I know things have been a little challenging lately, having to work during the pandemic and creating an increased risk to your health and safety, along with keeping your family safe from what you are exposed to at work. Well there is another challenging issue I need to bring to your attention that many of you may not be familiar with — the Equal Opportunity Department (EOD). EOD is an administra- tive investigative department in the City of Phoenix, separate from the police #10558 department, that is putting officers’ careers at risk with what I believe are some of the worst investigations I have ever had the opportunity to be involved with. One would think that if there were an investigative department that would be fair and include facts in an investi- gation, it would be EOD. Based on the EOD investigations I have reviewed, they are not fair or accurate and investigators do not even apply common sense in their investigative reports. There have been several investiga- tions from EOD that have come back with sustained allegations of employee miscon- duct that do not have facts to support the conclusion, include inaccurate information and, in one case, false information.
EOD is putting officers’ careers at risk with what I believe are some of the worst investigations I have ever had the opportunity to be involved with
As a City employee, you are required to participate in an interview with EOD when they call. You are also allowed to have a PLEA representative with you when you give that interview, regardless of whether you are a complainant, witness or subject of the investigation. Please make sure you call PLEA so that we can represent you during this process. EOD investigators do not record interviews and only take handwritten notes. Your PLEA representative will record the interviews (this has proven to be helpful when reviewing reports prepared by EOD). These reports are not like the ones you are used to seeing. They do not include the specific details we as police officers are used to including in our reports. In our review of audio recordings of recent interviews, PLEA has found inaccurate statements in the EOD report and challenged the conclusions. Currently, it appears we are having to challenge a majority of the EOD investigation due to serious factual inaccuracies.
The bigger issue is that Professional Standards Bureau (PSB) gets the EOD report with these incorrect conclusions and creates its misconduct investigation report based on EOD’s findings. That means the involved officer violated the City’s EEO standards and is therefore subject to an eight- to 24-hour suspension based off a bad EOD report. Our PSB has had a long- standing policy of not reinvestigating EEO complaints and accepting the findings regardless of the poor quality of the investigation and the incorrect information contained in the report. Recently, after PLEA met with executive management and brought these issues to their attention, we were advised PSB will begin investigating these complaints. Evidently, our Department leaders themselves are having issues with the quality of EOD’s investigations.
I wanted to bring this to your attention in case you get called down to EOD. You cannot trust they will do a good, accurate or fair investigation. If you are called to EOD at any time, regardless of what your involvement is in the investigation, call PLEA! We can assist you in the process and will record the interview (something they will not do). Since this is an administrative investigation, EOD makes it clear to say they only need a preponderance of evidence to sustain an allegation. The problem we have seen recently is there is no evidence to support the allegation, just personal opinions. I can’t emphasize how important it is to call PLEA for representation. Our MOU and ARS 38-1104 provide you with the right of representation, so take advantage of these rights that PLEA has fought hard to obtain for our members.