Advisory board wants evaluation of police arbitration

Charles Mostoller/METRO

Don’t get Ronda Goldfein wrong, she doesn’t hate cops or unions.

But Goldfein, chair of the city’s Police Advisory Commission, is looking to rid the police force of bad eggs.

Her group, which makes recommendations to city officials after conducting thorough investigations, released its annual report last week. It showed that more than 20 fired officers were returned to the streets after arbitration. It also called on the city to take a deeper look at the arbitration process, which is how the police department and police union resolve disputes involving officers.

The commission reviewed the cases of 26 officers who were fired between 2008 and 2013 and found 19 were returned to the streets after successfully passing through arbitration.

“What we want to start with is getting a handle on what the problem is,” she said.

Is it a weak arbitrator? An unclear process?

“I think there needs to be a further analysis,” Goldfein said, “to point out where the problems are.”

Fellow Police Advisory Commissioner James C. Crumlish III said Tuesday it’s important to not only focus on the big cases, but every case that goes before the arbiters.

“The greatest reform, in my mind, without targeting the names of individual officers, would be some kind of systematic review of all the different disciplines,” he said.

Goldfein said cops and school teachers have possibly the hardest jobs.

“But if cops feel like there are no consequences for their behavior, then for those cops who aren’t inclined to do the right thing,” she said, “what’s their motivation to be better?”

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