As the year winds down and 2020 draws to a close, LVMPD’s COVID-19 rules have reached a level that is not only costing officers money and earned sick time, but also causing some officers to receive discipline.
A few years ago, the LVPPA informed officers that they have the right to request a union representative if they feel any conversation they have with a supervisor can result in discipline. This rule also applies if you are having a conversation with Health and Safety about your actions after you report potential COVID symptoms to employees who are assigned to that office, even if they are civilians. It is the LVPPA’s position that the Department is violating the contract by forcing officers to stay home when they can come to work. Many officers have reported having regular back pain and headaches for years, but have come to work even with those ailments. Now imagine telling Health and Safety that you came to work with back pain and a headache and then testing positive for COVID and then being placed on administrative leave for coming to work sick. This is what we are dealing with.
We believe that the Department is not accurately following the CDC guidelines and is forcing officers to quarantine even when they don’t have to. Corrections officers at CCDC are assigned to jail modules where COVID-positive inmates are housed and have regular exposure to those inmates, but because they wear masks, they are not made to get tested for COVID or quarantine unless they develop symptoms. This same rule should be applied Department-wide. There is a minimum staffing hard number of officers that I am sure LVMPD has to adequately maintain, and if staffing were to get below this number, regardless of a COVID exposure, they would make COVID-exposed officers come to work. This tells me that it’s more about saving money in sick time benefits than it is about safety. Also, although hard to prove, all of these officer COVID quarantines could have caused an uptick in crime around Las Vegas.
It will be interesting to see how the Department will treat officers who refuse to be vaccinated once the COVID vaccine is available, because there will undoubtedly be officers who will not trust the vaccine and will refuse to take it. I am not trying to get under the skin of LVMPD command staff, I am only asking that a fair set of rules be established that make sense and apply to everyone equally. LVMPD cannot put PO IIs on administrative leave for violating COVID policies but only give supervisors a written reprimand when they violate the same policies. LVMPD has the ability to place officers on administrative leave who never get sick or test positive for COVID but only have a COVID exposure, but they will not do it because it saves them money in holiday pay when they carry officers “off in lieu of” on a holiday when they are quarantined. Just like we have since the beginning, we will continue to track COVID grievance cases. If you have any questions, please give me a call at (702) 468-0766 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.