Same rule, do not lie! No matter what anyone tells you, do not lie. Lying during a P.G. hearing is grounds for dismissal, as is grounds for lying in the Trial Room. It does not matter what the underlying allegation is. It is better to take a thirty (30) day suspension than to lose your job and pension. Or worse, go to prison.
Your delegates and union attorneys know what they are doing. Listen to them. If you are not comfortable with them, hire your own attorney. Ask whatever attorney you chose how many trials he/she has done, and how many appeals he/she has been through. This is your career and life, you are entitled to ask these questions. Whatever you tell him or her, is confidential.
Your delegate knows the job, and his job. He however, did not go to law school and practice law. Your union attorney also knows the job, and he also knows the law. But the union attorney can only take you so far. It might be better to hire your own private attorney whose only motive is to help you with your issue. It may be expensive, but what is the cost of a private attorney compared to your pension and freedom? This is a personal decision only you can make. Only you know what really happened, and the consequences you face.
If your career and freedom is on the line, it might be worth your time to consult with an attorney who will be only concerned with your case, and who will take your P.G. hearing as seriously as any trial. It is possible that any action the Department may have against you can be stopped at the P.G. hearing. Moreover any decision the Department takes against you can be challenged through what is called an Article 78 proceeding.
Even if you are 100% right in your actions, given Department policy you may still well be denied a promotion or transfer to another unit. For example, you make a good arrest for a stolen car. The perp makes an allegation against you that you kept his car. You had invoiced the vehicle in accordance with Department procedure, but the perp says you “stole his car.” However ludicrous this may seem, you will not get any transfer to any unit you wish to go to with this outstanding allegation. Then when you are supposed to be transferred to narcotics (Street Crime, another precinct, or anywhere you want to go) the transfer is denied because of the allegation against you.
Or, you are supposed to be promoted to Sergeant. Yet because you were an active cop, due to some outstanding allegation, and IAB’s failure to actively pursue and close your case, your list number is skipped over. This may take years, and your name may well die on the list. Another example is a cop who had an allegation against him. He was on the Sergeant’s list. The IAB Sergeant was filing the paperwork to exonerate him. All of a sudden that Sergeant was promoted to Lieutenant. We will call him Lt. #1. Years later that Lt #1 was talking to another Lieutenant who he had worked with in Narcotics. They were both drafted into IAB. The other Lieutenant (Lt. # 2 told) told the former Lt. # 1 who was working that case to clear that Officer, that Lt. #2 had a friend who was about to die on the list. Lt. #1 asked the Officer’s name. When Lt. #2 told Lt. #1 the name, Lt. #1 became upset. He knew the Officer did nothing wrong and there was no reason for him not to be promoted. So, Lt. #1 called IAB and asked what was going on. The case had been assigned to a detective (no detectives are drafted, they are all volunteers), who did nothing regarding the subject Officer’s allegation. The subject Officer was in limbo for years and could not get promoted. He had no idea why he was not being promoted, and on one would tell him. After three (3) years, this Officer was going to die on the list. Lt. #1, made the appropriate calls, and the Officer was promoted in the next class.
What do you do if something like this is happening to you? [Your author was Lt. #1]. You hire an attorney who has been there, knows how the Department works, and has successfully dealt with these difficult situations.
If the Department wishes to charge you criminally, think about it. You have constitutional rights against self incrimination. Discuss this with your attorney. If you believe you committed a crime, know your rights. Do not admit anything to anyone, INCLUDING YOUR DELEGATE, but do tell the truth to your attorney. Make sure from that attorney that your conversation is confidential, even if you do not retain him/her. Be careful, there are some exceptions to even that rule. Have a conversation regarding confidentially with any attorney before you reveal anything to him or her.
Only you know if you did something criminal. Put another way, a rip is better than losing your job, being transferred, losing your tours, etc. A suspension is better than losing your job and retirement benefits. Losing your job and retirement benefits however, is better than losing your freedom. Anything you say to your attorney, whether in person or on the phone is confidential. If you have an issue, use that right. Consult with an attorney and protect your job, retirement benefits, freedom and rights.