90% of active NOPD officers are members of the Crescent City Lodge of the Fratetnal Order of Police. Crescent City Lodge members are also enrolled in the FOP Legal Defense Plan. The Legal Defense Plan provides its members with legal protection in criminal, administrative, and civil matters. Administrative matters are most common.
I was a member of the NOPD from 1993 to 2008. I graduated from law school in 2004. Also in 2004, the Crescent City Lodge was in a rebuilding phase which would lead to it becoming the largest representative organization for officers of the New Orleans Police Department. Being an officer, FOP member, and recent law school graduate, I was approached by Lt. Henry Dean, who was president at the time, and Sgt Jimmy Gallagher about the legal services offered to members. We discussed creating a position called Employee Representative which would be both an arm of the legal plan and a way to address other employment issues experienced by members that wouldn’t be part of the legal plan. The FOP was, and still is, dedicated to providing its members with the best possible legal defense benefit. In 2008, I began representing officers full time. That was nearly 10 years ago. All of that is to say that my experience with the NOPD, NOPD Policies and Procedures, Civil Service, appeals, and the FOP work to the advantage of Crescent City Lodge members.
The disciplinary system is part of the job that officers don’t interact with regularly. For that reason, it is beneficial to have a resource available to guide members through that process. The Legal Plan attorneys provide that service to our members.
Here are some basic guidelines;
- Nothing is too unimportant to call.
- We (the attorneys) are not too busy to talk to you about minor investigations.
- You should call about negotiated settlements – you could still be eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option.
- Don’t resign.
- If someone is talking to you about resigning because of an alleged disciplinary infraction, you should be represented. You should probably call if anyone is telling you to resign for any reason.
- Once you resign, you lose any legal protection you may have had through Civil Service.
- You should call if you did what you are accused of. You are eligible for the FOP’s salary reimbursement option only if you are represented by an FOP attorney during the course of the investigation (calling two months after you pick up the disciplinary letter is insufficient).
- You should call even if you are being interviewed “just as a witness.” Witnesses can become accused officers too.
- You should call if you get an email from Civil Service about the Department’s request for an extension of time.
- You should call if you have any questions about when you should call.
The FOP Legal Defense Plan is designed to provide FOP members with the best possible representation when you need it. However, we don’t know you need it until you call. Also, calling after you have resigned does not leave you with any real, viable options.