Legal Debate over D.C. Police's "All Hands on Deck" Heads to PERB
The legal wrangling over the Metropolitan Police Department's "All Hands on Deck" program will head to the Public Employee Relations Board, an independent entity that resolves disputes between the government and labor organizations that represent District employees.
A federal arbitrator ruled earlier this month that the police department's program of putting all available cops on a pair of neighborhood beat shifts over a weekend violated city law and the union contract. The city asked the arbitrator to reconsider -- and union countered with legal papers asking for sanctions -- but this week arbitrator John C. Truesdale rejected both of those requests.
Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier said she was "disappointed" that the arbitrator wasn't open to correcting what she described as "legal errors" in his original decision. But she downplayed the significance, saying that the denial wasn't "unexpected."
"The case will be appealed to the Public Employee Relations Board as authorized by the law and the labor agreement," Lanier said.
The chief was also adamant that the remaining two "All Hands," for this year would go on. "Fortunately, the arbitrator's decision does not apply to or affect the All Hands on Deck initiatives scheduled for November and December, and they will proceed as planned," Lanier said.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 1.Chairman Kristopher Baumann said the chief was showing flagrant disregard for the legal decision, which said that the program must cease immediately. "The message that this sends, that the District of Columbia's Chief of Police and Attorney General [Peter J. Nickles] will not follow the law and will not abide by agreements, is disastrous," Baumann said. "We are talking about millions of dollars in penalties that the Chief is going to obligate the District to pay because she will not follow the law."
September 30, 2009; 12:07 PM ET
Categories: Crime and Public Safety , Theola Labbé-DeBose
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