Montgomery County today released a list of 15 Police Department policies which are awaiting “approval” by Police Union leaders under “effects bargaining.”
Twelve of the 15 have been on the list for over two years and one policy – on “Use of Force,” critical to protecting police officers and the public alike – has been on the list for approval by Union leaders for over four years.
Five of the issues have already been agreed to in collective bargaining contracts between the County and the Union but are still being held up because of “effects bargaining.”
Last year, all nine Montgomery County Councilmembers voted to repeal “effects bargaining.” Union leaders have petitioned the issue to the November ballot as Question B.
“Effects bargaining” means that Union leaders can demand that Police Chief Tom Manger bargain the effects of any management decision with them. This prevents the Chief from effectively carrying out his job of managing the Police Department in the most productive and efficient way possible -- protecting both his officers and the lives and property of County residents.
No other police union in the State of Maryland has this in law. No other Montgomery County employees’ union group has this sweeping power.
“This is the list that Union leaders don’t want the public to see,” said Patrick Lacefield, Director of Montgomery County’s Office of Public Information. “Who do you want to run the Montgomery County Police Department -- the Police Chief or Police Union leaders? That’s what Question B is all about.
“Republicans and Democrats may not agree on much – but both the Republican and Democratic parties in the County are urging a vote FOR Question B.”
Even with the repeal of effects bargaining, the Police Department will still maintain its requirement to bargain with the Fraternal Order of Police leadership on wages, benefits, hours, working conditions, grievances, safety and more, just like other County unions and other police unions around the State.
Question B would not affect police officers’ shifts, schedules, or transfers – all those issues have already been bargained in binding contracts between the County and the union and do not change.
Montgomery County Police Policies Still Awaiting “Approval”
by Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Leaders
Police Union leaders have held up the finalization of the following 15 Police Department directives by demanding the right to bargain their “effects.” The five issues marked with a star (*) had already been bargained and agreed to under the Union’s collective bargaining agreement - but the Union demanded to bargain them again under effects bargaining, thus continuing to delay their going into effect.
Directive Date Sent to FOP
Use of Force (131) 06/27/08
Guides officers in their use of deadly force and non-deadly force. This includes but is not limited to the application of force through the use of firearms, tasers, and other protective instruments. This policy also covers the reporting process for officers to articulate the facts and circumstances surrounding their use of force.
Equipment Turn-In (390) 10/07/08
Details the procedures to be followed when turning in police-issued equipment.
*Firearms and Accessories (305) 10/18/08
Describes the type of authorized firearms and associated accessories (holsters, attached lights, etc…) that can be used by an officer while on-duty or off-duty.
*Clothing Allowance (414) 11/11/08
Provides guidelines for a clothing allowance to sworn officers whose job responsibilities do not primarily require the use of the standard-issue police uniform and the process by which these officers are paid.
*Restricted duty (380) 7/24/09
Defines what will occur when an officer is temporarily incapacitated and is not able to fully perform all duties or meet all responsibilities required of a sworn police officer.
Raids (711) 10/20/09
Details the procedures whenever it is necessary for officers to conduct search and seizure operations typically in the form of a search warrant service, with focus on the rights, safety, and welfare of both the citizens and the officers involved.
Search Warrants (712) 10/20/09
Defines the procedures to be followed when applying for and serving search warrants.
Interpreters and Language Services (1121) 09/08/09
Establishes that it is the policy of the department to furnish appropriate auxiliary aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with individuals with hearing impairments.
*Mobil Video Systems (425) 01/13/10
Delineates the arbitrated award whereby the Department can install, review and use mobile video systems in officers’ police cruisers. This allows for better evidence in court, accountability in the police force, and safety for the officer on the street.
Field Training and Evaluation (343) 02/01/10
Defines the policy of the department to provide each probationary officer with field training under the guidance, direction, and evaluation of experienced officers and supervisors.
High Risk Incidents (950) 06/16/10
Establishes the policy to resolve potentially life-threatening incidents through the use of departmental resources to include patrol officers, the SWAT team, and hostage negotiators. High risk incidents include: hostage situations, any life-threatening situation, barricades and high risk arrest/execution of a search warrant.
ECC Tapes 10/17/11
This policy sets forth the process to obtain ECC communication tapes, both 911 calls and dispatch transmissions.
Defines the duties and responsibilities of sworn officers working in the school system as School Resource Officers (SROS’s).
*Employee Personal Information 5/18/12
Lists what personal information is kept by the department and what types of personal information can be released publicly including the reasons for its release.
“Although Union leaders claim the Police Chief can override the need for Union leaders’ ‘approval’ within 50 days and implement a given policy, that’s not how the system works,” said Lacefield.
“First, why should Union leaders get to delay critical Police policies for even 50 days?
“Second, Union leaders can file Prohibited Practice Charges against the Police Chief with failing to negotiate in ‘good faith.’
“Third, an item can only be pulled off the “waiting list” if it has a significant public safety impact. Many of the issues are important, but not emergencies. And, either way, Union leaders can argue there is no significant public safety impact.
“Fourth, even then the ability of the Chief to override would last only as long as it takes for a Labor Arbitrator, invoked by Union leaders, to rule on the issue.
“And, finally, labor arbitrations usually always go against the Police Chief and the County and, in these cases, the Labor Arbitrator would be making his ruling under the law that mandates ‘effects bargaining.’
“Result: Union leaders win, the public loses. And the Police Department is right back where it started.
“That’s why a vote FOR Question B makes sense.”
# # #