This is a copy of the grievance being filed with the city tomorrow.
To City Manager:
Please consider this memorandum as a notice of potential grievance under article 9.1 of the police collective bargaining agreement (CBA). As you may know, the Chief of Police has started an investigation into Officer Scott Gibbons' participation in the Polar Plunge (Special Olympics). It is the FOP's understanding that the Chief of Police has ordered Officer Gibbons to turn in his police car, gun, badge, and ID today at 1600h and that Gibbons is now on suspended status.
The FOP has a number of concerns with the Chief's decision and believes it could violate the CBA. First, the FOP does not believe the Chief of Police has the authority to place an officer on suspension as he has done here. Second, the FOP knows of no order prohibiting officers from participating in the Special Olympics as they have done for years. Third, even assuming Gibbons was somehow in error by participating in the Special Olympics, placing him on suspended status is callously extreme; it leaves the department shorthanded which causes overtime expenses and an overall decrease in police services to the community. Fourth, it appears the Chief is putting the cart ahead of the horse. The investigation into whether Gibbons has participated in the Special Olympics is still ongoing, and as of the time Gibbons was notified of the order to turn in his police car, gun, badge, and ID, Gibbons had yet to submit his written response to the allegations that he was involved with the Special Olympics. To say the least, the Chief's order placing Gibbons on suspended status is premature.
The FOP is stumped as to why PPD would not want its officers participating in the Special Olympics. For years now, Gibbons has participated in the Special Olympics and has brought praise to City because of his involvement with the Special Olympics. In fact, there is an award posted at city hall honoring Gibbons' involvement with the Special Olympics. Police officers nationwide participate in the Special Olympics and are often acting in their official capacity when they do so. In fact, there was an article on newsok.com today commending Oklahoma City police officers for their involvement with the Special Olympics. Put simply, there is nothing wrong with police officers, even PPD officers, participating in the Special Olympics. The law enforcement association with the Special Olympics is long running, and seemingly only Gibbons has been negatively singled out regarding participation with the Special Olympics.
The FOP is concerned the Chief's actions may be in retaliation for the prior grievance concerning the school resource officer (SRO) position. The FOP believes there was a negative community reaction to the Chief's decision to remove Gibbons from the schools, and the FOP fears the current treatment of Gibbons by the Chief is directly related to the SRO grievance. Respectfully, the FOP asks that your office assume control of this matter and give Gibbons a fair and impartial investigation, that is, allow Gibbons to at least respond to the allegations prior to suspending him. Further, the FOP asks that you conduct an investigation to determine whether the Chief's treatment of Gibbons stems from a retaliatory motive. Lastly, the FOP asks for a meeting with you to discuss what issues there could possibly be with PPD officers participating in the Special Olympics.
P.S. Please contact your City Councilman and/or City Manager.
We the citizens of the City of Piedmont believe it to be in the best interest of our community and for the future of our safety to immediately reinstate Officer Scott Gibbons and politely ask for the resignation of the current Chief of Police due to his reckless behavior and overstepping of his duties.