The short answer to this question is ALL of them. There is no investigation too simple or straightforward. Quite often I hear “I didn’t call you because it was just a missing court case” or “I didn’t call you because it was just a BWC case.” Unfortunately, my response is commonly “Well, one of the rules of the Salary Reimbursement Option is that you have to be represented by one of the FOP attorneys in order to qualify for the SRO.” What is an SRO you ask?
The FOP Legal Defense Plan includes what is known as the Salary Reimbursement Option (“SRO”). The SRO allows officers to make up for salary lost as a result of an unpaid suspension. In New Orleans, the SRO allows officers to recover up to 5 days of suspension at $150 per day. In other words, when you get a 1-day suspension for missing court, the FOP will pay you $150 if you choose not to file a Civil Service appeal.
Why not file a Civil Service appeal? Well, that is the benefit of having one of the FOP attorneys on the case from the beginning. Your FOP attorneys have been handling disciplinary actions for years. By the end of the investigation, your FOP attorney should be able to give you a pretty good idea of your chances of success on appeal. So, after a disciplinary hearing, you and your FOP attorney can discuss whether you are better off filing an appeal with Civil Service or submitting the disciplinary letter for the Salary Reimbursement Option.
I deal with disciplinary investigations every day. Most officers deal with disciplinary investigations 2 or 3 times in a career. As such, one cannot expect officers to be thoroughly familiar with the ins and outs of being an accused officer in a disciplinary investigation. What is the legal burden? What evidence is allowed? When does the 60-day rule apply? When does the 60 days begin and end? Is the disciplinary hearing considered part of the 60 days? How long after a disciplinary hearing can an officer expect to receive the disciplinary letter or suspension days? When can I file a Civil Service appeal? What is this email I received about a hearing about an extension that cannot be continued?
The answers to some of these questions change based on rulings of appellate courts in Louisiana. The answers to other questions changes based on changes in an administration. The point is that even if an officer is tasked with completing disciplinary investigations, there are still aspects of disciplinary investigations which are unknown.
As a member of the FOP Legal Defense Plan, an officer is entitled to representation at no cost to the officer. We do not judge whether or not an officer deserves legal defense. We do not judge the accused officer. If you are a member of the FOP Legal Defense Plan and you become the accused officer or a witness officer in an internal disciplinary investigation, your legal representation is guaranteed. We are there to protect your rights. Calling your FOP attorney can also make you eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option when you don’t have a chance on appeal. Call, text, or email today.