Sunday, August 05, 2007
The Nebraska Supreme Court decides that good police discipline, i.e., toeing the line, overrides Union activity and the public's right to know police officers' public safety concerns. Omaha Police Union Local 101 v. City of Omaha, S-06-403 Omaha Police Department Chief sought to discipline two officers who were police union officials for comments they made about the OPD's 911 standards. One commented that the OPD's procedures were "misleading" and this was during a union meeting. The chief tried to discipline this officer but Internal Affairs dismissed the case. A second officer wrote and article that was barely insubordinate, in that article the officer wrote an article was generally critical of the standard operating procedures for two-officer 911 calls and the manner in which the city and OPD calculated response time. Housh characterized city officials as “[a] bunch of grown men and women, supposedly leaders, acting like petty criminals trying to conceal some kind of crime.” He also stated that “[t]hey refuse to do it, they know they have screwed up, and rather than admitting guilt, they (whoever they are) will make history and try to control what is said/revealed during union meetings regarding response time.” The comments about "grown men" cant be true, because if the police administration had grown men, it would not have thought these comments while harsh amounted to a disciplinary breach. Anyway the Supreme Court gives the department what it wants, the chance to tie up anyone who questions authority and public safety and make them think twice about rocking the boat, because next time an employee criticizes his government employer he will have to navigate a maze of constitutional balancing tests, juggling and water torture.