Police, Firefighters Sue City Over Use of On-Duty Officers to Serve, Protect Parade
In case you forgot: Faced with a walloping $131-million budget shortfall one year ago, Dallas City Manager Mary Suhm asked police officers and firefighters to take a 2 percent cut in pay. As part of that agreement, known as meet and confer, city officials rewrote the Special Events Ordinance to require the hiring of only Dallas Police Department and Dallas Fire-Rescue officers should those holding special-events permits need law enforcement. In case you forgot. Then again, Jim reminded you all about meet and confer last week -- specifically, the bill about to come due next budget cycle.
But late yesterday, in Dallas County District Court, Dallas police officers and firefighters filed suit against the city over meet and confer -- the second bit of legal action filed this year concerning the agreement. The previous one involved the use of on-duty officers for officially sanctioned Super Bowl events; the officers claimed in court that those should have been off-duty officers, who would have made a little extra scratch. A judge didn't bite, ruling that the city was immune.
This complaint, which comes with a request for a temporary restraining order, involves the use of on-duty officers for the annual St. Philip's School and Community Center homecoming parade, set for October 8. Says the suit, which you'll find on the other side, "despite the fact it is lawfully possible to use off-duty officers to provide security for the St. Phillips Annual Homecoming Parade, Assistant Chief Vincent Golbeck, in an email dated September 2, 2011, has indicated that the City intended to 'handle with on-duty resources as we've done for each year." Which, attorney Christopher Livingston tells Unfair Park, is unacceptable: "They have to use off-duty officers because they have a special-events permit." The suit insists the city is "breaching its obligations" under meet and confer, and that it's "effectively utilizing taxpayer funds to subsidize security for this private event."
A temporary injunction hearing is scheduled tomorrow morning. Calls are out to the City Attorney's Office. The docs follow.
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