Q: Can the officers challenge disciplinary action?

A: Non-probationary officers legally have “Skelly” rights, which are due process rights. Before discharging or imposing significant discipline upon a non-probationary officer, the SRPD must provide the officer the opportunity to respond in writing or orally at a “Skelly” hearing, which is an informal meeting before a Skelly officer. After listening to and considering the police officer’s response, the Skelly officer determines if there are reasonable grounds to believe that the charges against the officer are true and support the proposed action. The Skelly officer must make recommendations to the Police Chief, who can make the discipline final.

Non-probationary officers can contest any final disciplinary action at arbitration before a binding arbitrator. The legality and integrity of the IA investigation are tested in the arbitration process. The officer’s attorney or union representative may point to any perceived irregularity in the investigation and disciplinary process to argue that the arbitrator should reverse the discipline that has been issued.

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