April 2, 2021
The city of Phoenix and the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association (PLEA) have reached a tentative agreement on a new contract that includes several reforms designed to provide greater transparency and accountability and foster trust between police and the community.
The tentative Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City and PLEA will be presented to the Mayor and Phoenix City Council for approval in the April 7 Council meeting.The MOU addresses several community concerns including keeping officers’ disciplinary history accessible to police department supervisors and the public, removing barriers in misconduct investigations and ensuring the rights of civilian oversight committees to investigate officers.
The specific changes include the following:
- Removal of language warning a citizen about possible criminal charges if they file a false complaint against a police officer. The language has the effect of potentially discouraging residents from alerting the city about police officer conduct.
- The Chief of Police now has discretion to take immediate action, setting a pre-termination meeting for an officer involved in a job-related felony crime. The new contract eliminates any waiting period allowing the chief to take swift and decisive disciplinary action as appropriate for the situation.
- Clarifies language that explicitly allows non-police city of Phoenix investigators, such as a civilian oversight committee to investigate officers.
- Employees will no longer be allowed to use vacation time in lieu of a suspension.
- Removes language that provides police employees identified as a witness in a case the ability to meet with the union prior to an interview with investigators.
- The new contract outlines 10 categories of past discipline which cannot be removed from consideration as supervisors assign progressive discipline, transfers and promotions. Discipline related to these categories will remain available for consideration for the full length of an employee’s career:
- Abusive or threatening attitude, language, or conduct towards fellow employees
- Accepting fees or gifts which would lead toward favoritism or the appearance of favoritism or a conflict of interest
- Intentionally falsifying records or documents
- Alcohol or illegal drug use on the job
- Violation of city anti-harassment or anti-discrimination policies
- City Ethics Policy violations
- Felony crime
- Class 3 violation of use of force
- Update current language on purging/inactivating files to accurately reflect that the official Human Resources file is not purged.
- PLEA will no longer have a representative on the grievance committee when an officer files a grievance. Instead, a representative from another union will join two management representatives on the committee to ensure an impartial review.
The proposed contract also includes a salary increase for officers consistent with the increase provided to other non-sworn labor group and city employees in the fiscal 2021-22 budget.
If approved by the council, the new MOU and the pay increase would take effect with the new fiscal year on July 1.
This press release was produced by the City of Phoenix. The views expressed here are the author’s own.