As we begin to come out from under coronavirus, the task of resuming “regular business” is on the horizon. With that, and especially in this heightened climate, comes the potential for discipline.
The climate has changed; the pendulum has swung. An accusation can no longer be explained with just common sense and perspective. Although the chop job is not as prevalent as it was under the previous Sheriff, any allegation is investigated. Even with inmates, there comes the potential for allegations of misconduct as a way of getting back at you for simply doing your job.
Your PPOA labor representatives are available 24/7. If you have the PPOA app, which I encourage you to download, there is an emergency button that gets you access when a situation arises where you can potentially be questioned or deemed a witness.
When should you call? Here are poignant examples:
- When you are named as a suspect, in either an IA or a divisional investigation. You may not have done anything, yet it is never in your favor to sit for an interview without a labor representative.
- When you are interviewed as a witness, believing that the very nature of that discussion could lead to disciplinary action. There have been instances where employees who were interviewed as a witness became subjects themselves.
- When you are questioned by a supervisor related to conduct that may be viewed as a violation of law or policy, or are instructed to write a memo falling along those same lines.
- When you are instructed by a supervisor to sign any document that alleges you were involved in any misconduct interpreted as a violation of law or policy.
Times have changed, and so has the external view of our profession and our professionalism. You owe it to yourself, your family and your partners to be as informed and covered as possible.
We work too hard for too long to lose it due to allegations, third-party complaints or simply doing what we think is right because we were not involved.
All active PPOA members are also enrolled in the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Legal Defense Plan. This provides defense coverage for civil and criminal actions arising in the scope of law enforcement duties. In addition, every year, each PPOA member is entitled to a free one-hour consultation with an attorney to discuss non-work-related matters.
Utilize the assets that are at your disposal.
In my previous article, I mentioned the recovery of a TTCF C/A who had battled coronavirus through hospitalization. In that article, I incorrectly referred to him as Robert Wagner. It is actually Robert Weber. To Officer Weber, his family and his colleagues at Twin Towers, my apologies for the error.
Take care. Be safe.