Municipal police departments are obligated to ensure that their police officers are both physically and emotionally fit for duty. Liability that can arise from a failure to satisfy this obligation can be substantial. In today’s litigious environment, addressing the myriad of issues that are implicated by the subject can be daunting. A failure to properly address these issues can result in danger to the public and/or the police force, disruption of efficient police services and, of course, costly litigation.
The purpose of this program is to offer Chiefs of Police and command staff practical guidance on how to address this critical issue in law enforcement — from both a legal and medical perspective. Christopher P. Gerber, Esquire, Sheryl L. Brown, Esquire and Robert Tanenbaum, PhD. will present hypothetical scenarios based upon real-life situations.
The program will address the following issues:
- When is a physical or mental fitness for duty examination (“FFDE”) warranted?
- Where is the line between “misconduct” and behavior that warrants an FFDE?
- Who is the “decision-maker” with regard to police FFDE’s?
- Respecting the chain of command while properly communicating with the governing body
- Legal implications pursuant to:
- Americans with Disabilities Act
- Act 111 and collective bargaining agreements
- Civil Rights protected by the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment
- Workers’ Compensation Act
- Heart and Lung Act
- How should the Department implement guidelines to address FFDE’s?
- Examiner qualifications
- Informed consent and authorization to release protected information
- Disciplinary issues (e.g. refusal to comply with FFDE requirements)
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