How Hard Is It To Fire a Police Officer?

According to the Orlandon Sentinel, Davie, Florida police officer Kevin Kilpatrick has been on paid leave for seven years. During that time, he has received full pay and benefits, plus annual raises. He has collected more than a half million dollars for doing nothing. The department has twice tried to fire Kilpatrick because of an alleged DUI and an alleged attempt to cover up a domestic abuse incident. Both times the department was overturned (once by an arbitrator, once by a federal judge) for violating agrements in the union-negotiated police contract.

If Kilpatrick can hold on until 2014, he'll get to retire with a full pension.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • ||

    The department has tried twice to fire him in seven years? Don't overdo it, dude.

  • Almanian||

    I liked this comment from the article:

    paulbunyan03 at 9:29 AM February 16, 2011
    It aint called FloriDUH fer nuttin'.

    lulz!

  • ||

    Except that Florida isn't alone on this sort of abuse.

    Absolutely insane that this is allowed to happen. No accountability means more abuse. It's that simple. We're rewarding illegal and unethical behavior. Period.

  • Zeb||

    The thing that really amazes me is that there are people who think that police unions are not totally fucking evil organizations. If police or their unions gave a fuck about anything other than protecting their own, they should be the loudest voices calling for this motherfucker's head.

  • JB||

    Osama has fired more US government employees than Obama.

  • ||

    Radley you should post the picture from the story of that helmet and his police dog.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    *Lights the dunphy-signal*

  • Almanian||

    duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunphy, oh duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuunnnnnnnnnphy!

  • dengfei||

    backing to the boys in blue!!!

  • ||

    The raison d'être for unions (protecting workers from evil capitalist exploitation) is a non sequitur for public employees in a free society.

    I fully support making it illegal for government officials at all levels to engage in collective bargaining with employee organizations no matter what they are called.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    I agree. Can this be accomplished at the state level? In Florida, voters can directly change the state constitution. Would that run afoul of federal law and/or be constitutional, though? I really don't know.

  • ||

    Can this be accomplished at the state level?

    There is (currently) no federal law against this, though there was a law that Congress tried to pass last year banning states from preventing public safety employees from collectively bargaining.

    Currently in North Carolina and Virginia, all state employees are banned from collectively bargaining, though they may join unions. Some states ban certain forms of state employees from collectively bargaining, but make exceptions for politically popular ones like cops, firemen, or teachers.

  • ||

    The GOP managed to filibuster a lame duck attempt to pass the awful bill, with some support from VA and NC Democrats as well.

  • ||

    i fully support j sub plunging his head in a toilet & flushing. so what. doesnt mean shit...

  • UrineOhio||

    Hello, shit facktory!

  • ||

    As usual, the unions get blame for agency incompetence when disciplining an employee.

  • ||

    I guess you also find it unfair when Congress gets blamed for taxpayer incompetence when filling out those simple forms?

  • ||

    The raison d'être for unions (protecting workers from evil capitalist exploitation) is a non sequitur for public employees in a free society.

    I fully support making it illegal for government officials at all levels to engage in collective bargaining with employee organizations no matter what they are called.

  • ||

    ^^^Squirrels or incompetence? You decide.^^^

  • ||

    Squircomptense!

  • ||

    That's what we get for allowing non-union posters.

  • Ted S.||

    I blame government employees.

  • prolefeed||

    The problem is that, what is the alternative? In Hawaii they replaced collective bargaining with binding arbitration, but the binding arbitrator ALWAYS sides with the union.

  • ||

    The problem is that, what is the alternative?

    Employment at will? This is what we're paying, take it or leave it?

    Pretty much what everybody in the Productive Sector has?

  • Blum||

    System Of A Down is the 25th greatest rock band of all time.

  • ||

    I would have figured you for more of a Limp Bizkit fan.

  • ||

    I really like Wes Borland on guitar - he's pretty creative. But geez, man, Fred Durst is such a douche and sounds like a muppet. Really drags the whole thing down.

  • ||

    I would have figured you for more of a Linkin Park fan.

  • ||

    Meh. Does it drown out your playing of Zanfir on the pan flute?

  • ||

    It's Zamfir, you philistine tool.

    And the answer is no.

  • ||

    Damn. One letter off again. Am I turning into John?

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    No. Your posts don't look like my spellchecker threw up.

  • Old Salt||

    I'm currently living as a serf in the outskirts of Disney Reich and I'm telling you from my career history (civilian, military, and law enforcement):

    AVOID FLORIDA 5.0's LIKE YOU OWE THEM CHILD SUPPORT!

    NOTE: Florida Bacon has been evaluated by the USDA to be of the highest quality "Gestapo Grade" and consumption of said product WILL lead to loss of time, money, property, freedom, sanity, life, limb, and your black cherry!

  • ||

    loss of...your black cherry!

    Is that what I think it is?

  • ||

    Yes.

  • ||

    In that case, thanks for the visual.

  • ||

    Don't thank me...

  • ]||

    Anyone else notice that about half the commentators' names are missing in the comments today?

  • Rip Swartz||

    No. But don't try this prank.

  • ||

    He is free on bail on condition he not visit Hooters, Bob Evans, Applebee's or the First National Bank of Marysville.

    Bonus points for catholicism...

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    Just one in particular. And it seems to involve threads regarding police misconduct.

  • Blum||

    The Eagles are the 777th greatest rock band of all time.

  • ||

    Not the The The?

  • ||

    Gov. Scott Walker and Wisconsin Republicans are trying to remove collective bargaining rights for public employees. Let's hope they succeed and other states copy them.

  • ||

    lets hope not

  • Judy Hoverman||

    lets big smelly fart

  • ||

    Sure. It's great when the union negotiates against the politicians they bought with campaign contributions. Everyone wins - except taxpayers.

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Same thing happening here in Ohio.
    Sorry Orkin.
    HAHAHAHAHA!

  • Steve||

    With Kasich, things have been so far...so good. Hope and change!

  • ||

  • Citizen Nothing||

    Ohio public workers also turning out en masse at the Ohio Statehouse this week to protest. Why the fuck aren't they at work?

  • ||

    All the paperwork done perfectly on those absences? I mean, THE LAW IS THE LAW after all.

  • hmm||

    You can't touch the collective bargaining for fire and police. The job security in those professions is amazing.

  • ||

    North Carolina and Virginia don't have it, despite Congressional Democrats trying to make it illegal for those states to prevent it.

  • ||

    Well, look at the bright side: if he hasn't worked in seven years, think of how many dogs that has saved.

  • ||

    We're rewarding illegal and unethical behavior. Period.

    Wait, whut?

  • prolefeed||

    I'm gonna play Devil's Advocate here, Radley ... you are advocating firing a cop because of unproven allegations?

    Perhaps the issue here is that these allegations are being contested, since presumably in seven years no court has found him guilty of anything?

  • ||

    You make an admirable case. How about you come up to the big house for drinks tonight?

  • hmm||

    Since firing =/= punishment why would the allegations need to be proven? They aren't trying to take anything from the person, they just don't want to give that person anything, or they want to sever a contract.

  • ||

    Are you suggesting that this police officer would never be able to find another job somewhere else? I find that hard to believe.

    You have a choice between some people being fired unfairly and having to take another job, and between keeping scum on the payroll.

    The case for at-will employment is the same as the case against government planning in general. You're making the same argument as those who argue against the chaos of the market.

  • ||

    "Grounds for dismissal" is not the same as "convicted in a Court of Law."

  • Blum||

    Psychedelic Furs are the 125th greatest rock band of all time.

  • Sovereign Immunity||

    There's more than one?

  • ||

    I'm gonna just transplant this from the teacher thread.....

    If you have a contract (remember contracts?)

    I do remember contracts. And I also remember some stuff about agency, and self-dealing.

    I also even know a little bit about regulatory capture.

  • Almanian||

    Be Bop Deluxe did not chart among the "Greatest Rock Bands of All Time".

    This does not diminish Bill Nelson's guitar-playing and songwriting GENIUS!

  • UrineOhio||

    I pooped my pants

    :(

  • ||

    Having now RTFA, it sounds like a total clusterfuck. But guess what- if this guy were an at will employee, as he should be, he would have gotten the boot and (if he is as good at his job as his attorney would like us to believe) moved along to some other police department, and actually been doing something for the money he currently collects while sitting on his worthless pig ass.

    In the meantime, Kilpatrick has continued to collect yearly raises and benefits negotiated by the police union over the past seven years.

    Fuck you, asshole. You're a thief and you should be in jail.

  • hmm||

    These fine gentlemen and women put their lives on the line with minimal training due to budgetary constraints. They deserve full pay and a little slack even if they only work a year or two and violate more laws than the local crack ho. After all they have to deal with local crack hos all day and I'm sure you all don't want to do that.

  • Kristen||

    That's some nice stand-in work, Lou

  • ||

    Ohio public workers also turning out en masse at the Ohio Statehouse this week to protest.

    In the DYSTOPIA!! in my head, the citizens would come down and turn the firehoses on them.

  • Blum||

    Once again, thank you SI. Me feel stupid.
    Pearl Jam is the 35th greatest band of all time.

  • ||

    I'm gonna play Devil's Advocate here, Radley ... you are advocating firing a cop because of unproven allegations?

    Sure, why not? People in the Productive Sector lose their jobs all the time over unproven allegations.

  • ||

    Wow, thats downright scary when you think about it.

    privacy-online.au.tc

  • Disciple of Herc||

    WAKE UP SHEEPLE!

  • ||

    Babe Ruth is the 64th (tie) greatest band of all time.

  • Disciple of Herc||

    Hercules & Love Affair is the greatest Electronic R&B group of all time.

  • Butts Wagner||

    Hercules & Love Affair is the greatest Electronic R&B group of all time.

    It's a transgendered disco group, not Electronic R&B. Get the genre correct, please.

  • ||

    OK, but at least he isn't busting down doors looking for pot and killing innocent people. That's worth half a mil right there.

  • ||

    I'm thinking of that scene in Office Space where they just, sort of, you know, cancel the guy's paychecks. No muss, no fuss.

  • ||

    Perhaps the issue here is that these allegations are being contested, since presumably in seven years no court has found him guilty of anything?

    They did find him guilty. The problem was procedural, not factual. At any rate, who cares if he's "guilty"? My employment is at will, so should a cop's be.

  • omg||

    What do you guys make of this:

    According to court records, George placed Kilpatrick on paid leave in October 2003 over complaints about "actions you have taken toward your fellow officers" and launched an internal investigation into whether he violated a direct order to stay away from members of the department's Special Investigation Unit.

    Is this guy getting railroaded for being some sort of internal whistleblower? Or is it the usual consequence-free cop thuggishness?

  • ||

    Sounds to me like he was trying muscle internal affairs. Kind of the opposite of whistle-blowing, but who knows?

  • jimbo||

    note to self....stay out of Davie, Florida

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Cops have "rubber rooms", too? How fucking sweet it must be, getting tax-payer paychecks for not working.

  • ||

    You though the communist connection with Unions was a joke?

  • دردشه عراقية||

    Thanks

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Progressive Puritans: From e-cigs to sex classifieds, the once transgressive left wants to criminalize fun.
  • Port Authoritarians: Chris Christie’s Bridgegate scandal
  • The Menace of Secret Government: Obama’s proposed intelligence reforms don’t safeguard civil liberties

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement