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Opening Arguments

No progress here

How many times do you get to screw up and still keep your job?

Officer Scott Morales is walking on thin ice after his latest violation.

Police Chief Rusty York says he suspended Morales for five days without pay for problems with "alertness on duty."

[. . .]

While the offense may not be a major one, it further tarnished the record of the 19-year veteran, who has now been suspended for the 14th time since 1991.

Morales' last suspension was in February, after he was accused of inappropriately using a taser on an individual who was already handcuffed. He received a three-day unpaid suspension for that incident.

Prior to that, Morales was accused of going absent without leave multiple times, being involved in several accidents with his police cruiser, falsifying reports, excessive force and searching a home without a warrant.

When asked why Morales has been allowed to keep his badge, York explained that discipline problems are handled with a "progressive system."

I would have guessed that it was obvious long before the 14th violation that the officer wasn't going to be improved by attempts, as York put it, "to correct any behavior." Some of the violations are minor, but things like falsifying reports and using excessive force certainly aren't. If this is an example of how their "progressive system" works, maybe it needs to be looked at.


Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:35am

It seems like we're constantly reading in the papers about local police officers getting suspended after multiple screwups.
I wonder if they're reluctant to fire cops here. Are they having a hard time recruiting qualified rookies? Is the pay lousy? I really don't understand it. I've been encouraged to leave jobs after just one screwup.

tim zank
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 11:55am

Uh...I hate to sound indelicate, but given his last name and the power of his union, who in the he&& is gonna be able to fire him without a gazillion dollar lawsuit being filed 30 seconds afterwards?

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 1:24pm

Given the absurd amount of power police unions have in general and the difficulties there are in simply firing a police officer, it's unlikely Morales will lose his job anytime soon.

Even if it did get to the point of imminent firing, he'd just have to resign and acquire employment at another department, before a firing could go on his record.

Bob G.
Tue, 03/02/2010 - 2:12pm

It's not ONLY the POLICE UNIONS that wield (imho) too much power (and for many times, the wrong reasons).
I've worked for both union and non-union outfits (including the U.S. gov't), and the NON-union venues were much better all around.

Unions (today) have pretty much outlived a lot of their initial usefulness...and it's showing.

But hey, that's just *my* opinion.

Tue, 03/02/2010 - 6:12pm

Well, I guess I got my answer. The police union is unusually strong.
By contrast, I get the impression the teachers' union is relatively ineffectual, at least around here.
I have mixed feelings about unions. Without them, corporations would still be forcing their employees, including children, to work long hours in dangerous conditions. On the other hand, I think the excessive influence of the Autoworkers has a lot to do with the relatively poor quality and high prices of American cars, compared to Asian brands.
I don't see this as a black-and-white situation (no police pun intended).

Toni Lopez
Thu, 03/11/2010 - 8:40pm

I Would like to know how many of the violations are truly serious violations. I mean, I know many officers who have been written up for what is truly "minor" or just plain "stupid" reason, Also I would like to know how many letters of accomodations this officer has receved in these 19 years of service. We all know how the media hypes up all these stories always looking to paint the worst picture of everyone. We have still only heard one side of these stories not anything from the officers side. Okay how about some of you guys go to work everyday and hope to survive!