NOPD Update – Disciplinary Hearings

Back in March, when the City told non-essential employees to either stay at home or to work from home, the NOPD decided to suspend holding disciplinary hearings due to the potential for sharing the virus which has been plaguing us for all of 2020. Exceptions were made for some who were looking to retire, but, for the most part, there have not been any disciplinary hearings conducted since mid-March. Effective May 16, that is going to change.

On May 16, NOPD will begin holding disciplinary hearings again. On May 16, there will be about 2 months’ worth of disciplinary hearings that have not been conducted. Therefore, there will be a backlog of hearings – probably quite a few hearings.

If you have had a sustained disciplinary investigation, but have not had a disciplinary hearing it might be coming sooner than later.

If you have been issued a “Disciplinary Hearing Notification,” then you should call me so that I can put it on my calendar.

If you have been issued NOPD Form 308, the investigator’s recommended disposition, then you are welcome to call. But the NOPD will not be holding a disciplinary hearing on the date indicated on NOPD Form 308.

Why should you call me about your disciplinary hearing?

I have represented officers in more than 1,000 disciplinary hearings.

Since 90% of NOPD officers are members of the Fraternal Order of Police, and, therefore, the FOP Legal Defense Plan, it is safe for me to assume you are an FOP member.

Most NOPD officers have little to no experience with disciplinary hearings.

I can usually answer whatever questions an officer has about disciplinary hearings. I can give you a good idea of what to expect.

If you think you might want to appeal to the Civil Service Commission, it is helpful for me to attend the disciplinary hearings.

If you do not think there is any point in appealing, then you would be eligible for the FOP’s Salary Reimbursement Option if I represent you at the disciplinary hearing.

Actually, just being able to discuss the pros and cons of appealing and the odds of success is very beneficial in making a plan for moving forward.

In the event you are unfamiliar with the FOP’s Salary Reimbursement Option, it has been utilized by many FOP members.

If you are suspended by the NOPD and you do not believe there is any chance of success on appeal, then the FOP will reimburse you for your lost salary in lieu of an appeal destined to fail. The FOP will reimburse you at a rate of $150/day for up to 5 days.

For example, if you are sustained for violating Rule 4, Performance of Duty, Paragraph 2, Instructions from an Authoritative Source, you could be suspended for between 2 and 10 days. The presumptive penalty for a first offense violation of Rule 4, Performance of Duty, Paragraph 2, Instructions from an Authoritative Source, a Level C violation, is a 5-day suspension. If you know that you actually violated the Rule in question and there is ample evidence that you violated the Rule in question and you would lose a Civil Service appeal, then it might be better to get a check for $750. Of course, there is no way to make blanket statements about which way would be better. That is where a healthy discussion between attorney and client is very beneficial.

To conclude, the NOPD will begin holding disciplinary hearings again on May 16. If you are issued a Disciplinary Hearing Notification, you should call me so that I can attend the hearing with you. Doing so will make you eligible for the FOP’s Salary Reimbursement Option. It does not matter if you called me for the early part of the investigation or not. Having the FOP Salary Reimbursement Option as a fail-safe is always good. I have also found that being able to answer questions about the hearing helps officers feel less anxious about the hearing.

Feel free to call.

Donovan

 

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