Qualified Immunity? What Is It and What Happens If It Is Gone?

July 14, 2020 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

Lately there have been calls to restrict or remove “qualified immunity” or “QI”, without any real sense that anyone knows what it is, what it does and why it is important. First, let’s start with what it isn’t. QI has nothing to do with shielding officers from criminal conduct.  QI has nothing to do with discipline […]

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Changes in Work Rules and Conditions

November 12, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

A unionized employer is not allowed to unilaterally change the terms and conditions of employment unless it gives notice to the union, provides an opportunity to bargain before making a final decision, and bargains to agreement or to a good faith impasse concerning any mandatory subject of bargaining.  Port of Anacortes, Decision 12160-A (PORT, 2015); Griffin School District, […]

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Past Practices and Labor Bargaining

October 18, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

1. The existence of a relevant status quo or past practice. A past practice exists when the parties acknowledge a mutually accepted, long-standing employment practice. Kitsap County, Decision 8292-B (PECB, 2007). To establish a past practice, a party must prove the following two elements: (1) an existing prior course of conduct; and (2) an understanding by the parties that the conduct was known and […]

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Peace Officer Decertification Hearings in Washington

August 21, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

Allegations of disqualifying misconduct are tried before a panel of officers and academics from across the state.  There are different standards for who will be on the panel depending on the officer’s law enforcement agency.  For example officers from WSP have a different panel make up than do local sheriff deputies.   An Assistant Attorney General will be […]

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Creating or Joining a Labor Organization

August 14, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

Any group of local or state employees may petition to form labor organization.  If 30% or more employees provide an interest card showing they want to join or create an organization to represent them, a petition for representation may be filed with the Public Employees Relations Commission (PERC).  They will investigate and decide if your group is […]

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Audio Recording of Police Officers and Government Employees in Washington.

August 05, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

The Privacy Act of RCW 9.73 is frequently mis-understood to apply to prohibit recording all conversations.  It doesn’t. It only prohibits recording private-secret conversations.   From the very beginning the courts began expressing that it was only conversations that were intended to be private that were covered.  Screams, noises, gunshots etc. are not covered under the act.    In one […]

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Police and Government Employees Face Discipline for Private Social Media Posts

July 09, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

We all know that government employees are subject to scrutiny by members of the public. Sometimes by people they deal with who may not like them, such as a person a police officer may have arrested. Other times, the scrutiny comes from members of the community who want to hold public employees to a different […]

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Independent Guild vs. Union

February 27, 2019 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

What’s a union and what’s a guild?  In Washington they can be the same thing or entirely different depending on the structure of the organization.   Unions Generally speaking, unions are entities that perform collective bargaining on behalf of theirmembers.  They may be organized into “locals” referring to local units of the union. They may provide collective bargaining services such […]

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Rights of Officers When a Crime Victim

August 29, 2018 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

Officers enjoy the same rights as any other victim of a crime. These include the right:   To be informed by the prosecuting attorney of the final deposition of the case; To be informed of the procedure to be followed to apply for and receive any witness fees; To be physically present in court during […]

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Rights of Officers When Acting as an Investigator

August 29, 2018 Written by: Northwest Legal Advocates

Whenever an officer conducts an investigation, the officer has the right to speak at sentencing and to propose his or her own recommendation to the case. RCW 9.94a.500 provides that at sentencing: “The court shall …allow arguments from the prosecutor, the defense counsel…and an investigative law enforcement officer as to the sentence to be imposed.” […]

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