Police arbitration contracts are on the horizon at Black Lives Matter. This blog was among the first to point attention to them back in the summer of 2014.
BLM has grown in popularity and it’s shown some effectiveness this year and that’s despite some setbacks. But now that their presence is firmly established in American discourse, there is a new project on the horizon, called Campaign Zero:
The focus on police arbitration contracts is new terrain for BLM and it’s the core roadblock between reform of police discipline and the community the police serves.
I’ve had discussions with police officers over the years and one of the things I always get as a take-away is how immutable that contract is. No one believes that that document can be changed for the better (the view of the public), or that changing a single sentence in that piece of paper is tantamount to a full on assault of cops (the view of the FOP).
While some other cities have more control over officer discipline than others, Philadelphia’s contract is one of the weakest. It virtually consigns most discipline matters over to the Fraternal Order of Police. Consequently most officers bounce back on to the payroll and into their old jobs with regularity.
Commissioner Chuck Ramsey wants investigations of police shootings to be undertaken by the Pennsylvania State Police. Even so, if PSP doesn’t find anything felonious, that doesn’t really do anything to help Phila. Police Dept. discipline. It just potentially raises the odds that more wrongdoing will be uncovered.
What will really change things for the better is to expand the universe of transgressions for which a police officer can be permanently fired.
Right now that does not include an officer squirting his semen onto a male while in uniform, on duty, in Fairmount Park. Or getting drunk while on the clock. Or countless reasons why fired officers at the Phila. Police Dept. have bounced back under the Ramsey regime. Lots of protests and Facebook posts won’t cure any of that–none have so far.
I continue to tell cops the same thing over and over; you really need to up your game with the discipline because if the shit hits the fan those arbitration contracts will be the next target.
And so, Black Lives Matter has made them a target.
Click here to read Philadelphia’s police contract and review others for many major cities.
Tags: Black Lives Matter | police arbitration contracts