The culmination of the disciplinary process within the New Orleans Police Department consists of a phone call one day, when you least expect it, instructing you to appear at the Public Integrity Bureau to sign for a disciplinary letter. The disciplinary letter is a letter on departmental letterhead, signed by the Superintendent, which lays out the alleged cause justifying the discipline, the rules allegedly violated, and the imposition of the final discipline (suspension, letter of reprimand, etc.).
While this is the end of the line for the NOPD’s disciplinary process, it is not the end of the line for classified employees or FOP members. You have a number of options available to you at this point.
1. Civil Service Appeal – Simply put, the NOPD has to be able to prove that they took disciplinary action because you violated some rule and the violation of that rule adversely impacted the efficient operation of the department. You may not agree that they have met that burden. You may also believe that the discipline was imposed in spite of violations of the Louisiana Police Officers Bill of Rights. In that case, you have 30 days from the date on the disciplinary letter to file an appeal with the Civil Service Commission. FOP members are encouraged to contact their FOP attorney to pursue an appeal. If you don’t have an FOP attorney, you can contact me directly or Jim Gallagher and we will make sure you get representation.
2. SRO – Some times, you they just have you right. If you believe that you will not prevail in an appeal, the FOP offers its members who were represented by an FOP attorney throughout the disciplinary process a Salary Reimbursement Option (SRO). The SRO allows an FOP member to opt for salary reimbursement for up to five (5) suspension days in lieu of appeal. If you have received a disciplinary letter and would rather receive a guaranteed reimbursement of up to five (5) suspension days, you should contact your FOP attorney.
3. Serve your time and move on – Of course, you can choose neither of the above when you receive the disciplinary letter. You always have the option of taking your lick and move on.
If you have any questions about any of the above, feel free to contact me directly. I can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or many of you have my cell phone number. If you don’t, ask a colleague – someone you know has it.Donovan Livaccari Attorney at Law Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon LLC 101 W. Robert E. Lee Blvd., Ste. 402 New Orleans, LA 70124 Office 504-488-3702 Fax 866-848-9350