There is nothing particularly sexy about an article on administrative disciplinary investigations. I considered a title like “NOPD discovered a mislabeled video. YOU WON’T BELIEVE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT.” I don’t know about you, but that type of headline is an invitation for me to shake my head and move on to the next article.
So, first quarter of 2015 is in the books. My COMSTAT report would look something like this:
I was able to represent 163 individual police officer members of the FOP Legal Defense Plan in the first quarter of 2015. I appeared with FOP members to render 56 administrative statements. I participated in 45 bureau chief or commanders hearings. I could count emails, telephone calls, meetings, extension hearings, etc. but fortunately I don’t have to do that.
27 Police Recruits recently graduated from the police academy. In addition, another group of officers recently completed field training. There is also another class currently in the police academy. So, for the benefit of our newest FOP members and as a reminder for other FOP members, here are some notes on the FOP Legal Defense Plan.
FOP members are encouraged to call one of the FOP attorneys as soon as they learn that they are somehow involved in a disciplinary investigation. Disciplinary investigations include traditional DI-1 investigations, accident review boards, rule 9 proceedings, etc. Anything that can result in an adverse job action should be considered a disciplinary action for the purpose of the FOP Legal Defense Plan.
Again, officers should contact one of the FOP attorneys as soon as they learn of a disciplinary investigation. In the event that you are unable or forget to notify someone immediately, that does not mean it is too late. While it is strategically beneficial to have an FOP attorney involved from the beginning, it is never too late.
Your FOP attorney will be able to discuss the allegations and the process that will follow. Your FOP attorney will appear with you when you are required to make statements or appear for any other reason. Your FOP attorney will be available to discuss how these investigations impact you individually, now and in the future.
In the course of a disciplinary investigation, an FOP member is up against the allegations, and potentially PIB, OIG, OIPM, federal monitors, etc. The NOPD is represented by an attorney (city attorney), the IPM and Dep. IPM are attorneys. The chief of PIB is an attorney. Why should you be the only one not represented by counsel?
It is worth noting that La. R.S. 40:2532 provides you with a right to an attorney. In addition, the FOP has been representing officers fora long time. Appearing with an attorney is not an indication of guilt, nor will it look that way to investigators.
In addition to advising you on the proceedings throughout the NOPD disciplinary process, your FOP attorney will be available to file and prosecute Civil Service appeals or appeals to higher courts. And, in the event that your odds of winning on appeal are less than appealing, the FOP offers a salary reimbursement option to those represented by an FOP attorney.
In addition, my office, Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon also handles car accidents and other personal injury cases for police officers. While these cases are not part of the FOP Legal Defense Plan, we take good care of our police officer clients.
Anthony J. Livaccari, Jr.
Livaccari Villarrubia Lemmon LLC
101 W. Robert E. Lee Blvd., Suite 402
New Orleans, LA 70124