers to lie. The agreements bar investigators from questioning officers within the first 24 hours after a shooting, giving them time to coordinate their accounts. They micromanage investigations, limiting what interrogators can do. Beyond that, if an officer lies during an investigation, he or she cannot be charged with making a false statement unless the investigator presents the officer with a new set of allegations that specifically address the lie.

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