- From the moment Chicago's Fraternal Order of Police started negotiating its first contract with City Hall 35 years ago, the union identified an issue that would prove key to its members: ensuring officers had robust protections when they were investigated for misconduct.
City Hall had its own focus: money.
No, not "robust protections." Just the same protections afforded to citizens when accused of malfeasance. You know, Constitutional protections. And due to the City's intransigence at providing Officers with due process, contractual protections and case law became the rule of the day.
And the "money" thing was due to the City crying "We're broke!" because the City (Daley, Rahm, aldercreatures) wanted to spend money on political projects for votes, rather than what was owed employees (see the current pension crisis). So instead of saddling the City with more pension obligations, the FOP negotiated increases in non-pensionable raises to alleviate the obligation.
- Since that first contract, mayors from Jane Byrne to Rahm Emanuel have routinely fought to hold tight on the bottom line, while the union that represents thousands of rank-and-file officers has worked to, among other things, build layers of insulation from scrutiny.
Huh? All we have gotten is endless layers of scrutiny.
- One product of that bargain between the city and the FOP has been a flawed system in which officers are rarely held accountable for misconduct. Indeed, since the dashcam video showing Laquan McDonald being shot 16 times and killed by Officer Jason Van Dyke was released in November, the city and Police Department have been roiled by protests over the failure to discipline officers, while a U.S. Department of Justice civil rights probe has been launched.
Flawed how? Dozens of officers have been held to account for all sorts of misconduct. Many have done time in prison. Some remain there. Just because the system works slowly in a politically charged case...moving slowly because the mayor suppressed a tape for political reasons...doesn't make the system flawed, despite the howls from the lunatics on the fringes. We've stated it here many times - Officers aren't above the law, but they aren't below it either.
Now come the attacks, directed no doubt by Rahm, but written up by "reporters" who haven't done the most basic research:
- Amid the fallout, critics have zeroed in on the FOP contract and various rules that protect officers, and have called for a revamping. They have focused on a number of provisions, including one that allows officers to avoid making statements about shootings for at least 24 hours and another that requires internal investigators to notify officers of complainants' names before the officers are even questioned. Also at issue: a state law the FOP lobbied for that requires citizens to sign sworn affidavits to lodge an abuse complaint.
Notice the loaded language - "avoid making statements." That's genuine Grade-A horseshit right there. Did you know the FBI gets 72 hours? How about that many other departments get 48 hours? That there are scientific studies that note that the mental trauma involving a shooting can affect memories, recollections, even time estimations? Other studies that show that officers more often than not, mis-remember how many shots they actually fired at assailants? Twenty-four hours is minimal and more should be mandated.
Knowing your accuser? Gee, where have we read that before? The Sixth Amendment maybe?
- in all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right…to be confronted with the witnesses against him."
God forbid coppers get protection from the Constitution!
Sworn affidavits are in play, too? Before the sworn affidavit, something like 95% of complaints were found to be crap. Since the sworn affidavit, the number remains in the mid-90s. Can you guess why? Because no one is prosecuted for lying on sworn affidavits. Sound familiar? Robberies, thefts, gun crime, all up this year why? The Superintendent says it's because the Courts are failing to mete out punishment. In 12 years of the sworn affidavit law, we can't recall a single prosecution for perjury. Someone can point out if we missed one.
More of the article quotes labor lawyers for the city and Dean saying there better be monetary compensation for surrendering any protections. We'd advise screw the money and fight for each and every protection. Otherwise, we're headed back to these types of days as past-president Dineen points out:
- "Back before there was a contract, if someone made a complaint against you or a boss didn't like you or they half-believed the complaint and you were working on the North Side, two weeks later you were at 104th and Avenue O," said Dineen, who served as FOP president until 1993. "And you couldn't do anything about it."
And then the attacks start up again:
- Several contract provisions that task force members and critics today have deemed troubling are among the bricks in the foundation of that first collective bargaining agreement. They include stipulations about how police were to be questioned and where they were to be questioned, requirements that officers be informed in writing about complaints against them and a prohibition against internal investigations based on anonymous complaints.
So a complete dismantling of the Contract is the eventual goal if the media is helping Rahm attack the foundations - foundations based on Constitutional Law. The article again claims "flaws" without providing accurate documentation and based on media constructs - Abbate of all cases - a video loop played about a billion times by the media, which used it to portray a department out of control, rather than a clout baby who was forced through the screening process, despite a record that would have disqualified any normal applicant.
But Hell will freeze over before the media covers clout - just look at the current crooked lieutenant exam - clout rules the day when the accused include the superintendent's girlfriend, the First Deputy's wife and other bedmates of Subject Matter Experts along with members of IAD who were then rewarded with promotions.
It's a craptacular article by a bunch of hacks who, as we said, must really like Rahm's ass. REad it all if you feel like you can stomach it - half-truths, lies, erroneous conclusions, and a list of talking points Rahm will be using this time next year when the Contract expires.
Labels: contract stuff, media