- The Washington Times - Monday, May 26, 2014

The Metropolitan Police Department will go forward this summer with Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier’s hotly contested crime-reduction initiative, All Hands On Deck.

A departmentwide memo issued late last week announced five upcoming weekends scheduled between June and November this year, with the crime-fighting blitz kicking off June 27-29.

The initiative increases the number of officers on city streets for several days at a time by requiring all officers to work eight-hour shifts each day and reschedule time off.

The announcement caught the department’s union representatives, who have filed litigation challenging previous deployments, by surprise. The union has contested the chief’s signature initiative in the past, saying that the deployments unfairly change officers’ schedules without union consent.

Union Chairman Delroy Burton said the Fraternal Order of Police plans to file a class grievance again in this case and will continue to challenge the practice.

“I wasn’t expecting them to have any at all,” Mr. Burton said, adding that he only found out about the announcement about 20 minutes before the memo was sent out to the force on Thursday.

The police union has challenged the department over All Hands on Deck deployments seven times since Chief Lanier instituted the practice in 2007, Mr. Burton said.

In at least one of the cases, involving deployments in 2009, a D.C. Superior Court judge has upheld an arbitrator’s ruling that the city must pay police officers overtime for working the extra shifts required by the initiative. Mr. Burton said the parties are still working out how much is owed to officers.

Other challenges remain tied up in the grievance process, either with arbitrators or the city’s Public Employee Relations Board.

“As authorized by the Mayor, I am exercising my authority that allows me to change a member’s tour of duty within a work week to a tour different from their known posted tour of duty,” Chief Lanier’s memo to the department states.

The last All Hands on Deck deployment was in October, and police officials said the ongoing litigation is not a factor in the frequency of the initiative’s use.

“The litigation by the FOP has had no impact on the frequency of the AHOD deployments, and the Department has never canceled an AHOD as the result of litigation,” police spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said.

The departmentwide memo, which was obtained by The Washington Times, lists the following weekends as All Hands on Deck deployments in 2014: June 27-29, July 25-27, Aug. 22-24, Oct. 24-26 and Nov. 14-16. Officers are restricted from using leave on those dates unless they had already requested time off before Thursday.

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