Public Safety

Liebert Cassidy Whitmore has had the privilege of representing public safety agencies for 30 years, proudly earning the trust and respect of several generations of police chiefs, sheriffs, and fire chiefs. LCW appreciates the emergency nature of employment issues in the public safety context. Our attorneys are always available to provide prompt and expert consultation on issues from administrative leave to interrogations to discipline.

We literally "wrote the book," having authored the CPER Pocket Guides on the Public Safety Officers Procedural Bill of Rights Act (POBR) and the Firefighters Procedural Bill of Rights Act (FBOR) respectively. Our appellate victories, some of which are mentioned below, have helped shaped the way that public safety agencies conduct labor and employment relations on a daily basis.

LCW remains on the cutting edge, regularly publishing articles and presenting workshops regarding labor and employment law issues affecting public safety agencies. We bring our collective legal expertise and practical experience to bear in our clients' cases, from beginning to end.

We routinely review disciplinary investigations to identify the strengths and weaknesses for our clients. We help clients identify appropriate disciplinary measures, and vigorously prosecute ensuing disciplinary appeals. We also handle any related litigation. Indeed, we have skillfully handled hundreds of such cases over three decades.

Representative Matters

  • Association for Los Angeles Deputy Sheriffs v. County of Los Angeles, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department et al (2008) 166 Cal.App.4th 1625, [83 Cal.Rptr.3d 494] - the California Court of Appeal held that pre-interrogation joint meetings by deputies involved in shootings have limitations.

  • Maciel v. City of Los Angeles, 569 F.Supp.2d 1038 (C.D.Cal. 2008) – a federal District Court found in favor of the City on all claims after a seven-day bench trial. The Court found that Maciel failed to present credible evidence supporting his assertion that he worked overtime without reporting it, or that management either knew or should have known that he was not following the Department's overtime reporting policy.  Finally, the Court found that Maciel was not entitled to overtime compensation for his donning and doffing activities because the time spent on those activities did not exceed the applicable threshold for overtime compensation.

  • Benach v. County of Los Angeles (2007), 149 Cal.App.4th 836, 149 Cal.4th 836 - the Court held that removing a deputy from a special assignment as a pilot "without a concomitant loss of pay" is not a punitive action entitling the officer to a POBR administrative appeal.

  • Claremont Police Officers Association v. City of Claremont (2006) 39 Cal.4th 623, a case handled through the court of appeal - the California Supreme Court held that implementation of a racial profiling study by a police department was a management prerogative and was not a mandatory subject of bargaining under the Meyers-Milias-Brown Act.

  • Steinert v. City of Covina (2006) 146 Cal.App.4th 458 - the Court of Appeal held that a peace officer was not entitled to the protections of the Act when asked questions by her supervisor in the ordinary course of duty where the supervisor did not suspect that the officer had engaged in serious misconduct.

  • Gilbert v. City of Sunnyvale (2005) 130 Cal.App.4th 1264 - the Court of Appeal limited a police officer's right to receive investigatory documents under both the Skelly due process procedures and the Act.

  • Upland Police Officers Association v. City of Upland (2003) 111 Cal. App.4th 1294 - the Court of Appeal held that a peace officer's right of representation under Government Code § 3303(i) is not unlimited. The Court of Appeal held that an officer could not delay an internal affairs interrogation by selecting a representative who was not reasonably available.

Featured Presentations

LCW Webinar Recording: How to Evaluate Your Agency's Internal Affairs Process
September 09, 2015
One of the cornerstones of maintaining accountability in a law enforcement agency is an effective Internal Affairs process that ensures that complaints of misconduct are dealt with effectively through impartial, thorough, and accurate investigations. Problematic IA investigations often lead to discipline that winds up getting reversed or reduced on appeal—even in situations where misconduct occurred. A string of compromised investigations and failed disciplines undermines morale and diminishes the public's trust in an agency. This webinar explains the steps an agency should take to look at their internal rules, processes, POBR compliance and purging procedures to make sure the agency is well positioned to conduct thorough and accurate investigations.
LCW Webinar Recording: Internal Investigations in Light of Today's Media and Culture
October 14, 2015
There can be no doubt that there is a significant portion of our media and community that has a profound distrust of law enforcement. This movement has been fueled by recent high profile incidents in Ferguson, MO, New York City and Baltimore, and it seems as though the problem is getting worse and not better. Indeed, the anti-police rhetoric has tragically led to deadly force being used against officers who have done nothing but wear a uniform.
LCW Webinar Recording: Texting Your Way To An FLSA Lawsuit
November 18, 2015
In this installment of our monthly webinar series, we will discuss the legal requirements, and possible ramifications, of employees who perform work "off the clock."  Even our most committed employees become a liability when they "donate" their time before or after shift.  With the advent of smart-phones and 24/7 access to work, and the expectations that come with this access,  the risk grows even greater.  We encourage public safety supervisors and command staff to attend this webinar to learn about the legal standards for compensating employees for all hours worked, to think about any "unwritten rules" that may exist within your department, and to develop best practices to manage and minimize overtime liability.
Managing Injury and Illness
December 09, 2015  |  10:00 AM

This webinar will focus on the challenges faced by management when a peace officer or fire safety member is injured or ill. Topics will include fitness for duty, 4850 leave, interactive process & reasonable accommodation, and disability retirement. We will discuss what to do, when and where, to overcome these challenges.

2016 Legislative Update for Public Agencies
December 10, 2015  |  10:00 AM
The California legislature passed numerous bills, which will go into effect on January 1, 2016, that will impact California employers. This webinar will provide an overview of key legislation, as well as pertinent employment law cases that will impact California's public agencies.
2016 LCW Annual Public Sector Employment Law Conference
February 24, 2016
The registration for the Liebert Cassidy Whitmore's 18th Annual Public Sector Employment Law Conference is now open!

Representative Matters






To Contact Liebert Cassidy Whitmore:
Los Angeles 310.981.2000 | Fresno 559.256.7800 | San Francisco 415.512.3000 | San Diego 619.481.5900
© 2015 Liebert Cassidy Whitmore