Fallen Hero Anniversary Date: Sergeant Bruce Prothero

This is a reminder of the anniversary date of the line-of-duty-death of Bruce A. Prothero on Sunday, February 7, 2016.

On February 7, 2000, Sergeant Bruce Prothero , a married father of five, was working part time as a security guard at a jewelry store on Reisterstown Road when four armed men robbed the store. When Sergeant Prothero followed the robbers out of the store, he was shot twice and died an hour later as a result of his wounds.

Under Departmental regulations Memorial Ribbon Bars may be worn on the uniform, above all other ribbons above the badge, on the anniversary dates of Baltimore County police officers killed-in-the-line-of-duty.

Members are encouraged to honor and remember Bruce A. Prothero by wearing their Memorial Ribbon Bars on February 7th of each year

A wreath has been placed at the BCoPD Memorial in his memory.

Grand Lodge Data Base Breech

Message From National President Canterbury

Recently at FOP Lodge #4 we have upgraded our entire network and server system. Unlike the National FOP, member data is not stored on the same network (or server) as our web site or email.  So there is no public access to our server or network. The National FOP allows member access with a user ID and valid password. Our server is behind the Comcast router with a built-in firewall.  Comcast randomly reassigns our public IP, so the IP we send out to the world today is different next week.  We also added a domain service when we upgraded the server. One cannot get to any of our files without a valid login.

We have also taken the precautions of not allowing outside access to the network, requiring valid logins to access the network files, disabling the common default accounts, naming the internal domain separately from our email and web site domains and not sharing access with guests.

While nothing is impossible to access, as we have seen in recent times, we feel we have taken appropriate precautions.

Contract Negotiations for July 1, 2016

Pursuant to Article 4, Title 5, Section 4-5-505 of the Employee Relations Act, the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4 has notified the County Administration of impasse in the current contract negotiations.

Our attorney, Matt Clash-Drexler and Director of Human Resources George Gay will select an Arbitrator today.

The dates for submissions and hearings will be set in the next couple of weeks.

Proposed legislation to add Law enforcement and First Responders to Maryland Hate Crimes Law.

The Maryland State FOP is supporting a House Bill 50 (HB50). HB50 expands the Maryland hate crimes statute to include law enforcement officers and other first responders.  The first hearing on the proposed legislation will be on January 19, 2016 at 1pm in the House Judiciary committee. Please contact your local representative and express your support for the passage of HB50.

Public Safety and Policing Work Group Recommendations

The legislative committee assigned by Speaker Busch and Senate President Miller have concluded their hearings and have proposed recommendations to the legislature for changes they believe are needed in Maryland.

The FOP has not endorsed any of these changes.  These are being posted for information purposes only.

Workgroup on Public Safety & Policing in Maryland Recommendations 1-111-16

Police Arrest Combative 19 Year Old Male Outside Towson Bar

December 19, 2015 – Officers from the Towson Precinct responded to disturbances at the York Road restaurant and bar district. An arrest was made that was independently video recorded. That video has been given much attention and has prompted discussion as to the response by police officers.

The Baltimore County Police Department stated they will conduct an investigation into the incident taking all of the information available into account to make an assessment. The public has shown great confidence in the police department’s ability to do so and the department should be afforded the same opportunity in this instance.

Physical arrests where the suspect resists are never visually appealing to watch. The officers we represent do not look for or seek out situations such as this. They are tasked with responding and establishing order where it does not exist. When citizens do not comply with the direction of law enforcement officers they create a situation where physical force is required. These are unfortunate circumstances created by the suspects and the officers must follow through with their responsibility.

We appreciate the public’s support of the officers we represent and the Baltimore County Police Department.
Cole B. Weston
President

Baltimore County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #4 represents over 2900 active and retired Baltimore County Police Officers. www.foplodge4.org

Experts cast doubt on psychological evaluations for Md. police

By: Bryan P. Sears Daily Record Business Writer November 24, 2015

Improved supervision and training may improve policing more than mandatory psychological evaluations of officers, according to two experts.

The testimony before the Public Safety and Policing Workgroup cast some doubt on efforts to require additional mandatory psychological testing of police officers. Some members of the panel said there is no consensus on what such a recommendation would look like.

“This is all about the failure to supervise at all levels,” said Stephen F. Curran, a psychologist with a specialty background in police and public safety, in discussing shortcomings in police performance. “It’s the failure to take disciplinary action — to hold people accountable. That’s the push.”

Curran was one of two experts to testify Tuesday at Morgan State University before the work group. The legislative panel is expected to meet one more time in early December before making recommendations on as many as six bills focused on changing policing in the state.

There are about 70 psychologists certified in the specialty of police and public safety, according to Curran, who said he is the only one with such credentials in the state.

Hamin Shabazz, chairman of the Criminal Justice Department at Stevenson University and a former police officer in Camden, New Jersey, said most police departments already test recruits, though there is no consistency in terms of which test is used.

“I would say to you that the problems that law enforcement is experiencing in the state of Maryland as well as the United States is based on training,” said Shabazz. “That is where I think the solutions will be.”

Many agencies also have periodic exams to test fitness for duty. As legislators consider the possibility of requiring mandatory psychological evaluations, some have raised the question of costs, which are estimated to be between $3 million to $5 million annually statewide.

“My position on retesting is that I think it would be a waste of resources,” Shabazz said. “The average cost of an exam is about $300 (per officer).”

The work group is one of three taking up police and criminal justice issues before the General Assembly convenes in January. Other panels are looking at body cameras or at how to lower the rates of incarceration and recidivism in Maryland.

The panel was created earlier this year by House Speaker Michael E. Busch and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. in the aftermath of the riots that followed the death of Freddie Gray, a west Baltimore man who suffered fatal injuries while in police custody.

Since its first meeting in June, the group has looked at issues including hiring practices, diversity within police departments and additional, mandatory periodic psychological evaluations of police officers.

Still, some members of the panel say testing can play an important role in determining if an officer can adequately perform his or her duties.

“Inadequate testing is what we’ve also got,” said Sen. Catherine Pugh, D-Baltimore City, referring to part of Shabazz’s testimony. “There’s an inconsistency across the board, and regulations need to be changed. We don’t really have professionals who are doing this testing, that’s my understanding. With 17,000 police officers we certainly can’t have one person providing psychological testing.”

Del. Brett R. Wilson, R-Washington County, said there is no consensus on the panel to require testing and said any such recommendation would have to contain specific guidance on what circumstances would trigger an evaluation.

“There’s a clear difference regarding when it should be administered and how it should be triggered,” said Wilson, who is also an assistant state’s attorney in his home county. “We’ve heard talk that after any traumatic event, from an accident where a child dies all the way up to instance where there is an excessive force brutality case, there’s no consensus right now. There’s a gut feeling that testing of a person that could indicate a problem could prevent a bigger problem. I don’t know if we got a clear answer on that specific issue from the experts.”

FOP Lodge #4 Election Results 2015

Below are the results of the 2015 elections for FOP Lodge #4. Officers will be sworn into office in December and will serve a term of 2 years. This year we had a total of 1210 ballots returned.  Congratulation to the winners and all those who participated and voted this year.

President – Cole Weston -(unopposed)
1st VP – Steven Comegna – (unopposed)
2nd VP – David Rose – (unopposed)
Treasurer – Bob Caskey – (unopposed)
State Trustee – Don Patterson – (unopposed)

Secretary
Donna Patterson – 821

Kathryn Greenbeck – 249
Bryn Blackburn – 108

Chaplain
Tony DiCara – 665

Rob Graff – 465

Sergeant at Arms
Ryan Massey – 694

Mike Greco – 478

Executive Board of Directors
Mike DiCara – 900
Kathy Kraemer – 883
Tom Scally – 880
Jim Rommel – 873
Dave Sweren – 587
Pat Zito – 544
Sekou Hinton – 361
Doug Jess – 307

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Baltimore Sun Analysis of the L.E.O.B.R. is Incorrect

On October 26, 2015 The Baltimore Sun published an editorial titled Disciplining Bad Cops . The editorial touched on two sections of Maryland’s Law Enforcement Bill f Rights (L.E.O.B.R.). In the first part they write about the provision that allows an officer 10 days to get representation before being interviewed in an administrative investigation. Stating, “Nevertheless, the 10-day rule fosters a perception that officers are above the law and are afforded protections the rest of us are not.”

When one looks as to why that provision of the L.E.O.B.R. is in place, one finds that it is based upon a decision of the United States Supreme Court. In the United States Supreme Court case of National Labor Relations Board v Weingarten 1975, the Justices opined that when an employee, who is represented by a labor organization, requests an attorney or other representation, an employer has three options:
1. Grant the request and delay questioning until the union representative arrives;
2. Deny the request and end the interview immediately; or
3. Give the employee a choice of: (a) having the interview without representation or (b) ending the interview.
If the employer denies the request for union representation and continues the meeting, the employee can refuse to answer questions.

Under Maryland’s L.E.O.B.R., if an officer does not have representation available within the 10 days, the officer forfeits the right to representation and can be compelled to answer all questions. Any refusal may lead to disciplinary action up to and including termination. Under Weingarten, there is no ten (10) day limit for other employees. The ten (10) days in the L.E.O.B.R. is a deadline for the officer, not the agency. The L.E.O.B.R. actually takes a right away from an officer that is afforded to everyone else but grants the officer sufficient time to obtain representation.

The author also touches upon a section of the L.E.O.B.R. that refers to allegations of excessive force or brutality being filed within 90 days. Stating, “Moreover, even if there were no waiting period before department investigators can question officers accused of misconduct, they are still barred from examining allegations of brutality that are more than 90 days old. As a result, bad officers can escape consequences even after commanders become aware of their misconduct.”

The Maryland Court of Appeals has ruled on this issue in Baltimore City Police Department v. Michael Andrew in 1989. In the decision the Court states in part “This language may be seen as designed to protect officers against frivolous complaints via the oath requirement, but it certainly is no statute of limitations.” “But what the statutory language, consistent with the legislative history, bars is further investigation or proceedings in a brutality matter at the behest of the complainant, if the complaint has not been filed within 90 days. It does not bar further proceedings if the police agency, on its own initiative, decides to conduct an investigation or press charges.” “Thus, the available history demonstrates that the last sentence of § 728(b)(4) was designed to operate as a statute of limitations. This approach is consistent with the notion of protecting police officers from irresponsible or frivolous complaints of brutality. It also is consistent with the general goals of the LEOBR.”

“In other words, when a qualified complainant files a sworn brutality complaint within the 90-day period, the police agency has a duty to proceed with an investigation. If that same complainant files a sworn complaint more than 90 days after the incident of alleged brutality, there is no duty to investigate. But if the police agency decides on its own to proceed with the investigation (and with the placing of charges if the investigation so indicates), § 728(b)(4) does not prevent it from doing so.”

In summary, Police agencies in Maryland can, in fact, investigate allegations of excessive force and brutality that have been filed after the 90 days if the agency head chooses to proceed on its own initiative.

FOP Calls on Members to Boycott Tarantino

Chuck Canterbury, National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, called on the organization’s members to boycott Mr. Quentin Tarantino’s film, The Hateful Eight, which is scheduled to be released later this year. In addition, the FOP is advising its members not to accept assignments or perform off-duty work, such as providing security, traffic control or technical assistance to any project involving Mr. Tarantino.

“For a man who has built his career on glorifying criminal violence, we take great offense to his recent comments calling law enforcement officers ‘murderers’ just days after an actual murder of a New York City Police Officer,” Canterbury said.

The FOP has urged its 2300 lodges and 330,000 members to boycott Mr. Tarantino’s latest project in reaction to his inflammatory remarks describing law enforcement officers as “murderers” while attending an anti-police rally. Canterbury sent a letter to the Weinstein Company informing them of the reasons the FOP would be boycotting the film.

“If Mr. Tarantino truly wished to be on “the side of the murdered,” he would speak in defense of Officer Holder and the 37 other law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2015. Thirty-eight dead police officers may not be much of a body count for a Tarantino film, but to the brave men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police, it is far too many,” Canterbury said.

The Fraternal Order of Police is the largest law enforcement labor organization in the United States, with more than 330,000 members.

National FOP President Chuck Canterbury’s Response to FBI Director Comey

Why FBI Director Comey is wrong

Recently FBI Director Comey, who by the way has never served as a law enforcement officer, again made statements that I feel just do not meet the smell test.

In February of this year, Director Comey made the following remarks about law enforcement.

Comey, who has held the FBI’s top post since 2013, said police officers should acknowledge the “widespread existence of unconscious bias.”

Comey speaking after Ferguson asserted that there is wide spread existence of unconscious bias in law enforcement and that that is what is causing a distrust between communities and their law enforcement officers. I reject this claim and again reiterate that when law enforcement is the only part of government that citizens see, we become the focus of community mistrust. When politicians use their police to deal with years of inequities and urban blight and do nothing to try to build a better life for their citizens, then it is them who have failed their citizens not the police who must deal with all of the issues without the support of their governing bodies.

We know that daily law enforcement is called on to reduce crime “for the quality of life” but that the underlying causes are not addressed the community cannot improve unless the social issues are addressed as well. When law enforcement is the only government representatives that a community sees we become the face of the enemy.

Many of us in Law Enforcement have been saying and will continue to say that the mistrust with Government starts at a much higher level and that the major issue and common denominator in communities that have trust issues is poverty.

Director Comey, we do know what’s going on in neighborhoods that mistrust law enforcement, because we are the only ones doing anything to help these communities.

In Chicago earlier this week, Comey again addressed a forum at the University of Chicago and in my mind and surprisingly in President Obama’s mind, blamed Law Enforcement for the uptick in violent crime. Here is a quote from Comey’s talk at the University of Chicago.

“On Monday, FBI director James Comey reiterated that the rise of violent crime in certain cities may be a result of less aggressive policing due to increased scrutiny of officers in the wake of recent high-profile police killings of black men”.

First and foremost people who break the law cause crime. Are police officers dealing with anxiety and stress over the lack of public support, absolutely but to blame the rise in crime on officer’s behavior is just not grounded in fact and is wrong.

Police officers have not stopped responding to calls especially high priority calls that involve violence and this is evidenced with the fact that thirty-two police officers have been killed by firearms already this year, doesn’t sound to me like law enforcement is not doing their jobs. Reductions in public contacts are more the result of less police on the street than it is on officers being reluctant to act.

Governments have as a result of high profiled incidents backed police off of doing their jobs. They have stopped preventive patrols, they have reduced the number of officers on the street and they have given orders as was evident in Baltimore for officers to disengage from people committing criminal acts. These are the reasons we are seeing a spike in violent crime along with the failure of government to address the real issue and that is the abject poverty that many Americans suffer from. It is my assertion that until the Governments of our jurisdictions acknowledge that Law Enforcement cannot fix failed neighborhoods by themselves, we will continue to suffer from mistrust.

Review of a Deadly Force Incident

The link below is a review of a deadly force incident involving a CPD officer and Tamir Rice. The review was completed by Kimberly A. Crawford, Supervisory Special Agent, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Legal Instruction Unit (Retired).

In the review she explains in detail with court citations, what can and cannot be taken into account when reviewing an officer’s use of deadly force.

It is a very concise eight page report.