Representation At P.G. Hearings
If you’re an active cop, sometimes even if your not an active cop you get called down to IAB for a PG hearing. If you lie, it is automatic, your fired. That is in the Patrol Guide. So it is always a good idea to have representation.
Who represents us at the PG hearings? It is usually one of two people assigned by the union. Let’s look at them. First and usually it is a delegate from you union. How much legal experience does he/she have? How much investigative experience does he or she have? How does one become the delegate?
He or she is popular. They go out with the “boys.” So we vote them in as delegates. Is that person qualified to protect your rights? Or how about your job? One wrong answer during a PG and a case can be opened on you. A perceived wrong answer can get you charges. Without naming names there are innocent cops in jail because they said the wrong thing during the “investigation that was in the papers.” IAB wants to weed out not just the bad cops, but to make IAB look like they are doing their job. That means finding dirt on cops. Remember “Two Scoops Laven”? A cop got jammed up because she got an extra scoop of ice cream from a Basken Robbins, that she paid for. But Laven (a chief or inspector) was not satisfied that she actually paid for the extra scoop and she job jammed up big time.
Or the cop who really did not see who gave the perp the extra punch? Is the delegate who is representing you because he or she is “one of the boys” qualified to save your job?
If however you are lucky you can have a union lawyer. They go from PG to PG. Do they really know your case. Have they interviewed all involved? Have they interviewed the IAB investigator who are trying to take your job or lock you up? The 52 Sergeant who was going to get a 6 day rip for working in a bar lost his job and the only reason he was not arrested was the DA did not want to prosecute had a union attorney. At his PG the IAB Lieutenant had to write a note to the SBA lawyer to tell his client only answer “yes” or “no.” Again even few union lawyers, even if former cops, have investigative experience.
Ehrenzweig, due to his law degree, was drafted into IAB as a Sergeant and kept as a Lieutenant (before being transferred to OCID). He knows how to do an investigation, what questions to ask, and, what questions not to ask. He knows how the investigative track works. He knows what IAB is looking for and if you are a subject, witness, or subject who may turn into a witness. Ehrenzweig will not allow the IAB investigators to run rough shod over you or get you to answer questions just to turn up the pressure. He has and he will fight back. During one PG the investigators were asking questions. Ehrenzweig objected to many of the questions. With no legal background the investigators did not know that the objections were groundless. Nevertheless, Ehrenzweig threw then off their investigative track. Nothing incriminating was found against his client.
If you are called in for a PG do not be lulled into a sense of security that this is just routine. There is no such thing, they want something from you.
You can rely on your union representation, and take a chance, or engage someone who knows what is going on behind the scenes to fight for you. Contact Hugh Ehrenzweig – It is your job, pension, variable supplement and retirement at stake.