In a case between the Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Inc. (BPPA) and the City of Boston, Arbitrator Michael Ryan found that the Internal Affairs procedures of the Boston Police Department Rules are “benefits” incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement. And that the Union may grieve the City’s violation of its own IA policy. The arbitrator explained that the Internal Affairs rules “codified” the Department’s “complaint and investigatory procedures, thereby ensuring consistency and predictability” concerning the handling of complaints of misconduct against officers. An “inherent purpose” of the rules “is to ensure fair disciplinary procedures.” He therefore found that “the complaint and investigatory procedures” of the internal affairs rules “are advantageous to officers and constitute benefits” under the contract.
Relying on the language of the contract that states “benefits” specified in the published rules and regulations, general and special orders in force …” are continued in force, the arbitrator determined that “a benefit,” within the meaning of the contract article, encompasses policies, rules, and regulations that are advantageous to officers.” Therefore, the “complaint and investigation procedures” of the police department rules constitute such benefits and are incorporated into the collective bargaining agreement. As result, the internal affairs procedures are enforceable at arbitration.
Although the arbitrator in this case did not find that the City violated its IA rules based on the facts at the hearing, his Decision represents a tremendous victory for the BPPA. The Decision enables the BPPA to require the Boston Police Department to follow its own internal affairs procedures. It also guarantees that the officers have an avenue for challenging violations of the internal affairs complaint and investigatory procedures.