Warren County Deputy Troy Lauffer was fired after he was found to have driven drunk and then used the police dispatcher to find out the location of his colleagues to avoid his colleagues on patrol. He was then accused of hampering an investigation into a domestic violence case by giving a friend a ride to get away from his house after his wife called the police. One would think that was enough to end a police career, but not in Warren County, Lauffer is back policing other citizens after being returned to work. Not only that but the county will have to pay Lauffer for some of his lost time.
To his credit, Sheriff Larry Sims has fought the reinstatement. However, Magistrate Andrew Hasselbach of Warren County Common Pleas court upheld an arbitrator’s decision in favor of Lauffer.
Now, here’s the added kicker: the sheriff pointed out that arbitrator Mollie Bowers had failed to consider the fact that Lauffer had been disciplined SEVEN times before.
Hasselbach agreed with the ruling: “Unquestionably, Lauffer’s actions violated both law and public policy. But the issue is whether a specific term of the collective bargaining agreement violates public policy, not whether the conduct for which the employee was disciplined violated some public policy or law.” Well, that must be some collective bargaining agreement where an officer can violate both the law and public policy and get reinstatement with back pay.
For the full story, click here.
11 thoughts on “Ohio Officer Drives Drunk, Uses Dispatcher to Avoid Colleagues, and Helps Friend in Domestic Violence Case . . . Given Full Reinstatement to the Police Force With Back Pay”
Very good post. I will be facing some of these issues as well.
There’s very little accountability these days. Sadly and tragically.
Just another mom:
“That is not convincing because Title VII and state human rights acts protect all employees from that type of targeting.”
Title VII protects by promising a remedy. If you have experience with Title VII in the the public sector you know that the process is long, complex, skewed in favor of legal professionals and strict legal argument even at the lower levels of appeal (in violation of the way title VII is written, and, at least for Federal employees, does not culminate in a jury trial as private sector EO law does. I had occasion to have to use this system regularly and recall one case that took over 3 years to sort out threshold questions (frivolously advanced by the employer and ultimately rejected) prior to even getting into the heart of the matter.
People that are subject to economic capital punishment have few resources, time or energy to pursue such stilted, after-the-fact justice; that has been my experience anyway. As a matter of speed, cost, and likely-hood of industrial justice, a well written contract clause is always preferable to a top-heavy bureaucracy that can be politicized. Clarence Thomas’ first real leadership role was as head of the EEOC. He directed that age discrimination complaints were to be give the least priority. Some 6000 cases languished until the time limits for proceeding ran out.
There were appeals of the dismissal of those cases but the plantiffs lost because the burden of moving forward is on the plaintiff’s and based on the language of the regs the plaintiffs essentially should have known their rights and responsibilities. 600 unlearned workers and e-workers that could not grasp or did not understand the implications of the law lost their ability to seek a hearing on their complaint at the whim of a pro-business bureaucrat. Practitioners (lawyers specializing in EO law that I met, and not all of them were labor lawyers) in the EO field referred to Thomas as ‘Uncle Tom’ in other than public settings because of his shifting the EEOC in a manner that weighted the system so far toward the employer.
In society at large we have laws to punish a multitude of crimes but punishment or remedy after-the fact alone is an inadequate approach, harm IMO should be prevented whenever possible in society at large and the shop floor. I’d rather regulate banks than bail them out and look for possible lawbreaking later.
“I believe that no public employee should be unionized as a matter of public policy because their employers are the people and not private capital.”
The employer is the employer. That broad position says to me that either the employer can do no wrong if it is public, manifestly not the case in my experience, or that no treatment should be considered unfair or inappropriate if one is a public employee so long as there may be a post-facto remedy available if one has the wherewithal to pursue it. Like soldiers, certain expectations of fair and honest treatment should be sacrificed for the privilege of serving the public. as a similar broad position I simply reject that.
“Dalmer” example. I am likewise appalled by the high crimes and misdemeanors that police are allowed to get away with. I place the blame on the police chain of command and the Prosecutors. There can also be blame placed on the ‘system’ of police hiring and job fitness evaluations. This could be addressed in contracts. That it isn’t tells me that the people that are in control of the police forces- city governments- have exactly the police forces that they want.
When I wrote that an occasional bad decision was not something to get exercised about I wasn’t talking about all of the cases that don’t even make it to the dispute stage. If it had been determined that the Dahmer/police interaction had been acceptable by the police chain of command, review board etc. then there was no reason to ‘punish’ the officers involved by witholding pay to which they were otherwise entitled if cleared in the PREVIOUS steps of the process. That’s like the police saying ‘you werent charged with stealing anything or found guilty of stealing anything but we’re not going to give back anything we seized as evidence during our search of your house or bank accounts.’
[Actually that does happen with our forfiture laws so that’s not a good example I guess but you get my drift I’m sure. A better example would be continued detention after a failure to prosecute takes place. Shit, that happens with our detention of suspected terrorists. Please, think of your own example- I’m drawing a blank due to the de-evolution of our justice system.]
In any event the problem wasn’t with the last step in the process, it was somewhere farther up the line and that’s where the fault needs to be fixed.
The law, including labor law, is not justice; it’s just a way to (sometimes) get justice.
“This kind of language works to prevent or moderate targeting certain employees for harsh treatment for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the infractions, like their race, religion, sex etc.”
That is not convincing because Title VII and state human rights acts protect all employees from that type of targeting. Officers who are targeted for harsh treatment based on their race, religion, sex, etc. can sue for those types of violations under Title VII. They are also protected by the first amendment for their speech concerning political opinions (as long as it is made apart from their job duties) and can use section 1983 as a tool to enforce those rights.
Police officers should not be allowed to unionize because it isn’t a case of a bad decision “now and then” as you suggest. It is a constant stream of police abuse being rewarded with reinstatement with back pay. JT only picks up on a handful of stories, but this occurs all the time.
My favorite is when one of Jeffrey Dalmer’s 14-year old victims managed to escape and ran to the police. He had holes drilled into his head, but was still ambulatory. He asked for help and the officers returned him to Jeffrey Dalmer! Dalmer convinced them that the 14 year-old was his drunk lover. Of course, the boy was later killed and eaten.
The officers were reinstated with pay after the union appealed.
I believe that no public employee should be unionized as a matter of public policy because their employers are the people and not private capital. But it’s much more important when the union members are carrying weapons.
Stories like this infuriate me! Look at this piece of shit. He even looks like a bully. The next time the s.o.b. pulls someone over, I am hoping that he will get what is coming to him. If the police aren’t held accountable to the same capricious laws that everyone else is, then I say it is open season on them and no one should allow those with the star to arrest and/or molest them.
In the name of safety, we the people have given up many freedoms. It was too easy for trhe criminals who extort money from the masses (our legislators on the local, state and national level) to pass the U.S. D.U.I. laws. After all, it was supposed to be in the publics’ best interest right? (We certainly don’t want people killed in auto accidents..that is a given). But, it is my opinion that the laws that were passed, go too far and those who are in charge of enforcing them are trained to be overzealous. The end result is that the government has killed the bar and restaurant industry in this country and many good people have had their lives turned upside down by the courrupt court systems and law enforcement agencies in this country.
This is not about public safety. This is about revenue to the state and control of the masses. Some would argue that what we have now is a modern form of prohibition. Their thought is that if we can’t outright ban the usage of alcohol, we can tax the hell out of the people for using it. If they don’t have enough money to hire a lawyer and keep their ass out of jail and/or prison, then we can get some very cheap labor. Slavery is alive and well in the U.S. and it aint right!
If it is safety that we wish to achieve, there are better ways to go about it than to pass new laws. If people want to stay safe on the roads and highways, they need to stay off of the phone and pay attrention to their driving. Again, we do NOT need a new law, we need to get rid of the insurance companies and clean out our corrupt court systems. Hold people accountable for their own actions. If they CAUSE AN ACCIDENT, hold them personally accountable for the damage to anothers’ property and/or person.
Y’know, I do not have any stats to back up my next statement but, I would venture to say that more accidents occur when people are using their phones and/or are wiped out on the prescription poisons made by the fine folks at Pfizer, as opposed to, accidents being caused by those drive home after a night out and are over the “legal limit”.
It is time to get rid of the “minority report” approach to law enforcement!! Let us begin by repealing the D.U.I. laws, removing legislators who advocate these laws and/or any new law that restricts individual freedoms, removing judges who have passed extreme sentences, and removing 3/4 of the police force. I would also advocate the return of money, with interest, to the people who have been convicted of D.U.I. but have caused no accident. I would also reimburse them for the time that they were incarcerated.
The United States has become a police state (similar to Nazi Germany in the 30’s and 40’s). “We the people” are getting pretty tired of being bullied, beaten, taxed and jailed for our “non-offenses”. If the people who are elected to public office, our judges and our law enforcement agents are not required to abide by the laws of the land then how can they expect us to further tolerate reprisal for individual actions that do not harm others? I think that law makers and law enforcement agents better begin to think twice before they break the law, make new laws or attempt to enforce what already exists.
Just another mom: “This is why police officers shouldn’t be allowed to unionize. I support collective bargaining, but not for public employees whose position can easily give rise to abuse of power.”
The contract provision can, from the linked article, be inferred as a pretty typical piece of language that requires disciplinary actions to be consistent for similar offenses. This kind of language works to prevent or moderate targeting certain employees for harsh treatment for reasons that have little or nothing to do with the infractions, like their race, religion, sex etc.
These provisions generally don’t exist in a vacuum though; there are usually reckoning periods (statutes of limitations) for individual infractions, and provisions for levying harsher penalties if prior offense’s are still on the books.
The statement that the arbitrator did not count the pattern of behavior is telling in this account. The arbitrator probably made an error (that was not properly argued) in the appeal. assuming that the previous discipline or some of it was still within its reckoning period. It looks like whoever wrote the appeal mis-framed or could not control the basis of the appeal.
I though support collective bargaining for all workers; a bad decision now and then is no reason to throw out or preclude the application of the only system of protections and rights a working person may have access to.
Dear Blackwater and Mr. Cheney,
I am a LEO inquiring about the possibilities of service to you. I am currently employed by the Warren County Sheriffs Department of Ohion. And am pleased to say that I have been fully reinstated with back pay for some alleged policy issues.
These are behind me now and I offer my services as a valued and distinguished man on a mission. You see, I am invincible, I can do no wrong. I am officially going to change my name to “007” I hope that one is not taken.
You see I have the ability to thwart investigations. I have used my position to help my friends and heck I have even used it myself to avoid being picked up for driving under the influence. I know that I can do what is necessary to get the job done.
I am realistic in the scope of things, I am a small fry. You see, though I have the inertness to be the best and badassed as I want to be with out any repercussions. Heck just ask my boss. I own the town now. If I am not hired by you I see myself in the next election, running for Sheriff.
Please get back with me as soon as possible. I live to be of service and know that I can kick up the occupational hazards a notch or two. Now that we have broached the subject of notches, I do have a hand made glock with wooden grips on the inside I have 15 and counting marks. Tear drops by the eye lids would be unbecoming of a LEO. I await your reply.
Deputy Troy Lauffer
Warren County Ohio
PS Have you ever heard of CSN the ring tone that I have on my cellphone is Ohio. I think they wrote that for me.
This is why police officers shouldn’t be allowed to unionize. I support collective bargaining, but not for public employees whose position can easily give rise to abuse of power.
Its Detective ‘Herc’ from “The Wire”, always doing stupid things our Herc.
I thought public policy in the form of law was automatically a part of every contract. A contract provision is void if it violates existing law is it not?
Remind me not to use Mollie on any arbitrations I have coming up. Where do they find these lawyers?
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