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Legal Articles
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Don’t Have a “Rubber Gun Squad”? Separation Agreements in Public Safety

For years, the New York City Police Department has reserved a place within the department that is widely known as the “rubber gun squad”. This “squad” is comprised of individual officers who cannot be put on the street to conduct normal police operations for a variety of reasons.  Many of the officers have been reinstated […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
4 Performance Evaluation Pitfalls Your Agency Should Avoid

Broken performance evaluation systems damage public safety agencies across the country in two ways. First, they inaccurately give positive documentation to officers that are later used to reverse important disciplinary decisions in court or in arbitration. Second, by selecting “meets expectations,” supervisors are denying performance merits to officers who have earned much greater recognition. More […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
The FTO Process—A Once-in-a-Career Opportunity

The probationary employment period presents public safety leaders with a unique opportunity to evaluate performance, identify “red flags” and take proactive measures to address misconduct. For most officers, the close supervision and continual feedback that they receive from their Field Training Officers (FTOs) during this period will not be replicated for the entirety of their […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
“Gypsy Cops”: Does Your Agency Have a Policy?

The intense media spotlight placed on law enforcement in recent years has often been one-sided, unfair or even disingenuously slanted against the profession.  However, at least one area of scrutiny should be welcomed by law enforcement professionals: the nation-wide problem of agency hopping, problem-prone individuals known as “gypsy cops”. For years, law enforcement leaders have […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Sexual Harassment Liability in Public Safety

The national media has placed a keen focus on the issue of sexual harassment in the workplace over the past several weeks.  Media and political figures are accused of sexual misconduct and, possibly even more importantly, a multitude of men and women in positions of power are found to have been aware of misconduct to […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Performance Evaluations—Are They Helping Us or Hurting Us?

Why are we conducting performance evaluations and how are they making the agency better? These are fundamental questions for agencies that require standardized performance evaluations. Without clearly answering these questions, supervisors are often put in the position of pursuing the “path of least resistance” when it comes to conducting performance evaluations. This path is understandably […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Confronting the “Gypsy Cops” Problem: Understanding State Statutes that Give Legal Protections to Those Who Speak Out

The national problem of “gypsy cops” is not a new one. Toxic officers engage in misconduct in one agency after another over the course of a career and, in the meantime, inflict damage to agency reputation and morale along the way. These officers leave one agency where they are widely known to be a serious […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
Political Retaliation Claims by Public Sector Employees

In May of 2016, 6 school district employees received a $880,000 settlement after being allegedly reassigned and having their wages cut for supporting the opposing political slate in board elections in Donna, TX. In October 2016, a former police offer received a $1.6 million settlement after the city’s mayor allegedly caused his demotion from detective […]

Matt Dolan, Attorney Read More
A Cell Phone Camera is NOT a “Get Out of Jail Free” Card

The proliferation of recording devices has resulted in a new reality for police officers: encountering civilians who are recording them as they do their job. While the Supreme Court has yet to give law enforcement officers a clear definition of the constitutional right to record (subject to reasonable time, place and manner restrictions), the writing […]

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Developing Organizational Performance Leadership