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Critical Incident Procedure for Public Safety Members

Critical Incident Procedure for Public Safety Members Council Overview

AFSCME Council 93 represents approximately 3,500 Public Safety Officers in various positions including but not limited to Police, Corrections, Sheriffs, and Public Safety personnel at State Facilitates and Higher Education Campuses throughout the four (4) state region comprised of Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Objective:

This policy shall specifically outline the procedure to be followed to ensure appropriate union response to each Critical Incident which could result in potential criminal or civil exposure arising from an act committed within the scope of employment (e.g. shooting, custody death, or use of force resulting in serious physical injury).

Your Rights:

You have Constitutional Rights, particularly in the right to be free from compulsory self- incrimination and the right to procedural due process.

Your Union will defend your rights when you request assistance. Always call your Local Union Official (your President or Chapter Chairperson) before making a decision to answer questions, especially in an emergency situation.

1. Criminal Investigation – Fifth Amendment/ Miranda
You have the right to remain silent and to have an attorney. Do not be afraid to

invoke these rights in order to consult with an attorney before speaking with an investigator.

*Remember: You may speak with an investigator, but anything you say can be used against you in a criminal proceeding. If you do elect to speak, you may stop at any time.

2. Internal Investigation – Garrity Rights

  • Must be ordered to answer questions.

  • Questions must relate to officer’s duties or fitness for duty.

  • Must be advised that failure to answer will be considered insubordination and

    could lead to discipline up to and including termination.

  • Must be provided with some degree of immunity from criminal prosecution.

    3. Internal Investigation – Weingarten Rights

  • You have the right to the presence of a Local Union Official whenever you are

    requested or required to give a statement which could result in your discipline or

    discharge.

  • Unless you request the presence of a Local Union Official, you will be deemed to have waived that right.

  • Prior to or during you interrogation, you may review any reports or statements you may have made on the subject of you interrogator.

  • You are not required to answer any question concerning you off duty conduct during the interrogation, unless you’re off duty conduct involves action regarding you capacity as an employee of said department.

    Procedure:

    It shall be the policy of Council 93 to ensure that the Union Officials of Locals with public safety members receive appropriate training in responding to critical incidents. It will be the Local Union Official who receives the initial notification during a critical incident. Ensuring that the Local Union Official is adequately prepared to offer appropriate union representation is an important first step. It will be theses Local Union Officials who gather the information needed and make further notification.

    Upon the occurrence of a critical incident, the Local Union Official shall immediately notify the President of their Local, or the designee as appointed by the President of the Local.

The Local Union President, official or member involved in the incident shall immediately notify the Council 93 Attorney On-Call at 1-844-236-0150. After notifying the Council 93 Attorney On-Call, the President or their designee shall immediately respond directly to the scene or stage area, if available.

Roles:

Local Union Official: It is the responsibility of the Local Union Official to be the liaison/ coordinator for the incident. She/he shall ensure the needs of all Union members involved are met immediately after the incident and communicate with the Local President who will contact the Council 93 On-Call Attorney.

Council 93 On-Call Attorney: The On-Call Attorney shall be ready to assist and advise the member involved in the incident, the Local Union President or designee. The representation provided by the On-Call Attorney should be strictly for enforcing the collective bargaining agreement and the state labor laws. The On-Call Attorney will notify the Field Services Director of a reported critical incident.

Council 93 Field Services Director: The Field Services Director shall notify the area Coordinator of a reported critical incident so that the Coordinator is aware of the situation and so that he/she may be available to provide assistance to the member involved, the Local Union President or designee and/or other Council 93 Staff.

Public Safety Protection Program: Council 93 shall encourage each local union with public safety members to participate in the Public Safety Protection Program, which is a low cost benefit that provides additional protection for “on the job” legal actions, i.e. criminal, civil and workers’ compensation representation. (Flyer attached)

If the member involved in the critical incident is a participating member of the AFSCME Public Safety Protection Program, they should contact them immediately. PORAC has attorneys available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to handle emergencies or critical incidents.

The On-call Attorney can assist the member involved in a critical incident with contacting PORAC which is the Legal Defense Fund for the Public Safety Protection Program. 

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