In our time with this Department, we have had many situations where officers have been terminated for various issues. For most of these incidents, the PPA has great arguments to make against termination. In other cases, the facts surrounding the allegations make it nearly impossible for us to fight a case in arbitration. This article is going to focus on “truthfulness required at all times” and “falsifying a legal document or information in CAD.”
As a refresher for all of our members, the newest version of the discipline matrix was a negotiated item that the Department and the PPA worked on, and is considered the ruling law of the land. In the matrix, we have two different examples of truthfulness, and I will cover both.
Matrix letter E — 4/101.19 Truthfulness Required at all Times
Discipline levels for this offense:
These types of offenses for this category would be lying to your supervisor outside of an official IAB investigation.
Matrix letter H — 4/101.19 Truthfulness Required at all Times
Employee formally noticed of official investigations conducted by the Department who is found to be untruthful during the investigations, or who are found to be untruthful in completing official Department documents.
Discipline levels for this offense:
I can tell you that the “baby” truthfulness is very rarely applied and very rarely used. More often than not, it is the second truthfulness that we see applied. Some of the confusion relates to the “who are found to be untruthful in completing official Department documents.” Here is a list of things that are, or could be, considered official Department documents:
- Crime reports
- Arrest reports
- Vehicle impounds
- Property reports
- Cell check logs
These are the most common documents that officers have put false information on. I want to make clear how a few of these could be the major truthfulness.
CAD: calling out a stop that did not occur. Putting yourself out at lunch at one location, but actually being at another. Saying you are en route to lunch, but you’re actually already sitting inside eating to extend your lunch hour. Putting in CAD notes that are false.
At CCDC, the biggest issue we see is when an officer writes on the log that they did their checks, but video shows they actually did not do the check.
These issues may sound small and petty, but the Department views it as major levels of truthfulness and has attempted and/or succeeded in firing officers.
The biggest thing I want to impress upon our officers in this article is this: be honest. If it is your lunch hour and you are at someone’s house having “lunch,” just put that address! If someone finds out you were doing more than eating, odds are it will be a low-level discipline, if you’re found to be doing something you should not be doing. But if you put a ghost address and your sergeant goes crawling through the neighborhood to find you checked-out at a different address, then they will try to fire you. If you forgot to do your checks on the modules at CCDC, don’t fabricate the log. Take your lumps or explain why and move on.
The truth is, you have to do some pretty messed up stuff to get fired at this agency. We need all the employees we can. By being honest, you’re far more likely to come out of an incident over being dishonest. Remember, the profession we work in and the city we live in has video running 24 hours a day, and we should always operate under the thought that whatever we are doing has some form of filming tied to it. If we remember that, then we won’t ever think we can do something and get away with it.
I hope this article really helps our membership and aids you in having a long and successful career.
As always, stay safe and healthy.