Organizational and Administrative Strategies in Criminal Justice
The Americans with Disabilities Act is designed to protect people with a wide variety of disabilities from all manner of discrimination from employment to access. A police department has the same guidelines as other types of employment, but there may be caveats because of the nature of the job. No matter what the job, an employee, whether disabled or not, has to prove that he or she is capable of performing the job after an offer of employment has been made (DOJ, 1997). Prior to a job offer being made though the agency is not allowed to ask if the potential employee has any type of disability. Also, the police department must consider all applicants equally. If the applicant has an obvious disability, they must still be allowed to compete for a job on equal footing with all other applicants, but they can be asked to demonstrate that they have the ability to perform the job for which they are applying.
Other points in the hiring process are also contained in the ADA and precedent setting court cases that have occurred because of the legislation. A hiring official can require a physical be taken and they can also require a drug test prior to a person being offered employment. Hiring decisions can take drug and alcohol use into account, but only if it is a present danger or has led to prior convictions (DOJ, 1997).
The grievance process discussed seems to be fair because it is applied to all of the employees in the department. The process could actually stretch on for a long period of time with the different levels of the process, but it would probably actually be better in the long run for the person making the grievance.
Like many of these procedures, there are both informal and informal means of resolving the conflict with the informal coming first. Allowing the people to come together and the grievance to be aired between them with a supervisor as an arbiter will probably be able to deal with most of the problems that would occur. If it gets to the formal stages it could possibly take a long time depending on how deep it goes and whether the different investigating bodies have the time to look quickly into the grievance. However, this may also be a good thing because it would allow the person making the grievance to have a cool down period during which they may resolve the difference.
When a police officer has a grievance against the department for some reason or if the union is speaking for the officers. The department runs the risk of have certain statements made by the officer that could be considered libelous. Being in the criminal justice system is not an easy occupation. Since the job can be stressful, it may sometimes seem like the department is not performing for the officers as it should. This can reach the level of an officer who is disgruntled making statements to the media that are not warranted. When an individual is under stress he or she is likely to make statements that cannot be proven. However, the public may believe the statements because they are made by an employee of a relatively secretive organization. The department may even look worse of they charge the office for the comments.
Web Field Trip
In an article for The Police Chief, an attorney, Martin J. Mayer, discussed the hiring concessions that a department must make with regard to the American with Disabilities Act. He starts by making the point that medical information can be gathered prior to making an offer of employment and that many attorneys are advising police departments that they should conduct most of the background check before the offer is made also. However, he contends that some EEOC legislation is countering a department’s right to know all of the medical issues an applicant might have (Mayer, 2012). But the EEOC did say that a conditional offer of employment was illegal, and that a departments could offer to hire the individual if that person met certain criteria. It seems that the primary concern of both the EEOC and the police departments is that they not increase the hiring process to any great degree.
The second article discusses a case of libel in Brockport, NY. Comments were made on a website that corruption was running rampant in the Brockport police department, and many officers were named as having committed illegal acts. Although the police chief and the rest of the department knew that the allegations were false, the chief asked the town Board of Trustees that the DA conduct an investigation into the accusations (Mangan, 2011). The reporter discussed the fact that libelous information is also spoken or written against police departments, and that the department has the need to protect its officers if they are innocent. The article also acknowledged that libel is not protected by the First Amendment, so the individuals responsible would have no protection under the law. The author uses case quotes and legal precedent for making his case.
DOJ. (1997). Questions and answers: The Americans with Disabilities Act and hiring police officers. Retrieved from http://www.ada.gov/copsq7a.htm
Mangan, T. (2011). Libel raises its ugly head in Brockport. Retrieved from http://www.examiner.com/article/libel-raises-its-ugly-head-brockport
Mayer, M.J. (2012). ADA and the hiring process. The Police Chief. Retrieved from http://www.policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display