UPDATE: Urban Council expected to approve police contract on first reading

Pay raises, disciplinary changes among other things

UPDATE POSTED 7 P.M. TUESDAY, OCT. 26, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – The Lexington Fayette County Urban County Council heard its first formal presentation Tuesday of a proposed new contract with the Fraternal Order of Police. Council members discussed the contract briefly and are expected to approve it on first reading at their meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Final approval on second reading is expected at the Council’s Nov. 4 meeting.

UPDATE POSTED 8 A.M. MONDAY, OCT. 25, 2021

LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ/CivicLex) – At this week’s work session, set for 3 p.m. Tuesday, the Urban County Council will get its first formal review of the long-awaited 2021 Bluegrass Fraternal Order of the Police (FOP) Lodge 4’s Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) which covers almost 600 existing officers and sergeants.

The document, which includes outlines for police disciplinary procedures, expired on June 30, 2020.

The confidential negotiation process between the FOP and the Mayoral Administration was put on hold in 2020 due to COVID precautions. The Council and residents were not directly involved, but the Administration could choose to bring their concerns to the table on their behalf.

Council will now have the final say in whether or not the city adopts the agreement. This CBA was a major point of discussion in last summer’s protests following the murder of George Floyd, with changes to incident reporting and disciplinary procedures for officers being some of the most sought-for demands of protestors for better police accountability.

You can attend the meeting on the 26th either in person or watch it remotely via the city’s LexTV broadcast. Major changes to listen for include details about pay raises, Grievance Procedures, Disciplinary Procedures and the Bill of Rights, Personnel Files, and Critical Incidents.

Major changes include:

  • Pay Raises: A four-year, $21.3M agreement for pay increases. Starting pay will now be $47k; also: 3% pay raise in 2022, followed by 2% raises in 2023 and 2024

  • First Responder Bonuses: $5,000 bonuses for all officers from the city’s ARPA funds

  • Civilian Oversight: LPD’s internal review board added 2 civilian positions; the board also has 2 FOP union representatives, and 5 other police officers (down from 6)

  • Misconduct Records: The LPD can now consider officer conduct records that are older than 5 years when disciplining an officer. Previously, any records older than 5 years were not allowed to be considered.

  • Paid Leave: LPD officers now can have up to 2 years of paid leave after an injury, up from 18 months.

A lot more details below. If you want to skip to the next section, just click here.

  • Article 39 – Salary Schedule

    • Pay increases to make entry-level pay more competitive and to promote retention.

      • 3% starting July 1, 2022

      • 2% starting July 1, 2023

      • 2% starting July 1, 2024

  • Article 11 – Grievance Procedure

    • Language added to Section 1:

      • all grievances must be signed by the affected member (the document uses the term member in place of officer); it must be presented to a designated Lodge representative; incomplete and unsigned grievance documents don’t count as adequate notice of grievance filing; and all grievances have to be in writing.

    • Language added to Section 2

      • LFUCG and the Lodge can mutually agree to extend grievance deadlines

      • meaning of “grieved event” includes when a member knew or should have known about the circumstances leading to a grievance.

        • Section 2, Step 1: The term “Immediate Supervisor” was replaced with “Affected Member’s Lieutenant”. The Lieutenant now has 14 days from when the grievance was submitted to answer in writing via email to the member and the lodge.

        • Section 2, Step 2: Members can appeal to the Assistant Chief within 14 days of receiving a response from their Lieutenant if they don’t agree with it. The Assistant Chief must meet with the member within 14 days after being notified and must provide a written answer within 14 days of that meeting. Finally, all grievances affecting members of more than one Bureau or more than one member in the same Bureau must be initiated at this step.

        • Section 2, Step 3: Appeals to answers initiated in Step 2 must be presented by email to the Chief of Police within 14 days of the member receiving the answer from the Assistant Chief. The Chief must meet with the affected member and Lodge representative to discuss the grievance and provide an answer to it within 14 days of the meeting .

        • Section 2, Step 4: Further appeals to the Mayor must be presented within 14 days of receiving the Chief’s answer. The Mayor must meet with the member and Lodge representative to provide an answer within 14 days of the meeting.

        • Section 2, Step 5 (A): amended to require an affected member to notify LFUCG in writing of their intention to seek arbitration of a grievance within 14 days after receiving the Mayor’s answer. Language was added that the arbitration panel must include 7 arbitrators from the Kentucky region and that the panel be provided within 21 days of the member requesting arbitration.

        • Section 3: The Department has a 72 hour grace period to provide an answer to a grievance if the affected member doesn’t receive one within the timeframes listed in Steps 1-4. If the Department still doesn’t provide an answer, the grievance will be deemed confessed.

        • Section 4: the grievance procedure is the sole means of resolving grievances unless otherwise noted.

  • Article 15 – Disciplinary Procedures and the Bill of Rights

    • Section 2: members are to be disciplined only for just cause; the term “misconduct” includes acts or omissions in violation of criminal law and LFUCG policy

    • Section 3 – Complaint Procedure: The complaint procedure has been removed and replaced nearly in its entirety.

      • Section 3(A)(1) – complaints alleging criminal misconduct by a member will be investigated without the need for a signed affidavit from the complainant.

      • Section 3(A)(2) – complainants alleging misconduct not classified as criminal activity must provide a signed affidavit

      • Section 3(A)(3) – if the complainant refuses to sign an affidavit related to a complaint, LFUCG may still investigate the incident, but may only bring charges if LFUCG can independently substantiate the allegations against the member.

      • Section 3(B) – adds that nothing in the section precludes the Department from investigating and charging members with criminal or administrative misconduct.

      • Section 3(C) – the complaint procedure defined in KRS 15.520 adn KRS 95.450 must be explained to the complainant by a supervisor or the Public Integrity Unit (“PIU”) investigator.

      • Section 3(D) – a complainant is required to sign an affidavit if they elect to file a formal complaint. The PIU shall investigate all allegations of misconduct contained in formal complaints.

      • Section 3(E) – If the complainant chooses not to file a formal complaint, then an informal complaint or an information only report may be completed, and such complaints must be resolved at the Bureau level:

        • Section 3(E)(1) – once an informal complaint is received, a member’s immediate supervisor must contact the complainant to conduct further inquiry and investigation as appropriate

        • Section 3 (E)(2) – an investigating supervisor may take appropriate remedial measures at the Bureau level on informal complaints which are limited to coaching and counseling and remedial training. Coaching and counseling documents do not constitute discipline.

        • Section 3 (E)(3) – After the investigation, the investigating supervisor must contact the complainant and inform them of the resolution and/or remedial measures taken. If unsatisfied with the result, the complainant must be referred to PIU where they can file a formal complaint.

        • Section 3(E)(4) – If the investigating supervisor believes the incident requires a formal complaint, and the complainant declines to do so, the investigating supervisor must file a formal complaint with the PIU.

        • Section 3(E)(5) – Requires all informal complaints to be documented accurately and to be provided to the PIU for entry into the Early Indication System.

      • Section 4 – Investigation Procedure

        • Section 4(A) – The member must be provided with a written explanation of the reason for an investigation and whether the member is the subject of the investigation. If a member becomes the subject of an investigation, an investigator has no obligation to stop an interrogation to inform the member they are now the subject of an investigation.

        • Section 4(B) – A member may be required to submit his/her own written report regarding an investigation.

        • Section 4(E) – was added stating that LFUCG shall conduct administrative investigations of non-criminal conduct within 60 days of receipt of a signed affidavit from the complainant. The time limit can be extended by the Chief of Police.

        • Section 4(F) – If a criminal investigation occurs along with an administrative complaint, the administrative complaint can be postponed until the criminal investigation is resolved.

        • Section 4(G) – When a complaint alleges criminal misconduct, the member may also be subject to an administrative investigation, and the member will be provided with a copy of the administrative complaint within 7 days of the disposition of the criminal investigation. Administrative complaints not related to criminal activity will be provided to the member within 21 days of the signing of an affidavit by the complainant.

        • Section 4(H) – The PIU investigator will prepare a summary report to the Chief of Police following the completion of the investigation.

        • Section 4(I) – The Lodge must provide LFUCG with any written or recorded statements related to disciplinary actions against a member prior to any hearing before the LFUCG Urban County Council.

        • Section 4(L) – It is not a condition of continued employment to be compelled to testify by any person or body of a non- governmental nature. The Disciplinary Review Board is recognized as a governmental body.

      • Section 5 – Discipline Procedures, a newly added section

        • Section 5(A)- Requires the PIU investigator to submit a written summary of an investigation to the Chief of Police within 7 days of completion.

        • Section 5(B)- Requires the Chief of Police to determine whether the investigation revealed one of the following:

          1. Proper Conduct – Member’s actions did not constitute misconduct.

          2. Improper Conduct – Member’s actions did constitute misconduct.

          3. Insufficient Evidence – Not enough evidence to prove or disprove the allegations.

          4. Unfounded Complaint – the allegations were false or no evidence to support them.

          5. Policy Failure – Member’s actions fell within the relevant policy, but the policy may need to be reviewed and/or changed.

        • Section 5(C) – Requires the Chief of Police to communicate to the member his/her intentions to conclude the disciplinary process if there is no misconduct.

        • Section 5(D) – If there is misconduct, the Chief may recommend discipline, and may meet with the member to present recommended discipline and/or sanctions (the meeting will not be subject to section 7). The member may accept or reject such recommendations. The Chief may also choose not to recommend discipline (or if the member rejects the recommendation), and if so, the Chief must direct the PIU to prepare a report for the Disciplinary Review Board (“DRB”).

        • Section 5(E) – If the member accepts the Chief’s disciplinary recommendation, the PIU will prepare an Agreement of Conformity, and after signed by the member, the agreement will be sent to the L.F.U.C.G. Council Clerk to be put on the agenda.

        • Section 5(F) – If the disciplinary action is referred to the Disciplinary Review Board, the member must appear before the board and respond to questions. Failure to appear or respond to questions subjects the member to further discipline, including termination. Prior to the appearance before the Board, the member may obtain the investigative file upon written request. All records in the file are confidential and the member’s copy must be destroyed at the conclusion of the disciplinary proceedings.

        • Section 5(G) – The PIU investigator and the member will have an opportunity to present all relevant information to the Disciplinary Review Board, and the DRB may direct questions to the investigator and the member.

        • Section 5(H) – The DRB shall deliberate at the conclusion of the presentation without the member or Lodge representative present. The DRB shall determine by majority vote whether the member’s actions constitute misconduct, and the member shall be informed of the DRB’s decision and recommendation.

        • Section 5(I) – All DRB recommendations shall be reduced to writing and sent to the member and Chief of Police.

        • Section 5(J) – The Chief may accept, reject, or alter the DRB’s recommendations and may meet with the member again before making his/her recommendation (again this meeting is not subject to discipline under Article 7). The member may then reject or accept the Chief’s recommendation.

        • Section 5(K) – If the member rejects the Chief’s recommendation, the Chief must forward the recommendation to the L.F.U.C.G. department of law, who will then prepare charges to be filed with the L.F.U.C.G. Council Clerk. The Clerk will then comply with all necessary provisions of the collective bargaining agreement and KRS 15.520 and KRS 95.450.

        • Section 5(L) – Any time limits imposed by statute regarding the notice of disciplinary charges and recommended sanctions are considered issued upon service to a member.

        • Section 5(M) – was amended to require L.F.U.C.G. and the Department to make available any L.F.U.C.G. employees who have information related to potential misconduct as witnesses at any hearing conducted by the L.F.U.C.G. Urban Council.

        • Section 5(N) – was amended to require the L.F.U.C.G. Council Clerk to issue subpoenas to witnesses for L.F.U.C.G. Urban County Council hearings.

        • Section 5(O) – If Improper Conduct is determined through the investigation process, the Chief of Police, or designee, shall notify the complainant in writing about the final disposition.

      • Section 6 – Disciplinary Review Board (“DRB”)

        • Section 6(A) – Requires the DRB to consider founded complaints made against members when the Chief of Police declines to recommend discipline, or when the member rejects the Chief’s recommendation.

        • Section 6(C)- Describes the requirements of the make up of the DRB: 9 members, 5 of whom are either Assistant Chiefs or Commanders. 2 members of the DRB must be supervisors appointed by the Lodge, and 2 members will be Fayette County residents who are 21 years or older, who have no felonies, and who have not been convicted of a misdemeanor within the last 5 years.

        • Section 6(D)- Requires the chairperson of the DRB to be appointed by the Chief, and a member of LFUCG’s law department will serve as a liaison to the DRB. The person who filed the complaint cannot be a member of the DRB.

        • Section 6(E)- The members of the DRB shall adhere to all confidentiality requirements set forth in federal and state law.

      • Section 7 – Lodge Representation

        • Section 7(A)- States that a member has the right to Lodge representation if the member is questioned by a supervisor regarding an incident or complaint, the member believes the incident may result in discipline, and the member requests representation.

        • Section 7(B)- The right to Lodge representation must include a supervisor’s request for a written statement from the member regarding the incident.

        • Section 7(C)- The Lodge agrees to have a representative available at all times to provide representation without unreasonable delay. The Lodge must provide the Chief with a list of Lodge representatives at specific times.

        • Section 7(D)- L.F.U.C.G. is not required to delay an interview or written statement of a member to wait for a member’s preferred representative. So long as there is a qualified representative present, there is no cause for delay.

        • Section 7(E) was amended to define a “Lodge Representative” as a designated member of the Lodge or an FOP attorney.

  • Article 16 – Personnel Files

    • Section 1 – Personnel files are the property of LFUCG and that this section is subject to state and federal law.

    • Section 6 – A “Supervisor’s file” of a member must only contain records reasonably necessary to reference a member’s prior work performance when preparing evaluation, and to recommend additional training.

    • Section 7 – If no formal complaints are filed, only an informal complaint or information complaint may be completed. These complaints are to be investigated and resolved at the Bureau level, and any action taken must be forwarded to the Public Integrity Unit for storage in the IA/Pro system. Coaching and Counseling documents are to be kept in the member’s electronic personnel file for a maximum of one year from the date of incident.

  • Article 41: Critical Incidents

    • A new article created from former Article 15 language

      • Section A – LFUCG must notify the Lodge President when any member is involved in a “critical incident”, which is an incident that results in the death or serious physical injury to another.

      • Section B – Members are not allowed to refuse or fail to cooperate in providing scene information about a critical incident.

      • Section C – Requires that the investigating agency follow all applicable post-critical investigation protocols

      • Section D – A drug test may be administered to any member involved in a critical incident.

      • Section E – Members must be informed of their right to counsel and given enough time to receive counsel if being interviewed by an investigating agency as a result of their involvement in a critical incident.

      • Section F – Members are not required to give a statement on a critical incident during a criminal investigation with a Public Integrity Unit representative present.

      The above is only an excerpt containing the most publicly-relevant agreement changes and additions. If you’d like to read the full document, you can access it here.

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (UPDATE POSTED 9 P.M. OCT. 22, 2021) (WTVQ) – It’s a contract Mayor Linda Gorton says will address some of the cities toughest issues, including racial injustice, community trust, and difficulty retaining police officers.

“We know our community expects good policing and so one of the ways to get that is to ensure we are paying them correctly” said Mayor Gorton.

The contract covers 597 sergeant and officer positions and will include pay increases, as well as a $5,000 bonus….that comes from Federal ARPA money.
A portion of the cost of the raises was already in the budget.
The City will use savings from vacant positions to cover the rest of the cost.
The City says the financial impact will be $21.3 million over four years.

“We are currently in the hiring process and hopefully that will draw some new recruits to us that want to join the Lexington Police Department and hopefully the increases in salary over the next four years and the increases they will see right away will help us retain senior officers” said Assistant Chief, Eric Lowe.

It’s an agreement all parties are happy with.

Fraternal Order of Police President Jeremy Russell saying “The end agreement is the result of hard work, cooperation and understanding from both sides.  The City of Lexington, its officers and its community are a lot better off with this contract than without.”
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It also adds 2 civilians on the internal police disciplinary board that was a request by the Commission on Racial Justice and Equality.
Mayor Gorton says the addition of the civilians came to the forefront following a year of protests, and issues surrounding racial injustice and law enforcement.

“It’s important to have civilians and part of the value of having civilians on that disciplinary review board is that they bring a different perspective, they bring, we believe they will bring a community perspective” added Mayor Gorton.

When asked how much of the  process will change with the addition of civilians on the board…FOP President Russell says “The addition of civilians to the disciplinary board will have little effect on discipline because he says all good cops want all bad cops gone.”

The contract must now be approved by the Urban County Council.  An initial vote is set for next Tuesday.

——

LEXINGTON, Ky.(ORIGINAL STORY posted 10:20 a.m. Oct. 22, 2021) (WTVQ) – Lexington and the Fraternal Order of Police have reached a new four-year contract agreement that could be formally approved as early as next week.

The deal ends what have sometimes been contentious behind-the-scenes talks and disagreements over some issues, including staffing levels and pay. The new deal does address several issues important to both sides.

The contract, which will get its first review Tuesday by the Urban County Council, features:

  • Pay increases designed to improve recruitment and retention;
  • 2 civilians on the Internal Police Disciplinary Board, which city leaders describe as a “huge step forward in accountability and transparency” which was sought by the Commission on Racial Justice and Equality;
  • $5,000 bonus.

The contract covers 597 sergeant and officer positions. A contract with higher-ranking officials was reached earlier.

The Police Review Board is five members of the Command Staff, which is assistant chiefs and commanders, two supervisors from the FOP and two civilians appointed by the Mayor.

The $5,000 bonuses are coming from federal ARPA money.

A portion of the cost of raise, which is retroactive to July, already in the budget. The city will use savings from vacant positions to cover the rest of the cost. Overall, the financial impact will be $21.3 million over four years, according to city leaders.

“We are investing in our police. We knew that recruiting was an issue and we knew that retention was an issue. We have to get them in the door and we have to keep them. So we focused on starting pay and pay to retain officers. We know that we needed to improve our competitiveness. We are competing with everyone in the country, basically,” Mayor Linda Gorton said.

“One of my top priorities was to have civilians on our internal police disciplinary review board. This contract puts two civilians on the internal review board. It’s a big change. This is a big step,” Gorton added.

Contract now must be approved by the Urban County Council. It will get an initial vote next Tuesday.

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