Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Q & A

From Arizona:Question: I was wondering if you had any case law specific to masks and religion or anything you could point me to that predates the pandemic? Any help would be greatly appreciated.Answer: I’m unaware of any cases on masks and religion. From analogous cases, I can predict how such a cas

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Budget Discussions Do Not Equal Negotiations

In late 2012, the City of Portland, Oregon began its budget process for the 2013-14 fiscal year anticipating a shortfall. The City asked the Fire Bureau to develop its budget using a modified zero-based budget approach, requesting up to 90 percent of current appropriation levels with prioritized add

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Labor Board Refuses To Sever Detectives From Sworn Unit

On October 4, 2019, the St. Petersburg Police Officers’ Association, Inc. (POA) filed a petition seeking to represent a bargaining unit consisting of police detectives employed by the City of St. Petersburg, Florida. The detectives are currently represented by the Sun Coast Police Benevolent Associa

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Court Upholds Arbitrator’s Opinion On Fire Union Meetings

Firefighters for the Dracut Fire Department in Massachusetts are represented by IAFF Local 2586. Local 2586 holds meetings on a monthly basis. By necessity, these meetings are scheduled during a shift. Prior to 1986, union meetings were held off-site, at bars or in restaurants.In 1986, the parties a

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Court Rejects Lawsuit From Deputy Shot By Reserve

On April 5, 2016, Casey Huepenbecker and Marcus Newell were receiving firearms training at a range operated by the City of Napoleon, Ohio. During a break, Huepenbecker asked for, and received, permission to clean his weapon. Shortly after cleaning the gun, he set it on a picnic table near where othe

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

ADA Does Not Require Light Duty For Oft-Injured Officer

Kristal Scott suffered multiple injuries during the time that she was employed as a Detroit police officer. In 2011, she fell down the stairs while on duty responding to a call. On July 13, 2012, during job-required scooter training, she crashed her scooter into a metal barricade at low speed when a

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

The ‘Not A Sharp Operator’ Defense

In May 2012 Valent Maxwell, a police officer for the City of Klawock, Alaska, accepted a law enforcement job in Fairview, Montana. He left some belongings in his city-owned apartment in Klawock, sold some, and moved or shipped the rest to Montana. Shortly after starting the new job, however, he quit

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Employer Not Allowed To Unilaterally Extend Probationary Period

After graduating from the Los Angeles County police academy, Christopher Trejo was hired by the County as a Deputy Sheriff Generalist on February 23, 2014. Trejo’s 12-month probationary period started that day. About four months later, Trejo was involved in a use-of-force incident which triggered an

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Patronage Allowed In Missouri Sheriff Departments

After Sheriff Joey Kyle resigned from the Christian County, Missouri Sheriff’s Office following his guilty plea for violating federal law, four candidates ran for sheriff in the general election, including Brad Cole (Republican candidate) and Keith Mills (Independent candidate). Mills was the only c

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Disciplinary Arbitration Decision May Be Subject To Public Disclosure

New Hampshire’s public records act is known as the “Right-to-Know Law.” For many years, the New Hampshire Supreme Court has held that the “internal personnel practices” exception in the Law shielded disciplinary arbitration decisions from disclosure. In May 2020, the Court changed its mind.The new c

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Gradual Work-Related Hearing Loss Not Covered By Workers’ Comp In Louisiana

James Hartman began working with the St. Bernard Parish Fire Department in Louisiana in 1990. His work exposed him to high noise levels, which caused him to undergo audiograms on January 24, 2008, April 10, 2014, March 1, 2017, and September 27, 2017. The audiograms showed increasing levels of heari

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 09/01/2020

Contracts And Memoranda Of Understanding

In February 2017, the City of Brook Park, Ohio, passed an ordinance calling for the City to pay hospitalization and/or medical insurance benefits to a group of retired employees in an amount that equated to $100 per month. Lodge 17 of the Fraternal Order of Police, which represents the City’s police

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 08/31/2020

Public Records Law Prevails Over Purging Clause In Contract

Since January 1981, the City of Chicago and the Fraternal Order of Police, Chicago Lodge No. 7, have been parties to a collective bargaining agreement. Section 8.4 of the CBA calls for the purging from employee disciplinary files of materials “five (5) years after the date of the incident or the dat

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 08/12/2020

Interview: Challenges Facing Police Union Presidents

Jeremy Conking of the Anchorage Police Department Employees Association and Keith Olson of the Yonkers Police Benevolent Association speak with Will Aitchison about challenges facing police unions today and how they are dealing with them.The post Interview: Challenges Facing Police Union Presidents

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Lack Of Response From Dispatch Basis For PTSD Claim

Kimberly Nelson, a Chicago police officer, responded to a dispatch report that there was a “possible kidnapping of a FedEx driver” on 80th Street. Nelson inquired where exactly on 80th Street the incident had occurred. Eventually, the dispatcher replied, “Units in 6, we have a robbery, an armed robb

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Lost Marijuana Results In Loss Of Chief’s Job

David Viola was the chief of the police department in Colebrookdale Township, Pennsylvania. In May 2016, the Department was involved with the seizure and handling of 57 marijuana plants. Viola was the senior officer at the scene, helped the investigating officer who had never handled a felony drug m

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Refusal To Abide By Grievance Resolution Is Unfair Labor Practice

Newark, New Jersey and the Newark Police Superior Officers’ Association are parties to a collective bargaining agreement. On August 5, 2011, the Association filed two grievances alleging that the City had improperly calculated the lump sum vacation payout of two retired captains. The City’s Police D

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Racist Comments From Hearing Board Member Violate Due Process

Jonathan Stevens was a police officer with the Town of West Terre Haute in Indiana. On October 31, 2017, Stevens was arrested and charged with disorderly conduct and felony domestic battery committed in the presence of a child less than 16 years old. Prior to these charged crimes, Stevens had never

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Conduct And Statements Not Offensive Enough To Establish Harassment

Westchester County Corrections Officer Kevin Perry sued Captain Robert Slensby for sexual harassment. Slensby served as one of Perry’s supervisors at the booking unit. Perry alleged three separate incidents as evidence of the harassment. When a trial court dismissed Perry’s lawsuit, he challenged th

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Refusal To Amend Report Not Constitutionally Protected

Kelvin Lett was an investigator for Chicago’s Civilian Office of Police Accountability, a municipal office tasked with reviewing allegations of police misconduct. In 2016, Lett was working on an investigation into police involvement in a civilian shooting. The office’s Chief Administrator, Sharon Fa

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Another Officer Loses A Brady Lawsuit Against A Prosecutor

Shon Latty is a deputy sheriff in Polk County, Oregon. District Attorney Aaron Felton placed Latty on the local Brady list that, in the County, “serves to identify law enforcement officers who are determined to be categorically unqualified from testifying in court.” The Sheriff’s Department reacted

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Training Cost Repayment Agreement Cannot Conflict With CBA

The Bennington, Vermont Police Department hired Clay Knight to work as a full-time patrol officer starting in February 2015. As a condition of his employment, the Town required him to sign an agreement promising to work for the Department for three years in exchange for receiving full-time training

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Interview For FF Position Ends With Arrest

Muhammed Ojibara was arrested on three outstanding warrants when he appeared for an interview with the Township of Irvington, New Jersey for a firefighter position. Ojibara’s arrest occurred on September 14, 2016, under 2007 Newark and 2008 Jersey City warrants for “failure or refusal to pay prescri

W Will Aitchison
Will Aitchison on 07/28/2020

Contract’s Wage Provisions Not Constitutionally Protected

In the late 1990’s, Nassau County, New York was in the throes of a fiscal emergency. To rescue the county, the New York Legislature passed the Nassau County Interim Finance Authority Act. The Act provided the County with $100 million in direct funding and created NIFA, a “corporate governmental agen

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