California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

California Public Agency Labor & Employment Blog

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Category Archives: Public Safety Issues

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California Supreme Court Allows Hearing Officers to Rule on Pitchess Motions in Administrative Disciplinary Appeal Hearings

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This post was authored by Alex Polishuk. On December 1, 2014, the California Supreme Court issued its decision in Riverside County Sheriff’s Department v. Stiglitz, ruling that a hearing officer in an administrative appeal hearing has the authority to rule on a Pitchess motion for discovery of peace officer personnel records. The Court largely relied on … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Holds That Actual Notice Must Be Provided to Police Officer Within the 1-Year POBRA Statutory Timeframe

Posted in Public Safety Issues
On November 13, 2014, the Third Appellate District in Earl v. State Personnel Board held that the notice of intended discipline required to be given to a public safety officer under Government Code Section 3304(d) must actually be provided to the officer within the one-year statute of limitations. Subject to certain exceptions, Government Code Section … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court to Hear Issue of Peace Officer Personnel Files

Posted in Public Safety Issues
On August 11, 2014, the Court of Appeal in People v. Superior Court (Johnson) considered the interplay between the United States Supreme Court’s 1963 decision in Brady v. Maryland, which requires the prosecution’s disclosure of evidence that is favorable and material to the defense (including evidence of dishonesty, bias or moral turpitude on the part … Continue Reading

Reviewing Your Internal Affairs Investigation Procedures: Four Ways to Help Your Agency Succeed in Disciplinary Appeals

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This blog post was authored by Erik M. Cuadros Prosecuting a disciplinary appeal can be very expensive and time-consuming for agencies.  After spending the time and effort to conduct an investigation and determine that discipline is warranted, an agency certainly wants to make sure that the discipline is upheld in the event the employee appeals.    Despite … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Holds Names of Police Officers Involved in Shooting Are Subject to Disclosure Under the Public Records Act

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This blog post was written by David Urban and Shardé C. Thomas Today the California Supreme Court issued a 6-1 decision in Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach.  The case involves the issue of whether police departments are required in response to California Public Records Act (“CPRA”) requests to disclose the names … Continue Reading

California Supreme Court Will Review Whether Firefighters Have Right to Review and Respond to Adverse Comments in Supervisor’s Daily Log.

Posted in Public Safety Issues
On February 26, 2014, the California Supreme Court agreed to review the Court of Appeal decision in Poole v. Orange County Fire Authority. Given the nearly identical language in the Public Safety Officers Bill of Rights Act (“POBR”) as in the Firefighters’ Procedural Bill of Rights Act (“FBOR”), this case will affect law enforcement agencies … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Issues First Amendment Ruling Applying the Legal Framework Set Forth by the Recent Dahlia Decision

Posted in First Amendment, Public Safety Issues
This blog post was authored by Alex Polishuk On Tuesday, December 3, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, on the heels of its recent Dahlia v. Rodriguez decision that broadened police officers’ First Amendment rights, issued its ruling in another First Amendment case. In Hagen v. City of Eugene, the Court … Continue Reading

Court of Appeal Holds that a Supervisor’s Daily Log is Considered an “Other File Used for Any Personnel Purposes” under the FBOR and Confirmed a Firefighter’s Right to Review and Respond to Adverse Comments Placed in Such a Daily Log.

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This blog post was authored by Gage Dungy and Stefanie K. Vaudreuil Introduction The Fire Fighters Procedural Bill of Rights (FBOR), enacted in 2007, was intended to provide firefighters the same rights as those guaranteed to public safety officers by the Public Safety Officers Bill of Rights (POBR).  In many areas, the FBOR contains identical … Continue Reading

Governor Signs Bill Which Prohibits Public Agencies From Taking Punitive Action Against a Peace Officer Solely Because the Officer’s Name is on a Brady List

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This blog post was authored by Joung Yim On October 12, 2013, Governor Brown signed Senate Bill 313 into law.  Effective January 1, 2014, Government Code section 3305.5 will be added to the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR).  A law enforcement agency will now be prohibited from taking punitive action, or … Continue Reading

Federal Appeals Court Broadens Scope of Law Enforcement Officer First Amendment Rights

Posted in First Amendment, Public Safety Issues
On Wednesday, August 21, 2013, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held in Dahlia v. Rodriguez that a Burbank police detective could assert a First Amendment retaliation claim based on his allegedly having complained to authorities about abusive interrogation tactics at his department.  The case is significant because it expressly overturns a … Continue Reading

Public Records Act Requires Disclosure Of Names Of Officers From U.C. Davis Pepper Spray Reports

Posted in Public Safety Issues
Perhaps because California citizens have become more interested in local politics in recent years, public agencies have received a marked increase in the number of requests for information under the California Public Records Act.  The Act requires agencies to disclose materials to the public upon request (subject to payment of fees), unless the materials fall … Continue Reading

Ninth Circuit Decision Reaffirms The Difficulty Members Of Law Enforcement Can Face In Asserting First Amendment Claims

Posted in Constitutional Rights, First Amendment, Public Safety Issues, Retaliation
Update: On December 11, 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit decided to re-hear Dahlia v. Rodriguez en banc. Accordingly, public agencies can no longer rely on the three-Judge panel opinion discussed below. A panel of eleven Judges will re-hear the appeal. The opinion of that en banc panel of the Ninth Circuit will likely … Continue Reading

Officers Shooting Pepper Balls to Disperse Partying College Students Are Not Entitled To Qualified Immunity

Posted in Constitutional Rights, Public Safety Issues
This guest post was authored by Judith S. Islas Last November UC Davis police donned in riot gear used pepper spray on a group of student protestors at an “occupy” movement demonstration held on the university campus.  That pepper spray incident was captured on video. It triggered an internet and media frenzy, multiple investigations and … Continue Reading

Rescission Of Pension Benefits By City Held To Be Lawful

Posted in Pension, Public Safety Issues, Retirement
The vested nature of public employee retirement benefits is a hot topic. On the one hand, there are municipalities dealing with increasing pension costs and unfunded liabilities. On the other hand, there are often times a vested right to future pension benefits for employees and retirees cannot be impaired except under very limited circumstances.  Most … Continue Reading

Duty To Provide Notice Of Discipline To Peace Officer Within 30 Days Runs From The Date A Department Makes The Final Decision To Discipline

Posted in Employment, Public Safety Issues
Government Code section 3304(f), part of the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBRA) provides that, when a public agency decides to discipline a peace officer, “the public agency shall notify the public safety officer in writing of its decision to impose discipline, including the date that the discipline will be imposed, within … Continue Reading

Court Of Appeal Holds That Assistant Sheriff’s Waiver Of Right To Administrative Appeal Violated The Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill Of Rights Act

Posted in Public Safety Issues
This guest post was authored by Jennifer Rosner On November 8, 2011, the Fourth District Court of Appeal ruled that the former Assistant Sheriff of Orange County was entitled to an administrative appeal from his discharge despite twice signing a waiver acknowledging that he was an at-will employee with no right to appeal a discharge.  … Continue Reading

Light Duty Assignments And The Disabled Employee

Posted in Disability, Discrimination, Public Safety Issues
Courts have held that generally employees are not obligated to make a temporary assignment permanent where an employee requests reasonable accommodation because of a disability.  This falls in line with the idea that employers are not expected to create as a form of accommodation new positions that did not previously exist.  Recently, however, this notion … Continue Reading