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Union Files Complaint Against Chief Who Made Off-Duty Arrest

Union Files Complaint Against Chief Who Made Off-Duty Arrest

The Times-Tribune

April 19, 2011

On that day, Chief Duffy said he was not scheduled to work but decided to check on citizen complaints about possible drug activity in a part of West Scranton.

While driving through the area, he arrested a man who had an outstanding bench warrant issued by Lackawanna County Court. The chief also searched the man and allegedly found he possessed a marijuana joint and drug paraphernalia, leading to the man’s arrest on drug charges.

Sgt. Martin acknowledged that the chief is “morally and legally obligated” to act if he sees a crime happen and to make an arrest if necessary.

But, the union president said the chief, as member of management, should not actively root out crime or randomly patrol neighborhoods while off duty because it violates union agreements that protect rank-and-file officers’ employment. The union is concerned city administrators will have more leverage to lay off police officers because “Chief Duffy will step in” and do the work, Sgt. Martin said.

“It’s a perception and it leads to that,” he said. “We’re threatened with layoffs.”

The union is asking an agreement be drawn up about the chief making the arrests.

Chief Duffy said he will not stop patrolling neighborhoods or making arrests if he receives reports from citizens, whether on or off-duty, because of the complaint.

“It’s not like I am getting the information and keeping it to myself and playing hero,” the chief said. “I will continue to do this. I’m a public servant.”

Contact the writer: smcconnell@timesshamrock.comThe arrest in question

On March 20, while not on duty, Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy decided to take a drive through West Scranton, following up on complaints about drug activity. He saw a man he had arrested before walking on Division Street, according to arrest papers. Chief Duffy ran his name, confirmed there was a bench warrant issued for his arrest, and pulled him over. “I consider myself always on duty,” Chief Duffy said at the time.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    you guys are making the union look bad. a cop is a cop is a cop. get real.

  • Skruffy2_max50

    K_Ringo

    over 3 years ago

    10 Comments

    In my opinion, the Chief is never off-duty......

    Maybe they should'a called in "Dwight?"

  • Police_car_max50

    kclark1206

    over 3 years ago

    80 Comments

    This is the exact reason that we (lPublic safety) have been getting lumped into the same catagory as teamster unions of old when it comes to republicans blasting unions. This does not even begin to make sense. Shame on the PA bargaining unit.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Deputy_Carter

    over 3 years ago

    74 Comments

    I'm not in any union thank goodness but would it be right if someone from the board was in need of LE and I was the only one close enough, but since I was off duty...suddenly I remembered that I may have left my stove on so I can't help at this time. Oh how it may be different if this drug peddler was selling the board member's juvenile son or daughter! I can almost bet that certain union decisions have made while "off duty" but weren't final till on the clock. So I suppose even thinking about union things out of work would be the same as taking action as the Chief did. Thumbs up Chief Duffy and keep on being the Public Servant you swore to be!

  • Rscn0180_max50

    a280d

    over 3 years ago

    14 Comments

    As my wife would say when I'm about to do something bone headed.

    SERIOUSLY!

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    captam

    over 3 years ago

    6 Comments

    LOL LOL LOL LOL.............sorry let me compose myself..........LOL LOL LOL ........sorry....
    This is a union that is supposed to protect and serve..........LOL LOL LOL................

  • Img_0103_max50

    LAWMANTUKES

    over 3 years ago

    6976 Comments

    HUGE BUMP..!! pcekpr962

    And as many will agree, this union must have hidden motives as to be so brasin towards the chief for simply doing what is expected of anyone of us, who comes across a similar situation. This does no doubt cast a foolish looking image, upon the union and the Officers involved. I think that it is a simple case of "bad blood" between the chief and the union. It looks too obvious not to be.

  • Thumbs_pscoa_20star_max50

    VROB

    over 3 years ago

    210 Comments

    Iam sure the union can find something better to fight for being in law snforcement is not a job its a lifestyle
    if you do something worng off-duty your still a cop. just like my dept a Lt or above can not respond to a fight unless it an officer is involed

  • Az_phx_motorcade1a_max50

    Bury

    over 3 years ago

    1342 Comments

    Silly union ...

  • Est_training_with_kansas_city_metro_037_max50

    CBPD607

    over 3 years ago

    264 Comments

    Police Unions are already misunderstood enough by the public. Thanks for the black eye.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    beeguy

    over 3 years ago

    468 Comments

    Any union that forbids a sworn officer from making an arrest just because he isn't a member of the union needs to be put out to pasture. Taking it a step farther, praise to the chief for stopping a crime in progress. I don't know about there but here in Indiana a sworn officer has jurisdiction 24/7 and with few exceptions, anywhere in the state. We don't make a habit of petty arrest in other jurisdictions but I have arrested criminals in other counties, off duty, when I was the county sheriff of a different county when a serious crime was taking place. Good job chief and to the union, get a real job. If a union is needed, get one that has a little common sense and doesn't dictate that every officer has to be a member and play by their rules. We are cops, union or not, and the public needs us to act so.

  • Badgepatch_20copy_max50

    RPDS54

    over 3 years ago

    90 Comments

    I have worked for three local agencies during my career and participated in the unions. My Sheriff and both Chiefs of Police were salaried and technically on-duty/on-call 24/7 (as was all upper command staff). My guess is Scranton PD is no different. I suppose if Scranton PD has a policy which forbids any kind of off-duty action, and the Chief has disciplined others for violating that policy, then the union might have a point. Unfortunately I suspect that is not the case and the union is wasting their time and resources over something very stupid.

  • Jpd_new_max50

    PETE114

    over 3 years ago

    1396 Comments

    Wonder who released this story? Maybe the Chief who has been fighting with the union about other things more important than this story?

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Mtarte

    over 3 years ago

    112 Comments

    What stupidity. This just gives those that think public employee unions shouldn't exist more ammo for their arguments. A cop is a cop is a cop, whether rookie or chief and once you take the oath, you have a duty to act, on-duty or off, in accordance with that oath and state laws. What would the headlines read if the chief had ignored the incident and what would the POA be yelling about in that instance? What a moronic and wrong-headed lawsuit.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    swatj10

    over 3 years ago

    760 Comments

    Since when is it acrime for a off duty cop to do what he was sworn to do. I do support unions myself however, in this incident the union is lacking in what I call COMMON SENSE!!!!!! Way to take down the scum of society Chief

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