New York Times
December 17, 2014


Letter to the Editor

Disciplining Police Officers

To the Editor:

Re “Police Discipline in New York,” your Dec. 11 editorial regarding a bill to restore the right to negotiate disciplinary procedures with management that was lost in 2006, after existing for almost 40 years:

Despite the opinion of anti-police advocacy groups, there is nothing in this legislation that serves “to immunize police officers who have committed acts of misconduct against civilians,” or that leaves final decisions up to the police officers’ union, not the commissioner.

The kinds of disciplinary issues that were negotiated before 2006 involved the basic procedural protections afforded any public-sector employee who has been alleged to have violated work rules, such as the right to representation; allowing an officer to petition for the expungement of disciplinary records when found not guilty; the continuation of benefits during pending disciplinary actions; and the right of an officer to request a meeting with the police commissioner regarding a notice of discipline.

There is no evidence that those practices and procedures undermined the efficiency or effectiveness of any police agency or limited the ability to impose reasonable and appropriate discipline penalties when warranted.

Restoring those rights will simply return to police officers the same rights enjoyed by all other public-sector employees in the state. It is a matter of fairness, and we have encouraged Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to sign the bill.

PATRICK J. LYNCH
President, New York City
Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association
New York, Dec. 11, 2014