In response to Paul’s story, Gwendolyn Crump, the Metropolitan Police Department’s Director of the Office of Communications, issued this statement at 8:55 p.m. Monday:
While OAG will review the court's decision and advise the Department on the next legal steps, it is undisputed that nothing in the court's decision precludes or prohibits the Department's continued use of AHOD as a robust and effective crime-fighting tool. We have shown over the past 6 years that AHOD deployments are successful in deterring violent crime, and we have every intention of continuing to use AHODs in the future to continue our success and reduce violent crime even further.
A D.C. Superior Court judge has taken sides in a years long dispute between the D.C. police union and the chief of police.
The judge ruled in favor of the union in a fight over the chief's signature crime fighting strategy "All Hands on Deck".
In an opinion released Friday Judge Michael Rankin agreed with an arbitrator that labor laws were broken and the officers should have been paid overtime.
It’s a decision that could cost the city millions.
This is a fight that has been going on since 2007 when then Mayor Adrian Fenty and his new chief of police introduced a crime fighting strategy that got nearly the entire police force on the streets for a weekend without paying overtime.
At the time the union said the chief and the city were breaking the law and vowed to fight it every step of the way. On Friday the union won another round.
The D.C. police union has aggressively pushed back against Chief Cathy Lanier and the last two mayors claiming the city had no legal ground to re-arrange officers schedules and put them on the street without paying overtime.
The union has consistently called it a public relations stunt while the chief called it a crime fighting strategy. On Friday the union’s stance was affirmed once again.
"It, (the judge’s ruling) means that this is going to go down as the most expensive public relations campaign in the nation’s history”, said Union President Kristopher Baumann in an interview Monday, “it is going to be an enormous waste of taxpayer dollars, simply because the department didn't understand the law, wouldn't follow the law and has refused to comply with orders from arbitrators, from administrative bodies and now from a judge telling them what you have done is wrong, you've continued to do it when you should not have".
Baumann thinks the back pay could total in the tens of millions of dollars.
But D.C. City Council Chairman Phil Mendelson is interpreting the ruling a bit differently than the union.
"Well I have several reactions”, said Council Chairman Mendelson, “The first is that the Superior Court decision deals with the All Hands on Deck that occurred before 2009 and so we are talking about that which already made the news several years ago and it’s just a question of whether the District government needs to pay up which leads to my second reaction which is the government sometimes would do better to just cut its losses and go forward and the third reaction I have is that the Chief indicated after that decision a couple of years ago that she was going to make some adjustments as to how she scheduled these All Hands on Deck".
But Kristopher Baumann says that's nonsense and the city has lost every single arbitration case involving all hands on deck pre and post 2009.
"There are rules for scheduling”, said Baumann, there are rules on how often you can have people working, the sort of schedules they should be working and it there is a public safety necessity for that, that's provided for, there wasn't any in this case".
When the first arbitrators ruling was issued in 2009 the department was told to cease and desist holding all hands on deck but that has not happened and according to the union two more are scheduled to take place in august and October.
FOX 5 reached out to the mayor’s office Monday morning as soon as we learned of the ruling but as of this Monday evening there had been no response.
We also reached out to Chief Cathy Lanier, same thing, no response.
WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
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