Today, Sept. 25, 2012, Chief Danny Garcia met with PLEA and announced that he was denying our Class D uniform grievance filed on behalf of over 100 rank and file Officers. We were told effective Oct. 1st, class D uniforms would no longer be authorized for patrol. This is a slap in the face to the hard working patrol officers of Phoenix.
In a press release published yesterday the Phoenix Police Department claimed: “Given a growing trend of suspects impersonating police officers, during home invasion style robberies and fake traffic stops, it only makes sense that we do everything we can to help avoid conflict with our residents. This is an issue of safety not only for residents, but for our officers as well.” Again, Chief Danny Garcia thinks the citizens of Phoenix and his own Officers are too stupid to tell who is a Police Officer and who is a home invader. Hopefully no one will ever go into Glendale, Peoria, Tempe, or Mesa because they will not be able to recognize all of the Officers wearing their versions of Class D uniforms. This is the most ridiculous and insulting reason for a decision we have ever seen.
During the course of today’s two minute meeting, the Chief stated, “we have already had plenty of dialogue” reference the uniform issue. Apparently the only purpose of the meeting was for the Chief to give us his written response even though the meeting was set up under the guise of “uniform dialogue.” Maybe in Texas the word “dialogue” has an entirely different meaning. Maybe he’s calling it “dialogue” so he can report to City Manager David Cavazos that he had dialogue with PLEA since that’s what it says on his calendar. A 60 second talking to by a Chief who obviously didn’t want to be there is not productive labor-management dialogue.
All of the Officers that attended the four grievance meetings in the last couple of weeks have every right to be upset. The Chief made comments at those meetings like, “I hear ya.” “I’m going to consider everything that you have said.” “I’m not above changing my mind and my decision is not set in stone,” along with other comments in order to give the impression that he cared, was really listening to what his Officers had to say, and could be persuaded to reconsider his prior position on the issue. He was glad-handing every last one of us.
All PLEA members should be angered over the fact that Chief Danny Garcia LIED to your President, Joe Clure. In a meeting last month, Joe directly asked the Chief if he was ok with Tasers and radios on the Class C outer vest. They even discussed an outer vest carrier both had recently seen worn by Commander Joe Klima. The Chief indicated he liked it. Joe also asked the Chief if he was ok with cargo pockets for the Class C uniform pants. To both of these issues the Chief told Joe that he was ok with them and that it would not be a problem getting them approved. It seems that while rank and file Phoenix Police Officers must be truthful, the Police Chief can lie in his dealings with us and not be held accountable. How do actions like this square with the Nobility of Policing?
Even though October 1st is just around the corner, this fight is far from over. Everyone needs to do their best to comply with the new directives from PD management while we continue with the next step in the grievance process. The final step will be arbitration. PLEA has also filed an Unfair Labor Practice that will hopefully be resolved in the coming months. While it might seem gloomy today, we believe PLEA and the rank-and-file Phoenix Police Officers are well prepared for the rest of this process.