Sunday, July 22, 2012

SA police lieutenant fired again, and again

Seeing this headline out of San Antonio - "Chief fires lieutenant again after his 15th suspension" - reminded me of a recent story out of Oregon about the near impossibility of firing police officers in Portland. Queried the Oregonian, "just what does it take to discipline a Portland police officer?" Answer: "Frankly, if push comes to shove and it goes to arbitration, you can’t do it."

RELATED: What does it take to get a bad cop fired in civil service cities?

ALSO: See another recent item from Simple Justice on arbitration overturning a firing for excessive force in Oklahoma.


Anonymous said...

Good luck trying to fight the police union.

PAPA said...

New Legislation needs to be done to stop the "IMMUNITY" for law enforcers, guards, jailers, judges, DAs, lawyers,this will certainly clean up the "EVIL" within the criminal justice system, all men are created equal, if the public is liable more so should those put in trust positions be held accountable and responsible, "GET REAL PEOPLE" what we are doing is not working, if it isn't working you have to fix it

John K said...

As one who grew up around cops (my Dad was one) I'm inclined to view them as hard-drinking authoritarian jerks.

So I didn't see much in the list of the lieutenant's offenses that in my father's era would have rated more than a scolding by the chief.

But then in these hypersensitive, relentlessly prosecutorial, acutely punitive times, not much happens --significant or not -- that goes unpunished.

In another time, the parking lot cop might have written the incident off as an offensive but forgivable encounter with an off-duty cop who at least had the good sense to be traveling by limo.

gravyrug said...

The fact that this officer is "one of the top five, anecdotally," among most-reprimanded officers is telling. The fact that 14 suspensions isn't far and away the number one spot means there are several SA cops who aren't very good at following the rules.

North Texas Cop said...

As with criminals and bad citizens, the cops who cause 90% of the problems are in the extreme minority. I have worked for an "at will" LE agency and currently work for an agency governed by state civil service. I know for a fact that civil service keeps bad Chiefs, Captains, and even Lieutenants from violating the rights of employees. Yes, it is harder to fire a cop under civil service but if the LE agencies would do a better job in their investigations and charging documents, their decisions wouldn't be overturned nearly so often. Ultimately, civil service protects citizens too; or would you rather make it easy to fire cops for refusing to follow unlawful orders, telling the truth, or enforcing the law?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

Hey Grits, (close your eyes this is going to get long & dirty).

Headlines are abound (from coast to coast) with news of cops going wild, getting caught, going to 'fake' police court & getting a paid vacation while the public's attention span whittles.

As the traditional media 'embedded' (reporters assigned to precincts) either ignore it or spin it in favor of the authorities, blawgs / blogs eventually get wind of it. They / we 'Blogaboutit' where comments are published, links are posted to related criminal actions committed by cops. Then rinse & repeat.

Today, that changes. I call Bull-Shit on the loopholes protecting the criminals in uniform. Teflon Cops are a product of an ignorant public. Rats were lead off cliffs by their noses due to going along with the program vs questioning it. I ask the public (no matter what the date is when you read this or where you live) to realize that you are the problem and you are the cure. Don't let Grits educate you about a crime in loopholes clothing and remain behind a keyboard doing nothing. Contact someone, anyone, even if it's only yourself in the mirror and voice your concerns or simply do nothing and condone it as usual. When a supervisor has your back 15 times at the taxpayers' expense, you get an all expenses paid cover-up.

What's worse is it inspires and encourages folks to throw their arms up and scare you away from the idea of fighting the police unions. We don't need to fight a union to make cops accountable, we need to grow a pair of balls, man up and go to our local city halls and speak our minds regarding rogue cops on our dime. Doing so prior to the bad acts is optimal. Then make appointments to meet with police chiefs and then the mayors. Then while you are getting used to that nice set of balls why not take time to contact 'all' presidential candidates asking them to tell the public their strategies for combating uniform crimes and the covering up of it via; 'fake' - court proceedings.

In closing: remember this (no matter what some want you believe)-false arrests and subsequent wrongful convictions are initiated by the police. When an arbitrator or an in chambers secrete plea bargain can make it all go away 15 times, we must ask, "Why"?

Thomas R. Griffith said...

North Texas Cop, thank you for answering the question as to why in the hell rogue cops get away with comitting crimes over & over & over.

"Yes, it is harder to fire a cop under civil service but if the LE agencies would do a better job in their investigations and charging documents, their decisions wouldn't be overturned nearly so often."

I could be wrong but are you saying that we have the Internal Affairs divisions to thank, for if not for their shoddy investigation techniques of their own collegues and the type of paper the crime is on, dictates cover ups? And all along, we thought it was the loan arbritrator that magically made it all go away. Thanks.

RAS said...

I have a suggestion that might help. Whenever civil litigation is undertaken against a cop with this kind of history, his union should be named as a co-defendent.

North Texas Cop said...

Thomas R. Griffith, let me clarify. I know for a fact that Texas cops are fired at civil service agencies. It happens every day. Let me repeat: Bad cops CAN and ARE being fired at civil service LE agencies in TX. Administrators and politicians are nit being truthful when they claim that bad cops are being forced on their dept and their communities by the civil service system. Any time a demonstrably bad cop repeatedly wins arbitrations, lawsuits, and hearings, it's almost always caused by shoddy internal investigations or administrators who muddied the waters with their personal agendas. If you do your homework and file a high quality case against a bad cop, you can fire him. I've seen it done both ways with predictable results. Stop blaming civil service for the retention of bad cops.

Anonymous said...

The Austin Police Chief Aceveo just won his first case in arbitration. Seems ome would have us believe it's the Chiefs fault all long for not making better cases against his rogue cops retained by arbitrators. Some others would have us believe it's just the arbitrators who keep the rogue cops. Maybe it's the fact that we transfer responsibility to civil service systems and laws that allow arbitrators to make decisions instead of holding Chiefs and City Managers, Mayors, Sheriffs and elected officials responsible. Toss out civil service and hold elected officials responsible civily and at the ballot box. Hold cops responsible in their criminal actions in court.

jcfromnj said...

North Texas, that 5 or 10% of cops that are causing ALL the problems is at best PR police union spin.

What you have is an systemic, endemic and pervasive climate of corruption that is rampant across the country.

The root of the problem is the undue influence of Police Unions across the country. Attack the problem politically and economically by scaling back wages and benefits is the best approach at this time.

Police Dept's are not much more than cultish secret societies.

North Texas Cop said...

jcfromnj said..."Attack the problem politically and economically by scaling back wages and benefits is the best approach at this time."

Yeah right, because you don't get what you pay for and you can have your cake and eat it too. Even those Departments that offer high pay and excellent benefits are having trouble filling open slots with qualified applicants who can also pass a background check. How will cutting pay and benefits attract more qualified applicants and lead to better police officers working in uniformed patrol?