In order to defend a charge of insubordination we must first define what constitutes insubordination.
Although definitions may vary from Department to Department, a standard LEO Rule & Regulation defines Insubordination as:
The crucial element in subparagraph A is "lawful order". This should be defined in the Chapter Titled "Orders" of the LEO Rules & Regulations. It should read similar to the following:
You will now need to determine if the order was:
1. In clear and understandable language;
2. In violation of any law & ordinance; and
3. In violation of any department rule, policy or procedure.
After you determine this, you need to identify the officer's responsibility in each situation which should also be contained in the same chapter under "Orders".
* If your Department or Agency does not define orders and how to respond to same, this can be used as a part of the defense. This information should be passed on to the Union/Officer's attorney.
This flow chart may be of assistance in determining a course of action:
This area becomes broader in definition and left open to interpretation. I have used numerous successful defenses in this area.
A successful defense could be that the comment was not directed "towards" the Supervisor:
Many times the remark is made in response to a conversation with a supervisor. The Officer then turns and walks away mumbling "FUCKING ASSHOLE" (or something more creative) under his/her breath. This statement is then overheard by a co-worker of supervisor who reports it. The Officer is then ordered to write a report. (Read "Put it in Writing" prior to complying with this request).
Most importantly, the comment was not made "towards" the supervisor, nor was it intended to be heard by anyone. By uttering the comment under his breath, as opposed to shouting it loudly, the Officer had the expectation of privacy.
In the case where the Officer just SNAPS and goes off on the Supervisor, it is important to look at how the Supervisor treated the officer both prior to and during the "incident". Just as officers are held to a higher standard than civilian/citizens, Supervisors are held to higher standards than their subordinates. These standards are defined in both Rules & Regulations and Policies & Procedures.
Supervisors are not permitted to use abusive or disrespectful language to a subordinate and should be scrutinized and charged for same. This behavior should be grieved through the CBA under all applicable chapters.
Lastly, although the stressors in the Officer's personal life have not been found as grounds to dismiss a charge of insubordination, they have been used to "mitigate" or lesson the penalty imposed. Evaluate the entire situation.
The information presented at this site should not be construed to be formal legal advice nor the formation of a lawyer/client relationship.
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