Lanier, FOP duel over ruling on 'all hands on deck' program

Police Chief Cathy Lanier.

In dueling public statements, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and the D.C. police union give very different interpretations of a ruling issued Friday by the Public Employee Relations Board on the chief’s “all hands on deck” initiatives.

“For the second time, the All Hands On Deck (AHOD) public relations campaign by Chief Cathy Lanier has been declared unlawful,” according to a statement from the Fraternal Order of Police. “AHOD, which requires all members to work on dates randomly selected by the Chief, with no relation to spikes in crime, violates District law and officers’ rights.”

According to the FOP, a ruling Friday “upheld a 2009 arbitration decision in favor of the FOP, in which the arbitrator ruled that FOP members are entitled to penalty overtime pay for AHOD and that the Department is to cease scheduling AHOD deployments.”

But Lanier says, “Contrary to what the FOP asserts, the PERB ruling was not a directive to discontinue All Hands on Deck. The decision is limited to the 2009 AHODs and thus has no impact on any of the other AHODs.”

“Chief Lanier has wrongfully continued scheduling AHOD deployments, without regard to police officers’ rights and the District’s growing debt for unpaid overtime that she is creating,” according to FOP. “Rather than obeying the law, Chief Lanier disregarded the arbitrator’s decision while appealing the issue to PERB.”

The FOP statement says, “PERB reviewed the arbitrator’s legal conclusions and the testimony by the witnesses in the case – Chairman Kristopher Baumann and Assistant Chief Alfred Durham – and determined that ‘there is no merit to MPD’s arguments.’”

“The FOP, it seems, would prefer a more reactive approach to policing that would revert back to crime emergencies, in which members worked 12 hour shifts six days a week - costing taxpayers $17 million in overtime,” Lanier says in her statement. “it is absurd to suggest that there is a problem with my announcing proactive, targeted dates for these initiatives months in advance, and that I should instead simply suspend the contract, provide no notice of scheduling changes, and engage in ineffective reactive policing.”

Lanier will consult with the D.C. Attorney General about Friday’s decision and will then decide whether or not to appeal the PERB ruling.