The first round of Police Officer III testing is in the books for 2013. Two more days of testing remain. I thought this might be a good time to review a few things about promotions and PIB Short Forms.
First of all, in order to be eligible for Police Officer III, you have to be a Police Officer I or a Police Officer II with four years on the job. Once that is established, you have to take and pass the test and be placed on a promotional register by Civil Service.
The Promotions Committee then conducts a limited review of all candidates on the promotional register. The NOPD operations manual indicates that you will be passed over for promotion if:
- You are the accused officer in a pending DI-1 investigation; or
- You have a sustained DI-1 in the past 12 months that resulted in a penalty greater than a Letter of Reprimand. The 12 month period is determined from the date the DI-1 was initiated.
it should be noted that although the NOPD Operations Manual does not provide for it, several officers were passed over for Police Officer II promotion because they had more than 8 undocumented sick leave days in the previous 12 months.
If you anticipate being on the promotional register (really, even if you are not), you should go to the Public Integrity Bureau (118 N. Rocheblave St.) and request a copy of your PIB Short Form. Your PIB Short Form lists all DI-1 investigations where you were an accused officer. These are the investigations that will prevent you from being promoted. You can request a copy of your Short Form by completing a form at PIB at the front desk.
Once you have obtained a copy of your PIB Short Form, the next thing to do is to examine every entry and look for a disposition. If your PIB Short Form does not contain any entries, then you should be good. If you do have a couple of entries on your Short Form, don’t feel bad. Check each entry for a disposition. The disposition will generally show Sustained, Not Sustained, Unfounded, Exonerated, or Pending. For promotional purposes, you should be concerned about any entry that shows Sustained or Pending.
If the disposition shows Sustained, it will also show a penalty. If the entry shows Sustained and a penalty of Letter of Reprimand, then that entry will not prevent you from being promoted. If the entry shows Sustained and the penalty shows some type of suspension, then you should look for date next to DI-1 Initiated. If the date next to DI-1 Initiated is more than 12 months ago, then that investigations should not prevent you from being promoted.
Pending is the tricky disposition. Pending could indicate that a DI-1 is being actively investigated. Pending could also indicate that the the investigation has been tabled for some reason and is not being actively investigated. Pending could also mean that the investigation, although completed, has not been sent for a disciplinary hearing. Pending could also mean that, although a disciplinary hearing has already been held, the disposition recommended by the hearing officer has not been approved by the Superintendent yet.
You may be sitting there thinking that you don’t need to do this because you haven’t had any DI-1 investigations. Don’t be so sure. During the recent P/O II promotions, numerous people were surprised to find that there was a pending DI-1 investigation that they knew nothing about. It doesn’t cost anything. Go get a copy of your Short Form. In fact, it is probably a good idea to go get your Short Form on a regular basis regardless of whether you are eligible for some promotion or not.
If you find an investigation that has been pending for several years, or an investigation you didn’t know about, or any type of pending investigation, you should call your FOP attorney. If you don’t have an FOP attorney, pick one and give him a call. You are welcome to call me. Your FOP attorney will attempt to determine the status of the investigation and attempt to urge on its resolution. Sometimes there is nothing that can be done. However, it is worth a try.
You should also check your attendance record. You are looking for sick days indicated with the letter S. These are undocumented sick leave days. In case you are not familiar with documentation of sick leave, you can present a doctors note or a Form 50 upon return from a sick leave usage and your attendance record will indicate D instead of S. Check the last 12 months and count the number of days denoted with an S. If you have any S’s (definitely if you have 8 or more), you can get your physician to complete an NOPD Form 50. You can bring completed Form 50’s to Payroll (4th Floor of Headquarters) and they can assist in documenting your sick leave. As a general rule, it is always good to document sick leave. Under normal circumstances, you can document sick leave by presenting a Form 50 to your immediate supervisor, but that has to be done within 5 days of your return to work.
If you have no Pending or Sustained DI-1 investigations and no undocumented sick leave days you should be clear for promotion. I say should for a reason. When the NOPD recently made Police Officer II promotions, there were a number of officers who were skipped over for no apparent reason. If you find yourself in that situation, give me a call and we will see what we can do to help you out.
During the recent Police Officer II promotions, there were about 300 eligibles on the promotional register. Of those, about 200 were promoted. That means that 1/3 of the officers who took and passed the Police Officer II test were not promoted. Some were skipped because of Pending DI-1’s, some for sustained DI-1’s and a handful for excessive undocumented sick leave. Unfortunately, there were some that were skipped because of two-year-old investigations they knew nothing about. Even worse, some were skipped for no apparent reason at all. The FOP will be there to help you if you find yourself in that situation. I wish I could say that I was successful in every attempt to get someone promoted who was skipped over. That is not the case. However, there were plenty of cases where we were successful.
Last year when NOPD made Police Officer II promotions, Superintendent Serpas said that he would promote anyone that was inadvertently skipped or anyone who became eligible after being initially ineligible. Hopefully, we can expect the same cooperation again with Police Officer III promotions, upcoming Police Officer IV promotions, and promotions after the Sergeants exam is given.
If you skimmed over this entire article, read this: GET A COPY OF YOUR PIB SHORT FORM. Straighten out any problems before they really become a problem. Police Officer IV and Police Sergeant promotions will be next.
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