If you don’t know your rights, then you don’t have any rights. What follows are a few simple reminders of what some of your rights are and what you have to do to protect your rights.
The first right you have is the right to have a union representative present with you when you are being questioned by a supervisor on any matter that may lead to discipline. This is a federal right under the Weingarten case. If a supervisor calls you into his office and the questioning is concerning a subject that might lead to discipline, you have a right to have a union representative with you. BUT YOU ONLY HAVE THE RIGHT TO A UNION REPRESENTATIVE IF YOU ASK FOR A UNION REPRESENTATIVE. If your local representative isn’t available, you can call our office and we can attend by phone, or we may ask the supervisor to reschedule so that we can attend in person. If all else fails, you have the right to have another officer sit in on the meeting as your representative. Even if your representative says nothing, it is important to have a witness of your own, especially if the supervisor conducting the meeting is hostile to you.
Remember, you only have a right to a representative if the questioning may lead to discipline. When you are called onto the carpet and you don’t know why, don’t hesitate to ask, “Is this concerning something that may lead to discipline?” If so, get a representative. If the answer to your question is anything other than, "no", you will want representation. If the person asking to speak with you says, "maybe" or "it depends on your answer", or "we're not sure yet", get representation and invoke your rights.
Florida has gone far beyond the federal law in providing law enforcement officers rights concerning internal investigations that may lead to discipline. These rights are contained in Florida Statutes 112.532 and 112.533. These statutes spell out what an internal affairs investigator can and can’t do. Florida Statute 112.534 tells you, as the subject officer, what to do to stop an internal affairs investigator when they are violating your rights. Again, the law requires YOU to take action to protect your rights. So if you don’t read these three statutes (and they are only three pages in total length) you won’t know your rights, and if you don’t know your rights you don’t have any rights. The statute does not use the terms “I.A.” or “Internal affairs investigation”. Any time you are under investigation and subject to interrogation that might lead to discipline, the officer’s bill of rights applies, regardless of whether they call the investigation.
Whether you are a PEA member or PBA member the best way you can take action to protect your rights is to call our office for representation. We know your rights and how to protect them. Far too many members wait until after the investigation and after discipline has been imposed before they call for help. This is often too late. You pay your membership dues, don’t hesitate to use our services. We are here to help.
The Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association is a charter of Florida PBA and is a professional law enforcement association based in Daytona Beach, Florida along with the Coastal Florida Public Employees Association.
Together, these two organizations serve thousands of law enforcement officers and public employees in the following eleven counties: Brevard, Clay, Duval, Flagler, Indian River, Nassau, Putnam, St. Johns, St. Lucie, Seminole & Volusia.
The Coastal Florida PBA/PEA is a member-driven organization, representing the needs of workers on a multitude of tasks including collective bargaining negotiations, investigatory & disciplinary proceedings, legislative & public policy goals, legal defense and grievances. We represent both municipal agency officers and county sheriff’s deputies through the PBA and public employees in many city and county departments under the umbrella of the PEA.
As a new member of the Coastal Florida PBA/PEA, you’re covered from A to Z, with no additional charges for what is often considered an “enhanced benefit” with other associations, such as legal representation.
Our members have the peace of mind that the best resources in the community, state and country are working for their best interests on the job every day.
Please contact us for more information or to become a member of the Coastal Florida PBA/PEA.
Coastal Florida Police Benevolent Association
& Public Employees Association
How we helped other members:
Emergency Contact Information
If you are a member and have been involved in a critical incident requiring immediate attention, such as a shooting, serious vehicle crash or in-custody death, an on-call staff member will be available to you 24/7/365. Call 1-800-625-5451 and ask for immediate representation.
Our 24-hour call-back service is available for critical incidents only. All other non-emergency calls for service will be returned during regular business hours.
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