Representation at P.G. for Police Officers in Dutchess County NY
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 written 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 is usually a delegate from your precinct. How much legal experience does he/she have? How much investigative experience does he or she have? How does one become a 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, never the less she got in trouble becuase Laven (a chief or inspector) mis-comprehended what had occured.
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 conduct the investigation or 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 is trying to take your job or lock you up?
The 52 Sergeant who was working in a bar against department procedures. A thorough investigations by IAB reviewing this unauthorized off duty employment disclosed that there was a strong possibility that this officer was also engaging in disreputable behaviors that were more egregious than simple off duty improper employment. At the end of the day the 52 Sergeant lost his job, retirement and career. But for the fact that the Bronx DA did not want to investigate the other circumstances surrounding the Sergeant’s on duty activities, the case was dropped. It is important to know that at the Sergeant’s PG hearing the IAB Lieutenant had to write a note to the SBA lawyer telling the SBA lawyer to inform his client only answer “yes” or “no” and advise your client not to elaborate beyond a “yes/np” answer. 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 on as a Lieutenant (before being transferred to OCID). Ehrenzweig 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 witness who may turn into a subject. Ehrenzweig will not allow the IAB investigators to run rough shod over you or get you to answer questions or just turn up the pressure. Ehrenzweig 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 Ehrenzweig’s 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 as “routine”, they want something from you.
You can rely on your union representation or engage an attorney who knows what is going on behind the scenes in the department to fight for your rights. Contact Hugh Ehrenzweig – It is your job, pension, variable supplement and retirement at stake.