District’s ‘All Hands on Deck’ suffers another legal loss, could cost millions in overtime

By Scott McCabe

A D.C. Superior Court judge has upheld a ruling that says the D.C. police department must end its controversial “All Hands on Deck” initiative that floods the city streets with every available officer.

The ruling Friday by Judge Michael L. Rankin is the latest setback for one of D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s signature strategies, requiring Metropolitan Police Department officers to work three-day weekends several times a year, including a clause against changing work schedules without negotiations.

In his ruling, Rankin upheld a 2011 decision by the Public Employee Relations Board, which affirmed an arbitrator’s 2009 decision that  All Hands on Deck violated the District’s contract with its rank-and-file police officers.

The initiative could cost the District $1.5 million in overtime for each All Hands on Deck, of which there have been dozens. Lanier has said the ruling only considers the overtime costs for 2009.

A police spokesperson did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

In a letter to his members Monday, District of Columbia Police Union President Kristopher Baumann urged them to be patient. The District has continued the All Hands on Deck initiative several times a year despite previous rulings.

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D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier

“The District has a decision to make, it can continue to litigate and lose or it can abide by District law, respect the legal process, and abide by the decisions of the arbitrators and the Public Employees Relations Board,” Baumann said.

In the latest legal round, the District argued that the Public Employees Relations Board abused its discretion and therefore was “erroneous as a matter of law.”

But Rankin ruled that the D.C. police did not provide the court with “with any guiding legal precedent of analysis that supports this assertion.”

The chief has contended that All Hands on Deck has helped lower the District’s crime rate, and that she did not violate the terms of the collective bargaining agreement because the dates of the events were announced months in advance.

The police union has called All Hands on Deck a publicity stunt that deprives neighborhoods of police manpower during the week, in addition to a violation of the terms of the collective bargaining agreement.