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Police Chief Sued for Making Arrest ... By Police Labor Union!

You'd think that being a Police Chief means that you can do police things. Like making an arrest, for instance. But you'd be wrong - at least according to the police union.

Here's the strange tale of how Scranton, Pennsylvania, Police Chief Dan Duffy got into trouble for making a drug arrest:

The Scranton police union has filed an unfair labor practice complaint against the city for an off-duty drug arrest made by Police Chief Dan Duffy in March.

The complaint, which was filed with the state Labor Relations Board on April 14, takes issue with the chief arresting a man who was allegedly in possession of marijuana because the chief is not a member of the collective bargaining unit and was "off duty" when the March 20 arrest was made.

"I think it's absurd. I'm not going to turn my head on crime that takes place," Chief Duffy said. "I took the same oath (as a police officer) that everyone else took.

"On my day off and I'm driving around as the police chief, and that's wrong?" he asked.

The complaint states that "the work of apprehending and arresting individuals has been the sole and exclusive province of members of the bargaining unit," and that the city did not inform or negotiate with the union that the chief would be "performing bargaining unit work."


The police are never off duty. They take an oath to protect people at ALL times. He was doing his job.

This is not an issue of should marijuana be legal or not.

Were someone being robbed and he just drove on by, doing nothing, he'd have been sued for failing to act. The man did his job and is being punished for it?

The criminal justice system has bigger issues than this.
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As far as I know everybody has the right of arrest, whether you're a cop or civilian, union or not.

If this police chief stopped a rape in progress, would the union still have a problem?

BTW ending cannabis prohibition would be a good idea too.
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Apparently no one reads:

"On that day, Chief Duffy said he was not scheduled to work but decided to check on citizen complaints about possible drug activity in a part of West Scranton.

While driving through the area, he arrested a man who had an outstanding bench warrant issued by Lackawanna County Court. The chief also searched the man and allegedly found he possessed a marijuana joint and drug paraphernalia, leading to the man's arrest on drug charges."

It wasn't spontaneous law-enforcement.

This sort of activity undermines the employer-union contracts.

You could have several people who were not contracted to make arrests as part of their job description, go out on their off time, making arrests, and then use it to justify laying off several union officers.
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oliver - and how many people you know would be happy to spend their off time playing cop? You really think enough would to validate firing some cops?

And if citizens were complaining, why did the shift leader not send some cops to that area to check it out and make arrests as necessary?

I agree with Figurative - this is why unions are losing support. I have yet to have someone explain to me the usefulness of unions today. Can anyone here do that? If so, thank you in advance.
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To answer "Another Tim", the problem with unions is that they won. Health insurance, 40 hour weeks, overtime, workplace safety, labor laws, the works. If it's not an actual law, it's ingrained in our culture what work should look like.

And, that's the problem. What do you offer your members after you've won every battle for reasonable accommodations from management? You go for the unreasonable ones ...

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Oliver: Though it varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, nothing outlined in his actions is technically illegal regarding the arrest.

Whether he planned it or not, he's still a cop with arrest DUTIES, on or off the clock.

The biggest issue here is some pretty sketchy union outlines:

'The complaint states that "the work of apprehending and arresting individuals has been the sole and exclusive province of members of the bargaining unit," and that the city did not inform or negotiate with the union that the chief would be "performing bargaining unit work."'

This is a bunch of legalese crap that the union is using to pull something.
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@Another Tim - I do agree that this went one step too far and I smell personal reasons for the case.

However, you want to know of the usefulness of unions today? Well, you have a middle class with health care, retirement packages, and labor laws. All this came from unions and if unions disappeared, do you honestly believe that these benefits would last more than a generation?

No, what we need is more real unions that fight for a cause when it is necessary. Unless you are happy working for around minimum wage at two part-time jobs to make the rent and pay bills until you are 75?

Unions like the one in this story are giving the rest a bad name.
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More union win.

Just like at GM and Chrysler. Bankruptcy.

Just like the state of California's government employee pension plan. Bankruptcy pending.

Just like the National Education Association. Spending more per pupil than all but one industrialized nation and getting bottom-of-the-barrel results for decades.

Thanks for the weekends and 40-hour work weeks, unions, but your time has passed.
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This is not new. A police chief is management. If this sets a precedent, then they could lose a police officer--this is called union busting.
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