Police officer destroying evidence

I am seeking information on arbitrations concerning a police officer who destroyed evidence and/or the responsibility of a police officer when confronted with possible criminal activity while off-duty. We are preparing for an arbitration regarding our discipline of a police officer who, while off-duty, was given evidence of a crime and chose to destroy the evidence rather than properly secure it.

If you have arbitration citations or case summaries, please email me at [email]david.shaw@cityofalbany.net[/email].


  • 5 Comments sorted by Votes Date Added
  • Not knowing anything about your organization and it's procedures (have never been in Gov't, local or otherwise) I would say that this is, at best, an indefensible ethical violation and at worst a criminal offense in and of itself.

  • I am in local government, but in our state, protective service discipline goes to a local Police & Fire Commission, and for that reason seldom gets reported out. I do know that our chief would terminate a police officer for such a violation if it is provable, and I would expect our P & F Comm to uphold the termination. Your officer went to 'on duty' status the minute he/she was given evidence of a crime. Don't let him/her get away with this off duty baloney.
  • This needs to go through an attorney. Police Officers are covered under the Law Enforcement Officer's Bill of Rights (fondly LEOBR). There is a process for disciplining and firing sworn personnel in addition to applicable law and the Police Administrative Manual. Your police chief (or police commissioner) is aware of all of the processes. Your officer will be represented by an attorney. If you have an FOP, whether or not you have collective bargaining, he probably has representation of the FOP's attorney.

  • Welcome to the Forum, David, you'll get a lot of good advice here. Just keep in mind there can be major differences between the private world and the public world.

    I'm with City government also, and our Police Dept has special departmental rules, and in our case officers who get involved in criminal activity while off-duty immediately become subject to all responsibilities as if on-duty. Certainly destroying evidence would be forbidden.

    Your post hasn't explained what discipline you gave him and whether or not the discipline was backed up by a written policy, whether this arbitration is through a union or non-union situation, why he chose to destroy the evidence, and what this employee's reasons are for challenging the discipline.

    If you still have time and want some defense strategies, I think we need more info to best help you. Good luck.
  • I'm with a County, though not in your state. In my past life with another municipal unit, we had a few police officers that did similar things.

    Have you consulted with your local prosecuting attorney for possable theft charges? At the least this could lead to termination for conduct unbecoming of a law enforcement officer.

    Maybe with more details, you'll get more responses.
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