Police Union Contract Arbitration Requirements Keep Bad Cops On The Job

Police reform union arbitration

(Joe Burbank/Orlando Sentinel via AP)

By Martha Bellisle, AP

An Oregon police officer lost his job and then returned to work after fatally shooting an unarmed Black man in the back. A Florida sergeant was let go six times for using excessive force and stealing from suspects, while a Texas lieutenant was terminated five times after being accused of striking two women, making threatening calls and committing other infractions.

These officers and hundreds of others across the country were fired, sometimes repeatedly, for violating policies but got their jobs back after appealing their cases to an arbitrator who overturned their discipline — an all-too-common practice that some experts in law and in policing say stands in the way of real accountability.

“Arbitration inherently undermines police decisions,” said Michael Gennaco, a police reform expert and former federal civil rights prosecutor who specialized in police misconduct cases. “It’s dismaying to see arbitrators regularly putting people back to work.”

The killing of George Floyd at the hands of a Minneapolis police officer sparked weeks of protests and calls for reforms, but experts say arbitration can block those efforts.

Arbitration, the appeals process used by most law enforcement agencies, contributes to officer misconduct, limits public oversight and dampens morale, said Stephen Rushin, a Loyola University Chicago law professor who last year published a study on arbitration in the University of Pennsylvania Law Review.

“Police arbitration on appeal is one of the single most important accountability issues in the country,” he told The Associated Press. “You can’t change an organization if you have to keep employing people that you know are going to do bad things.”

Generally, when a misconduct complaint is filed against an officer, it’s investigated internally and if a policy violation occurred, the chief or other official may order discipline ranging from oral reprimand to suspension to termination.

An officer who objects can appeal to an arbitrator. Each state and municipality is different, but this is the most common process. Police unions argue that arbitration is less expensive and less time-consuming than going to court, so it’s written into their contracts.

Arbitrators are usually lawyers who focus on labor law, and in most cases they have the final word. The process can take years. Officers who are fired and reinstated can get back pay for the time they weren’t working.

The contract between the Seattle police union and the city states the burden of proof to fire an officer must be “more than preponderance of the evidence,” in cases for an offense that could “stigmatize” an officer and make it harder to get employment elsewhere.

This type of requirement is common, Gennaco said, adding, “The raised standard for termination cases is another example of a union contract that gives special rights to police.”

James Pasco, executive director of the National Fraternal Order of Police, which has 351,000 members, said management should do a better job when hiring officers.

“Rather than acknowledge their failure in recruiting and screening, they want to blame problem officers on the union contract,” Pasco said Monday. “If they did appropriate recruiting, training and supervision, we wouldn’t be in the position of using arbitration.”

It’s unclear whether some cases are overturned due to an arbitrator’s personal bias or flaws in the internal investigations, or both, said Rushin, the law professor.

One Seattle officer was fired for punching a handcuffed woman in his patrol car in 2014. He appealed, and the arbitrator reduced his punishment to a 15-day suspension. The city appealed in state court, and the judge reinstated his dismissal.

That’s unusual, Rushin said. More often, union agreements make the arbitrator’s decision final, and a court can’t overturn it.

Portland police protest antifa

Police officers face off against protesters. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Officials in Portland, Oregon, took their opposition to an arbitrator’s decision to the Oregon Court of Appeals but lost their bid to enforce the firing of Officer Ron Frashour.

Frashour and another officer had gone to the home of Aaron Campbell on Jan. 29, 2010, on a report that he was distraught over his brother’s death. The officers ordered Campbell to exit the home, and he came out unarmed, walking backward with his hands on his head. Frashour shot Campbell in his back, killing him.

Portland settled a federal lawsuit with the Campbell estate in 2012 for $1.2 million, and city officials fired Frashour, concluding Campbell didn’t pose a threat. But an arbitrator ruled in 2012 that the city must reinstate him. The city appealed and lost again.

San Antonio officials have repeatedly ordered discipline for Lt. Lee Rakun, but he successfully appealed his termination five times, according to reports. His most recent suspension occurred in 2018 for leaving work early and defying authority. He appealed that firing once again.

Rakun isn’t alone. San Antonio TV station KSAT found that two-thirds of fired officers had gotten their jobs back since 2010.

San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh said the current collective bargaining agreement limits the chief’s ability to appropriately discipline officers.

“We intend to bring those issues to the next contract negotiation with the police union,” he said. “I am hoping the police union will agree that these cases tarnish and impact the community’s confidence in our police department.”

A Florida police officer who was fired six times went back on patrol in 2018. An arbitrator ordered the Opa-locka Police Department to rehire Sgt. German Bosque after he was fired in 2013 for evidence tampering. A 2011 Sarasota Herald-Tribune report said Bosque had 40 internal affairs complaints, including 16 for battery or excessive force.

When an arbitrator changes the punishment or throws it out, it can have a demoralizing effect on the people in charge.

“One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from chiefs is they say why should an unelected arbitrator, who doesn’t know our department, doesn’t know our history, why should they be the one that gets to decide which type of punishment is excessive and which type of punishment is reasonable?” Rushin said.

No state or federal agency tracks arbitration outcomes, but media investigations have documented hundreds of officers who returned to work after being fired. A Washington Post report documented 1,881 officers who were fired between 2006 and 2016, and 451 got their jobs back through arbitration.

comments

  1. avatar jwm says:

    Honestly. I don’t care how good the pay and bennies are. I would not be a cop. Period. And why anybody would be a cop in a blue city is beyond me.

    1. avatar xyz says:

      In a word >> insecurity <<. They are unable to go it alone, either financially or socially. Some may very well have known mental concerns that are cared for by the medical coverage the job offers.

      1. avatar Joseph says:

        Are you a cop, a psychiatrist, psychologist, or just an internet dumb ass?

        1. avatar Hans says:

          Joe, no is just the last three in the alphabet.

    2. avatar Alexander says:

      Some people just want power. Some are willing to earn it through their brains, work and perseverance; others choose an easier route – through the power of a department-issued gun. Those are the bad apples. Very bad, in fact. And there are a lot of them.

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Is anyone really surprised that a union would get these terms in a contract.
        Any Union. These are standard clauses in union contracts. Teachers, Government employees, Labor unions. Used to protect workers. Specifically Bad Workers in order to protect their income from dues. Everyone knows the bad and even dangerous worker. Whose still around because the Union fights to keep them on their gravy train. Does anyone speak up saying this person is worthless or dangerous. Not likely because that would mean going against the “Union”. I’m Not defending the actions of Bad Cops and Yes there are Bad Cops. I also know you don’t want to be the person who goes against the “Union”. Unless you really don’t need your job.

      2. avatar Cliff H says:

        Recently reported on Breitbart that in New York City 250 criminals were released from Riker’s Island during the COVID scare and they have been re-arrested a total of 450 times since then.

        If there are no consequences for bad behavior where is the disincentive to bad behavior?

        If LEOs can get FIRED time after time for bad behavior and have union arbitration FORCE the city to put them back on the job then there is no incentive for them to change the behaviors that get them fired.

        Things happen when you are in stressful situations and that is what investigations and arbitration are there to handle, but I am reminded of a quote from Justified:

        “If you meet an asshole in the morning, you’ve met an asshole. If you meet assholes all day maybe YOU”RE the asshole.” – Raylan Givens

        I would suggest that if you’re a cop and you’ve been fired 5 or 6 times for excessive force or other violence-related issues on the job, maybe YOU’RE the asshole.

    3. avatar BusyBeef says:

      I live in NYS. All of my friends who are cops are cops because they get exempted from the SAFE Act.
      That’s literally the only reason.

  2. avatar Chris T in KY says:

    Liberals will always support government labor unions.

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Clearly not the case in “blue” cities in 2020. The prog mayors across the country are destroying their popo without any due process (or intelligent though) and allowing terrorist to destroy their cities.

      1. avatar Chris T in KY says:

        They support the union. Not the cops. The union with the support of liberals keeps bad cops on the force. Liberals like getting the union vote. Liberals run these blue cities on fire. They make the rules and keep bad cops on duty.

  3. avatar Scott C. says:

    Seriously, police who break the law should be fired and go to jail like anyone else. Yes, give them due process and a trial (using a lawyer they have to pay for, not the tax payers) but if found guilty, go to jail. Get rid of qualified immunity, and any reparations or settlements should be taken from that officers pension and his estate, not the tax payers.

  4. avatar Green Mtn. Boy says:

    Wrong,Bad cop = FIRED. same for any other job or ocuppation.

  5. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    Wait just a cotton-pickin’ minute. Are you telling me that unions make it extremely difficult to fire bad apples, even really bad apples?!?!?!? I am shocked — SHOCKED — I tell you!!!

    That is the single reason that I tend to oppose unions. Otherwise, I would support unions.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Big time agree. They really do keep some shitbags. I had a 2 year experience with a union job after I got out of the Army, just looking for something with a decent schedule that I would allow me to attend trade school, and it was hell. Never again.

    2. avatar Southern Cross says:

      It’s also demoralizing to the officers who are trying to do the right thing see the bad cops not only go unpunished but a even rewarded for their behavior.

  6. avatar Chris Morton says:

    The purpose of Black Lives Matter is to render young, Black, male felons totally unaccountable for their actions.

    The purpose of police unions is to render felons with badges totally unaccountable for their actions.

    They’re merely different groups of sociopaths with different constituencies. Their goals are the same, to make sure that their constituents can continue to prey on the public at large with impunity.

    1. avatar Umm . . . says:

      Your analogy is one of the most insightful comments I’ve read in a long time.

      1. This should give a clue as to the agenda of Black Lives Matter.

        http://twitter.com/tariqnasheed/status/1272447105877983232

  7. avatar Matt from Ohio says:

    Arbitrators are typically selected from an odd number panel of names generated by a paid service where each side alternately strikes a name until only one is left. Arbitrators regularly upholding discipline are struck by the Union. Arbitrators regularly overturning disciple are struck by the employer. You are left with Mr. Wishy-washy who upholds some and overturns some but more often modifies the discipline down so both sides feel like at least they got something out of it. Arbitrators that do not do this are rarely chosen to hear a case. It serves their best financial interest to split the baby so to speak so they keep getting selected. I wish I had the solution but that is one problem with the current system. The second problem is that decisions of arbitrators are virtually unappealable to court. Third and finally is that arbitrators do not have to follow legal precedents, arbitral precedents or even applicable laws.

    1. avatar Montana Actual says:

      Sounds to me like the solution is to remove the baby from the unfit parents.

  8. avatar A Retired Police Officer says:

    Maybe in the more egregious cases if the FBI investigated and DOJ prosecuted the rogue officers, that would be a better deterrent to such outrageous behavior and the attitude of impunity.

    18 U.S. Code § 242. Deprivation of rights under color of law

    Whoever, under color of any law, statute, ordinance, regulation, or custom, willfully subjects any person in any State, Territory, Commonwealth, Possession, or District to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured or protected by the Constitution or laws of the United States, or to different punishments, pains, or penalties, on account of such person being an alien, or by reason of his color, or race, than are prescribed for the punishment of citizens, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than one year, or both; and if bodily injury results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include the use, attempted use, or threatened use of a dangerous weapon, explosives, or fire, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than ten years, or both; and if death results from the acts committed in violation of this section or if such acts include kidnapping or an attempt to kidnap, aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to commit aggravated sexual abuse, or an attempt to kill, shall be fined under this title, or imprisoned for any term of years or for life, or both, or may be sentenced to death.

  9. avatar Red in CO says:

    Wow, ok. So that Florida cop referenced TAMPERED WITH EVIDENCE (which is a felony if the unwashed masses do it) and was reinstated as a cop? Possibly with back pay? It’s no wonder police routinely act like they’re above the law, when they objectively are

  10. avatar Keyword Spam says:

    END qualified immunity.
    END all public-sector labor unions.
    END the 1033 program that gives away military hardware to law enforcement (What the fuck does Podunk, Iowa need with an MRAP?)
    END no-knock raids.
    MANDATE increased physical, mental, and psychological standards for law enforcement personnel.
    MANDATE body camera surveillance on all law enforcement at all times while on the clock.
    FORBID law enforcement personnel from acting as such while off-duty.
    MANDATE all police cruisers be clearly identifiable as such. (Hi-visibility decals, visible, roof-mounted light bars, etc. No more slick-tops. No more ghost decals)
    FORBID law enforcement from using any equipment not available to local citizens through normal means. (This means no NFA items, no automatic weapons, and if there are stricter local rules regarding firearms, the officers must abide by them)
    REQUIRE training of all law enforcement officers on de-escalation, and test frequently.
    REMOVE any maximum intelligence restrictions for law enforcement personnel

    And let’s make something painfully clear for any Blue Lives bootlickers running around here. If you’re a “good cop” that says nothing about the bad cops, YOU’RE A BAD COP.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Better yet Spam, Why don’t you put away the Red Bull, Cheese Doodles, and Pop Tarts, crawl out of your parent’s basement, sack up, step up, and see if you have what it takes to complete a police academy and become a shining example of what a cop should be.

      You might find it more rewarding that being a keyboard commando or a troll. You seem to have all the answers, but none of the intestinal fortitude required to effect real change.

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        Oh shut the fuck up. Literally everything that was mentioned was a GREAT idea. There was nothing even knocking police. You fucking boot lickers are a problem. You are seeing REAL change right before your eyes, whether we like how it’s being made or not. Why don’t you grow a fucken sack and quit with the accusations, and hypocrisy that you are in fact the “keyboard commando”. Fucking punk.

        1. avatar Anonymous says:

          Hanna Montana, all of those clever buzzphrases spamword offered have nothing to do with the real problem. For example, no one has ever had their rights violated by a police MRAP. Requiring cars to be marked doesn’t protect Civil rights either. Spamword just has some personal axes to grind and is using the anonymity of the internet to do it.
          Internet whiners are a lot like crickets, they make a lot of noise, but if you walk up on one they STFU and hide.
          You know, If you were twice as smart as you think you are you would still only be half as smart as you really are. In fact, if stupid ever goes of to 5 bucks a barrel, I’d be interested in buying the drilling rights to your head. Besides there is a pretty good chance that you are just one of Spamword’s sock-puppets.

        2. avatar Montana Actual says:

          No shit requiring cars doesn’t change civil rights… idiot. It simply identifies them as police. How tf did you associate that with civil rights? You just criticized someone for sharing their opinion anonymously when your fucking name is Anonymous… You are just talking out of your asshole with assumptions and facebook style rants. Nothing you said means anything, especially not your whole drillbit confucius say crap. C’mon man, just zip it. I get it, nobody likes being told they need to chill out and step back, shut the fuck up and breathe for a minute, but that’s what you should do.

        3. avatar Montana Actual says:

          *requiring cars to be marked

        4. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

          Oh lots of peoples rights have been violated with an MRAP one example that really sticks out in my head is when they used it on an old couple. This of course was to enforce Government Sanctioned Extortion / Robbery. But since it’s not happening to you it’s ok I suppose.

          Really hope you travel southwest a lot with lots of cash. Asset forfeiture would be perfect for a fool like you.

      2. avatar Stan says:

        This is a stupid comment. He is suggesting reforms to police policy and procedures. You are deflecting and ignoring his suggestions. Man up and engage if you disagree, but don’t tell him what HE should do. Worry about what YOU are doing.

      3. avatar Keyword Spam says:

        What’s shoe leather taste like? You seem to be quite the connoisseur.

    2. avatar Darkman says:

      Being from Podunk Iowa and Proud of it. Fuck You and the Horse you rode in on. And the little dog that followed you. Sorry had to get that off my chest. Now to the purpose of this comment. I’ve been on the scene of an armed standoff against high caliber weapons. You damn well better have Armour or your ass is toast. These are nothing more than tools. Like the firearms people own and use lawfully. Saying So in So doesn’t needs this or that. Is no better than someone saying you don’t NEED a firearm. It comes down to responsibility. Are there people doing bad things. Yes and they should be punished. Don’t blame the tool. Blame the People running the System. All the Systems. From Unions, Lawyers, Judges and Prosecutors. All the way to the Politicians. They all play the system because. It’s Their Game. Their Rules. Only by holding them responsible will anything change. Which requires paying attention and getting involved. Remember We were given a Republic. If We can keep it.

      1. avatar Montana Actual says:

        Ok Ok Calm down. People cannot even mention decent reform plans without the boot lickers, like Anonymous in the above comment, coming out of the wood works associating them with ANTIFA residents of chaz. But in all fairness, nobody said anything about body armor…. he said MRAPS and other military equipment. Will there be compromises? Yes, obviously. You said it yourself, you have been on the “other end” and violence requires a violent response. I agree the “podunk from Iowa” was out of line and more of a stereotype, and you are correct in saying it’s no different than limiting civilians, but there has to be a compromise if reform for misconduct is going to happen. Whether we like it or not, change is happening. It’s pretty obvious most of us disagree with the way it’s happening and the hijacking of such a cause being turned into a race debate, but it’s still happening. I honestly agree with most of what was outlined. It’s true that police exist to enforce laws, which can be unconstitutional, on “free” people. They need to be put in check. I don’t think cities should burn to prove it, but I cannot argue that it’s effective. That said… I don’t think Anonymous is saying anything like “ACAB” at all, so lets try to look at it objectively. Honestly, the only thing I disagree with is the “off duty” one, and the military hardware leaves room to interpretation. That said, I HIGHLY agree with all police cruisers be clearly identifiable, and even their uniforms. No more plain clothes, no more entrapment setups, no more tyranny. Police need to be put in check, and that’s why they are refusing to act right now, because they know it and they know both sides know it too. Still, the majority of good people on the forces obviously outweigh the shitbags, but a reminder of their position and what they swore an oath to needs to happen regardless.

        1. avatar Darkman says:

          To clarify. MRAPS was what I was talking about. Just another tool.

      2. avatar Stan says:

        Wow, your reading comprehension and reasoning are really pathetic. His suggestions were pretty good. The bottom line to all the suggestions is police should not and must not be given rights and privileges beyond the citizens they police. Got a problem with that?

    3. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      “….FORBID law enforcement from using any equipment not available to local citizens through normal means. (This means no NFA items, no automatic weapons, and if there are stricter local rules regarding firearms, the officers must abide by them)….”

      I agree with this but with caveats…

      NFA items must be acquired using the same method that I or anyone else would use. The armorer of the agency can have a Class III. Full fair market civilian price paid including the stupid tax stamp, no freebes or equipment grants. No NFA item can be purchased via tax payer budget money. Do cookie sells, car washes, …whatever… to raise the money.

    4. avatar Ed Earl says:

      The MSM gives a false impression on the state of police work. In the United States, there are nearly a million police officers who have over 400 million interactions with the public annually. That is well over a MILLION contacts per day nationwide 24/7/365. Think just for a minute, or get out your calculator and figure out how many of those contacts would have to involve law violations or brutality by cops in order to reach a statistically significant number that would reasonable support sanctions against the entire profession.
      Or,
      You could gather all of the examples of Use of Force incidents by police that could be compiled from police reports, news sources, You Tube or elsewhere, subtract the uses of force that were undisputably justifiable due to circumstances as well as those where false accusations were made,, then calculate the number of occurrences per officer or per contact. (Even using broad definitions for the term “police violence”) you will find that hard statistical evidence that would support a claim that unlawful police violence against citizens is a “systemic problem” is just not supported by the evidence.

      When police officers do wrong they should be punished. BUT, Punishing or restricting all police officers for the behavior of a microscopically small group of bad actors is not justifiable and it doesn’t make sense.

      1. avatar Umm . . . says:

        Ed Earl,
        You make some good points, but which of Spam’s recommendations (to put police on an equal footing with every free citizen of the Republic, just like it says in the Constitution) constitutes “punishing or restricting”?

        1. avatar EdEarl says:

          I’ll respond to that later this am. When I have a few minutes

        2. avatar Greg says:

          Those protections are there because they are required to engage situations that other citizens are not. Other citizens are not required to face bank robbers, murderers, wife beaters, child abusers, or PCP users on a daily basis. These are situations most citizens cannot fathom beyond watching it on tv. You take away the protections and tools that allow them to effectively deal with these situations and no one will ever agree to do the job which I believe is your goal. If your goal is police abolishment then just say it instead of hiding behind a call for crippling reforms

        3. avatar Umm . . . says:

          I am not “most citizens”. I served in Iraq and Afghanistan, where soldiers and Marines operated daily under much more arduous conditions without unions. Nothing made up in the sixties is “required” or Constitutional.

          I’m not actually for abolition of the police, or even “demilitarization”. I don’t particularly care for their “I’m a bootcamp E1 in the service of some insignificant municipality, and therefore an Authority Figure” mindset, but I still like them much more than criminals.

          My only real problem with police is more or less the opposite of “militarization” – their overwhelming preference for harassing natural-law-abiding citizens for petty regulatory administrivia and busybody-neighbor calls rather than fighting actual crime.

        4. avatar Greg says:

          Yeah, I definitely don’t need a lecture from you about you about conditions overseas, 11B 82nd Airborne. Inner city patrol officers may not get into fire fights everyday but the stressors are the same.
          Sounds like your concerns are mostly that of small towns, big cities, inner cities are constantly fighting “real crime” that’s why property crime calls hold for hours and hours. Go lecture the busy bodies about frivolously calling the police. Police are required to show up when called. If you think they want to or give a shit about their stupid non-criminal matters then you’ve never actually talked to any cops.

        5. avatar Umm . . . says:

          I live in a big city and have talked to real cops – for the handful of minutes they could be bothered to pretend to care about a major burglary (including guns) on one occasion, and thefts on two others.

          I had no problem holding one “hero in blue’s” attention (in crime-ridden ghetto National City) for twice as long as all three of the above actual crimes combined, after I swerved momentarily across a yellow line (no traffic in the opposite direction) to avoid a prominent sideview mirror while legally lanesplitting at 15mph. He had no problem lying in court about the law to secure a conviction, either. I guess there are some things worth compromising even the noblest public servants’ personal integrity over, and fining the perpetrators of meaningless traffic BS is in the forefront of those!

          I also had a suburban sheriff’s deputy “give a shit about their stupid non-criminal matters” for about two hours when a local Karen mistook me for one of the couple arguing next door – because apparently raising one’s voice in the course of resolving marital grievances constituted probable cause that a crime had been committed. I had some legal but “interesting” guns and kits around the house, and didn’t want to take my chances I’d get them back if I demanded a warrant, so I got to take him on a complete tour of every single thing I owned, establishing to his satisfaction there was nowhere in the house and multiple outbuildings I could be hiding a woman. First minute – busybody’s fault. Subsequent hour and 59 – his.

        6. avatar Greg says:

          Ah… I should have known that your animosity was based an a couple of personal anecdotes where everyone else was wrong and you were just minding your own business. I won’t argue about events that I was not present but I’ll wager there a bit more to your stories than you let on. Someone else made reference to the quote here in the comments but to summarize, if every cop you meet is a statist bully and an asshole, maybe you only need look in the mirror.

        7. avatar Umm . . . says:

          I agree it’s pointless to discuss the anecdotes with you, and no argument that will shake you from your badge worship.

          In reality, it’s categorical: there are a few dozen legitimate laws, and tens of thousands which outlaw behavior that is neither harmful nor wrong. Anyone who would dedicate his life to enforcing them (the “felony” of shortening a shotgun barrel from 18″ to 17.99″; handing out speeding tickets while a single murder or rape remains unsolved, etc.) is a far greater threat to citizen liberties than any mere thug. Thank you for the thought-provoking reminder!

        8. avatar vanareb says:

          As Promised:
          These popular proposed solutions are for the most part reactionary and ill-conceived. Despite what you might read on Facebook, they are based upon an extremely small number of officers and incidents.

          End Qualified Immunity: Most people misunderstand exactly what qualified immunity is or is for. It does not grant police officers immunity from all suits or prosecution. Qualified immunity does not protect a cop who knowingly violates clearly established rights or laws. Qualified immunity is a steep mountain and the burden of proof is squarely on the officer. It is often asserted but very rarely granted. In cases where it is granted it usually only applies to a part of the allegations made. It protects officers from being sued for honest mistakes. For a simplified example let’s say cop writes a ticket for no driver’s license. The driver does not have his license in his possession and the computers are down so he can’t verify the driver’s information. The officer then takes the driver into physical custody and tows his car, If the driver should file a suit for false arrest because he actually had a driver’s license, the cop would be entitled to qualified immunity. If it was determined that the computers were actually up and the cop didn’t bother to check, then he would not be entitled to qualified immunity. Qualified immunity is not the “get out of Jail free card for cops” it is portrayed to be.

          End Public Sector Labor Unions: Why should cops be denied the right to bargain collectively for wages and benefits, like a school teacher any other free American Citizen?

          End The 1033 Program/forbid law enforcement from using any equipment not available to local citizens through normal means: The idea that Police officers should be denied defensive equipment like ballistic helmets and armored vehicles doesn’t make much sense when they are the folks that we expect to handle armed conflicts with criminals in the public sector. Such encounters are not like boxing matches where everyone wears the same weight gloves in front of a referee. Cops are expected to use overwhelming force, when necessary to end such confrontations as quickly as possible. It doesn’t make much sense to deny them NFA items like flash-bangs when those items tend to reduce the need for lethal force. The 1033 program saves money by repurposing needed equipment, that has already been purchased at the taxpayers’ expense, so it doesn’t have to be sold as scrap. Some may be offended by the appearance of an MRAP, but many are also offended by civilian ownership of those Scary Black Rifles.

          Mandate Increased Physical, Mental, and Psychological Standards for Law-Enforcement Personnel? No need to consider that till some agreement can be found is what those standards might be. Citing both mental and psychological standards seems redundant.

          Mandate Body Camera Surveillance on All Law Enforcement Officers At All Times While On The Clock: Mandating body cameras sounds like a good idea as long as you remember that they rarely tell the whole story. The NFL uses multiple Hi-Def Cameras from all angles including overhead views, under optimum lighting conditions on a contrasting playing field. Even so disputed plays are still argued about for weeks, months and years after the game is over. One downside to body cameras is that the long-term digital storage on secured servers is unbelievably expensive. With few exceptions, existing body camera programs have actually proved that the perceptions that led to their use were largely incorrect. Requiring cameras be on “at all times while on the clock” would include videotaping bathroom breaks and violate patient privacy laws in emergency rooms, mental health facilities, etc.

          End No-Knock Raids: No knock raids are not really all that common. They may be overused, but they require judicial approval after a clear and convincing statement of probable cause and need, made under oath before a judge. Cops are already accountable for false statements under these circumstances

          Forbid Law Enforcement Officers from Acting as Such While Off-Duty: Off Duty officers’ function as a personnel multiplier and complaints regarding off duty conduct are exceedingly rare. Most Department policies require that officers respond to emergencies and act in their official capacity while technically off duty.

          Mandate All Police Cruisers Be Clearly Identifiable As Such: Doing away with plainclothes officers and unmarked units would make it impossible for cops surveil and detect criminal activity. I don’t see a convincing argument as to why “ghost decals” or concealed light bars somehow violate anyone’s rights.

          Require Training of All Law Enforcement Officers on De-Escalation and Test Frequently : de-escalation training ignores the fact that the vast majority of cops are excellent at de-escalating tense situations. A cop can offer a suspect a persuasive opportunity to de-escalate but it is ALWAYS THE SUSPECT’S DECISION. Many suspects either are under the influence of mood-altering substances or are having a mental health crisis. Under those circumstances they may lack the capacity to decide that de-escalation is in their best interests. Unfortunately, if a suspect is refusing to de-escalate, no amount of training will help and force may be required. If Rayshard Brooks had submitted to custody when he was told he was under arrest, instead of fighting and grabbing a TASER, he would have been handcuffed and taken to jail where he would have been admitted to bail, (probably O.R.) until court. He would also still be alive. Perhaps citizens should be trained to de-escalate themselves, because almost 100% of the time, if they cooperate, they reduce the likelihood that force will be used against them. They look better in court when they plead their case. A cooperative attitude will frequently result in a lesser sentence even if they are guilty, and all of those telephone videos will prove their cooperation and compliance, in both criminal court and a civil suit.

          Remove Any Maximum Intelligence Restrictions for Law Enforcement Personnel:
          No one is using maximum intelligence restrictions on candidates and haven’t for years. But many companies do use them because they know that if someone is over-qualified for a position, they are unlikely to remain in the job. Hiring overqualified people actually wastes training dollars. For example, no one in their right mind would hire a master electrician to sweep up on a a job site or hire a veterinarian to clean dog pens.

          If you ever run across a cop willing to lick anyone’s boots he is probably wearing a costume rather than a uniform.

          Many state laws already require police officers to report illegal activity or policy violations occurring in their presence. Many States also maintain a database of cops who have lost their certification for cause or resigned their position while under investigation. That probably should be required in all states.

          I find it interesting that when our educational system has problems the solution is always throw more tax dollars at it so we can get better. But the same people who believe that law enforcement have problems want to defund it.

          If you think that it’s hard to fire a cop, try to fire a tenured schoolteacher.

        9. avatar Umm . . . says:

          No one has a “right” to organize in opposition to the PUBLIC interest (seditious treason). You raised a great example of why: education – one of the most crucial foundations of our society, involving the segment of the population least at risk from COVID – is at the bottom of the “vital” list as long as union trash retain the “right” to extort full pay indefinitely for doing nothing.

  11. avatar strych9 says:

    Public sector unions are an abomination.

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      All Unions. You shouldn’t be prejudice. They outlived their usefulness long ago. When they became a Cash Cow for the democrat party and their leadership.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        I’ll trade the death of all public sector unions for the continuation of private ones. The former is demonstrably more dangerous than the latter, especially once they get enough power because then they control both sides of the bargaining table in a way private unions can only dream of.

        Besides, if we actually kill of public unions we can mop up the rest later.

      2. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

        “All Unions. You shouldn’t be prejudice.”

        Two words – Coal miners….

      3. avatar jwm says:

        The problem with doing in all unions is real simple. Money. The working class American alone, without the union backing, has no chance against corporate America and their billions.

        All the health and safety regs are in the way of profits. We would basically be turning the clock back for the worker about a century and then some. 8 hour work day. weekends off. Decent wages. All goes right after the unions.

        Unions are corrupt. But so are corporations.

        1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

          Preach! But your words fall on deaf ears. We would be stuck in the equivalent of minimum wage sweatshops had Unions not come along. Many here seem they would rather work long hours for minimum wage.

          I say they lead by example before we start eliminating Unions.

        2. avatar strych9 says:

          I simply don’t believe that companies would go back to 1800’s working conditions.

          They would have a supply of exactly 0 workers at that point.

          However, I do note that it would make bargaining significantly more difficult.

          That said, I highly question the value of unions. Baggage handlers unions made an impression on me when I was young. Demanding so much that the company goes bankrupt while union bosses get rich seems like a suckers game. At least working for myself I know I get paid SOMETHING.

          As a welder I avoided them specifically because it was known that if you joined one at 18 you wouldn’t get much work until you were 35 by which time you’d probably have forgotten half of what you knew about welding. Union demands, mainly about sending three to five guys to do a single guy’s job and then allowing them to milk the clock meant that not too many places want union welders. Due to seniority all the old guys got the jobs while the young guys cooled their heals at the union building and collected unemployment checks to cover the fact that they never actually worked. That sounds like pyramid scheme to me.

          Perhaps that different for some people, occupations or localities. I don’t claim to have lived everywhere and seen every welding union in the country. But considering I can crank out over $2000 in profit from my garage in a lazy weekend I don’t see why I need a union in the first place.

        3. avatar jwm says:

          S9. What would stop them? Their sense of ethics and honor? As far as workers go, how many are working out of boredom? It’s called need. It’s why we all work. Or in my case worked before retirement.

          Wealthy elites like bloomberg and soros loose in DC with buckets of money and nothing to counter them?

        4. avatar strych9 says:

          What would stop them?

          People with an education, skills and most importantly a willingness to get shit done right and on time even when that sucks?

          I mean, I’m sorry but I know a lot of the union guys. Lazy and proud of it. Mostly alcoholics and drug abusers (not users, abusers). Without a union they’d never have any work.

          And I’m gonna cut it right there or it’s going to turn into a rant. Either way, I take those people’s jobs on the regular as a side hustle because… I show up and get it done on time. They don’t.

        5. avatar jwm says:

          S9. Those people with skills and education are on a fairly level playing field because of a couple of generations of unions changing the climate for the workers. The minute that last union dies the money flows to turn it around again.

          An educated, skilled worker is just one man. Living on a wage. He faces corporations living on billions. And the next generation will have less education because the corporations wish it so.

          Your ability to make a couple of grand over a week end will last how long once the corporations are able to return to chinese level sweat shops in your local area? Look at how fast and hard wal mart screwed main street America. That will happen in all industries once the unions die.

    2. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Not wild about unions in general, but public sector unions need to be outlawed. It isn’t just the police unions, it is all public sector unions. It isn’t like a private sector union where there are stock holders to satisfy, the politicians just pass along the bill to the tax payers and get grift in the form of campaign contributions from the unions.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Exactly.

        Well, that and the pols give the union practically anything else they want in return for donations and votes.

    3. avatar Montana Actual says:

      ALL UNIONS!!!

      No Unions Matter.

      No? Too soon?

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        There’s are reasons I didn’t join a union during my stint as a welder, and not just because their seniority system is bullshit if you have any talent or skill at the job.

        However, nasty as a private sector union can be ultimately it can never become the leviathan the the public sector unions become overnight. Both are parasites in this day and age but the public sector has a host that cannot die or even truly be harmed; the government. That’s a serious problem in that there is zero reason for them to reform or do much of anything useful.

        At least, damaging as it might be, private sector unions are ultimately self-limiting. If they kill the companies then the union itself dies. At some point it has an incentive to bargain in good faith, something public sector unions never have.

        1. avatar Geoff "Guns. LOTS of guns..." PR says:

          At one time, unions served a legitimate purpose for the workers. The labor practices 100 years back in coal mining is proof of that.

          But then something happend…

          OSHA stepped in and eliminated the most egregious abuses, and forced the companies to be proactive on safety measures. They have become the overseer of basic worker rights, and they should have…

        2. avatar Montana Actual says:

          I watched a video where a WWII survivor, an older German woman, referred to OSHA the same way Nazi Germany would regulate their workplaces. Made sense. Granted, we can’t exactly have 5 year olds working in the mines for a days worth of biscuits and berries…

    4. avatar Umm . . . says:

      strych9,
      I agree with you completely. I don’t care much for industrial unions, whose insistence on their “right” to comfortably upper-middle-class compensation (for labor that is often objectively less demanding than entry-level restaurant or retail work) gutted the US manufacturing base – but I can certainly understand them. I cannot deny the right of one group of private interests to organize against another (as long as they’re held to the same antitrust laws).

      Organizing to oppose the PUBLIC interest, on the other hand, is treason and should be dealt with accordingly.

      1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

        Glad to see both of you want to work in the trades for minimum wage and long hours.

        When will you be starting?

        1. avatar Umm . . . says:

          I started at a rather low wage indeed. Long hours? The eight-hour workday is not some sort of natural right, but a transparent ploy for time and a half. As a lifelong member of the leadership / “evil oppressor class”, the only time I ever worked as FEW as eight hours a day was as a special treat (e.g the Friday before a holiday weekend, etc.). I often STARTED getting real work done after I sent the “guys who worked for a living” home at the eight-hour point.

          I’m reasonably comfortable now, purely through merit and hard work in a career open to every American citizen. You want a third vehicle, a vacation home, an inground pool, a big gun safe? Pursue education. Accept leadership responsibilities; excel in those roles, and gradually work your way up to something bigger and better. Forgo momentary pleasures to invest your pay instead. Invent a new product or service.

          Refuse to do ANY of those things; keep pulling a lever on an assembly line (like any 17 y/o dropout could do) without EVER mastering higher skills or accepting greater responsibilities, and expect an ever-increasing payscale solely because of the amount of O2 you’ve processed into CO2 and/or the number of other drudges who’ll put their tools away if you don’t? The current US minimum wage is far too generous for you. Waitresses and fruit-pickers work their butts off for that!

        2. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

          Show me one non union shop in any skilled trade that pays or has benefits substantially lower than the union shops. You can’t. Non union shops exist along side of union shops, and out compete union shops all over the US. They they get most of the employees and most of the business because their pay and benefits are better than union shops and so is their work and customer service. Unions are dying in the trades because they don’t do anything they purport to do and they do kill the companies their members work for.

          Outside of the trades, in healthcare, everyplace I have worked that had a union had way lower pay and worse benefits than non union facilities. The only people working there were a few local townies who didn’t want to drive to a higher paying non union facility in another town, and agency/travelers like me who were making 3 times what the townies were for 13 week contracts. Most union healthcare facilities run 50% or more agency and travelers as staff, and we don’t have anything to do with their piss ant unions.

          Public sector unions are the only place where they are still going strong because their existence is mandated by law and people are forced to join whether they want to or not.

        3. avatar Montana Actual says:

          They also get more employees because the applicants know the union won’t be raping their paychecks. Union jobs force you to pay their dues, which if you are just starting out at a job, how can you possibly pay your bills and union dues, they force you to pay for their healthcare, their plans, etc etc… I get so tired of hearing people rant about not having affordable health care. They must just not have jobs. Now if you were to mention serious medical condition costs, then yea, that gets expensive and it should not be… but no union is any better at anything. They simply exists to represent people who are too dumb or inexperienced to negotiate their own salary and find their own benefits. They are organized crime basically…. Jimmy Hoffa anyone?

  12. avatar BWGRP says:

    Why is this article here, this is not gun news, a gun review or have a thing to do with GUNS!!! Lets keep it to guns.

  13. avatar Ed earl says:

    The arbitration process Is what keeps cops from suing their employers back to the Stone Age. If they could go to court over a wrongful discipline or termination they could receive hefty punitive damages in addition to back pay and return to work.

  14. avatar enuf says:

    There was one in Chandler, AZ some time back, an officer killed two people and cost the city somewhere over $5 million in wrongful death settlements. Fired and tried and appealed and argued too and a “Merit Commission” ordered the city to reinstate him. The city told the Merit Commission to go pound sound.

    So, after disobeying a direct order, violating department pursuit policy that caused the death of a 19 year old innocent citizen and then killing a fleeing woman by shooting her in the back, the bullet fired over her baby in a baby seat in her car, he not only avoids jail time but is supposed to get his job and back pay restored?

    Screw that, to this day he’s a prison guard in another county.

    Whch puts him on the wrong side of the bars as I see things.

  15. avatar Montana Actual says:

    When a soldier is found guilty of a wrongful killing, they go to prison. Why the fuck are cops able to just get off for all this shit?

    End internal investigations. If a cop is found guilty of misconduct, they should be tried the same way ANYONE else should be.

    1. avatar Darkman says:

      Thank The “Union” and the Politicians who make the Laws. Allowing it all to happen.

  16. avatar GS650G says:

    We taxpayers don’t get anywhere near this level of support if we need to put down a violent criminal. We won’t get any breaks when we face the mind and riots. Is this the price we pay for policing?

    Seems so.

  17. avatar Dog of War says:

    This headline immediately makes me think of that waste of skin that simply hid instead of attempting to confront that POS at the center of the Parkland School shooting.

  18. avatar Shire-man says:

    You’d think if you were had any dignity or pride at all you wouldn’t go crying to mommy when you got rightfully called out for your screw up.

    But I guess these people don’t have any dignity or pride in the first place hence their epic screw ups.

  19. avatar Matt in Oklahoma says:

    There are good points on both sides as well as bad. Do we need equipment some militarized to handle situations? Yes. Does everyone need access to it? NO
    I’ve served on 2 teams and not everyone needs to be doing it. Even having been on one team and in the army I failed to make the 2nd team first go round. It should be that tough.
    Do no knock warrants need a major overhaul? Absolutely Positively. It’s become a water downed joke. Using google street maps instead of eyes on is one of the laziest things ever. Letting everyone section have there own “teams” is stupid. If you can’t get the %**%# address right then how do you KNOW what’s on red, green, white and black? Lazy
    Do we need better accountability? God Yes!
    Having been in arbitration’s myself the agency is often unprepared to the point they are embarrassing and had better be glad they aren’t in court. For those in court: Look at recent events where there’s zero due process and charges that do not match the crime. It’s political silliness.
    Is it hard as hell to fire bad officers? Absolutely and has been a complaint of mine since I started 20 years ago in my current agency. There are literally hires that are there because they know there is little accountability and very little expectations. It’s bad.
    I’m not a cop but law enforcement. I’ve got 8 months left. Tried to do it right. I made mistakes but made sure they were just that and not habitual nor serious. The laws and the way things are handled has changed drastically since I started 25 yrs ago as a small town reserve officer while stationed CONUS in the army.
    The pendulum has swung too far in protection and needs correction however the actions of (some) The People are not justified either and need correcting.

  20. avatar Texican says:

    We could end all the stresses of having bad policing by going back to the late 1700s early 1800s and having an unarmed sheriff with a few deputies and if he needs armed help the militia will provide. Every man a part of a militia no matter where he lives. Break it down by tens, hundreds, up to a thousand. Required training every month and standing a watch or two every month in your neighborhood. People would get to know each other and there would be less crime. If delegating the police power from the People to hired servants isn’t working, it’s time to take that power back. The rest of the details would be worked out later.

  21. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    I will say I hate the unions and their arbitration stuff but if you look at the politics around firing, hiring and promoting officers the unions serve a role for honest officers. They also unfortunately cover for bad ones too. Read Second City Cop, the CPD is an extension of the mayor in power and nothing more in most cases. The police chief is pretty much just there to take the heat when the body count gets too high and cook the books so the mayor doesn’t look like total crap.

  22. avatar Hannibal says:

    “San Antonio City Manager Erik Walsh said the current collective bargaining agreement limits the chief’s ability to appropriately discipline officers…”

    It also limits the ability to inappropriately discipline officers. I wonder why it was that cities and departments agreed to these terms? They didn’t have to. They chose to. And the police presumably gave up something for them in bargaining. Now the chiefs want to use public sentiment over a couple of bad shootings- and a bunch of BS narrative around reasonable shootings like Brooks- to have their cake and eat it too.

    “One of the most common complaints I’ve heard from chiefs is they say why should an unelected arbitrator, who doesn’t know our department, doesn’t know our history, why should they be the one that gets to decide which type of punishment is excessive and which type of punishment is reasonable?” Rushin said.”

    So… why should an independent figure be able to decide on whether someone has broken policy or law? Just like in every part of the justice system? It sounds like the unnamed chiefs (who are ALSO unelected so I’m not sure why they are mentioning the fact that arbitrators are unelected) want to be able to do whatever they want and not have any check on them.

    Read some of the policy positions of the international association of chiefs of police, especially with respect to the 2nd Amendment. Then consider whether you trust their motives.

    1. avatar Andrew Lias says:

      Hell think about the “police accountability boards” that places like Chicago want. Wholly unaccountable appointed/hired pols with skeezy histories and biases that are very clear in many cases.

      I’d rather see a grand jury like process for discipline honestly. Have an investigative body (IAD is in its own right a flawed setup but I digress) and then have them present the evidence. Have a union official or lawyer represent them and present evidence to the contrary.

  23. avatar Ralph says:

    Dump cop unions, dump qualified immunity, dump bad cops.

    Can’t deal with accountability? Do something else for a living.

    1. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

      Who else will enforce Government sanctioned murder, theft and kidnapping?

  24. avatar TheBSonTTAG says:

    You get the Police you vote for.

    Or something like that. Until every department is accountable to the voters it’s pretty much a waste of time. At a minimum Chiefs and most supervisors should be elected and not appointed. It’s supposed to be that way but who in Government actually follows the Constitution?

    1. avatar Umm . . . says:

      BS indeed! I don’t know where people get this, or this blog’s strange obsession with sheriffs. Neither is specified, nor in any way alluded to, in the Constitution – a charter for the Federal and not local governments.

      Everyone agrees that employees the voters entrust with armed force should be accountable to the voters through their elected representatives. The military (and Federal LE) are accountable via the elected chief executive, the President. Cops are accountable via cities’ elected chief executives (mayors).

      Are soldiers above the law because we don’t elect their generals? No. It is far preferable this way, both because generalship and policing alike are far more technical today than in 1787, and also because it subtly reminds elected leaders they’re laymen and not actually the top soldiers, policemen, etc.

  25. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    “Police arbitration on appeal is one of the single most important accountability issues in the country,” he told The Associated Press. “You can’t change an organization if you have to keep employing people that you know are going to do bad things.”

    OK.

    Now do teacher’s unions.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      Now do ALL government unions.

  26. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    Unfortunately, the union is about putting $$ in it’s coffers to wield political influence that in many cases is contrary to what is in the best interest of the people they represent…keeping bad cops is keeping a cashflow to the union. Most unions take an hourly wage from the member at a designated time usually one or twice a month, they do not care if the cop is good or bad only that the $$ keeps flowing….that is the biggest problem. As in education where there are teachers that get paid but do not teach as they cannot be fired this too must end…will the rank and file cause the change? Or will it be legislated?

  27. avatar Imayeti says:

    Worked in a union factory long ago. I was way over my head with the first job.Called into supervisors office, offered a completely different job. Found this one easy and got many compliments. Got called into the union office. They’d expected I would have difficulty with the second job and could demand the job be divided so that 2 (Dues paying) people could do it and I screwed up their plan. Implied that I should make the job look hard. My conclusion: Unions promote mediocrity.

    1. avatar Ralph says:

      “Unions promote mediocrity.”

      You give unions far too much credit.

  28. avatar vaadu says:

    What would happen if after a police contract was up the city said we will no longer deal with a police union. The city put it on the ballot and it was approved on election day.

    The city sets their own pay & benefits standards(no pensions), physical & mental standards, training standards, etc. And if they fire you, you’re fired. No arbitration or appeal.

  29. avatar Anymouse says:

    There’s an easy way around arbitration: prosecute the SOBs if they’re not following training and breaking laws. The article talks about a Seattle officer that punched a handcuffed woman in his car. Instead of giving 15 days suspension, charge him with aggravated battery and get a felony conviction. It’s easy for the department to win arbitration when the complaining cop is in prison or has a felony.

    The FOP position of hire better is BS. Who has a crystal ball that says someone’s going to yield to temptation in 5 years and start swiping cash, or gets jaded and decides to start administering some street justice. The culture of cops needs to change. Internal Affairs needs to be held in the highest regard as protecting the image of the department by getting rid of bad cops. They need to stop covering for their “brothers in blue” and start turning in their fellow officers. The rank and file know which ones are dirty, can’t control their temper, or are basket cases.

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