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WHATCOM COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFFS GUILD MEMORANDUM

TO: WHATCOM COUNTY FROM: GUILD GRIEVANCE COMMITTEE DATE: 08-06-08 SUBJECT: GRIEVANCE-DEPUTY PAUL MURPHY

To whom it may concern, It was recently brought to the attention of the grieva nce committee that Deputy Paul Murphy received a counseling form for failing to document a suspiciou s circumstance, which occurred on 07-05-08, and was a result of his own proactive patrol. Deputy Murphy was given the counseling form on 07 -10-08 by his supervisor, Sgt. Kevin Mede. The counseling form appeared unnecessary as Deputy Murphy brought the circumstance to the attention of Sgt. Mede on 07 -08-08, after Deputy Murphy investigated and deemed the situation not suspicious and insufficient for document ation. In this specific case, Deputy Murphy would understandably be the one to make such a decision considering it was based on his activity in the first place and he was more familiar with the circumstances than anyone else involved. Deputy Murphy further advised Sgt. Mede that he nonetheless planned to notify Crime Analyst Kope and Sgt. Chadwick. Deputy Murphy followed his chain of command and was not instructed to document the circumstance by his supervisor as it did not appear suspicious. However, Deputy Murphy received an e -mail from Chief Parks on 07-09-08 in which Chief Parks asked that Deputy Murphy document the circumstances. The e -mail included a directive previously sent to all WCSO personnel indicating that circumstances, such as those observed by Deputy Murphy, are deserving of documentation. L ater that day, Deputy Murphy sent an e -mail to Chief Parks indicating that he received the message and would comply. The next day, Deputy Murphy documented the incident. Despite the e-mail from Chief Parks, which appeared to address the minor violation and appeared to suffice as a form of documented counseling , Deputy Murphy still received the counseling form. According to Chapter 28.2.3 in the Whatcom County Sheriff Rules and Regulations manual, a minor violation is classified as Class II, or Administrative Inquiries, and are not considered formal discipline. However, a lengthy history of minor violations may become the subject of a charge that couldresult in economic loss ...

It is unclear why Chief Parks e-mail was insufficient and a separate written reprimand was included in this instance. However, the above referenced chapter also states, in essence, that additional violations could lead to charges including insubordination. Interestingly, on 07-11-08, following an additional exchange of e -mails between Chief Parks and Deputy Murphy regarding the same incident, Lt. Cooley advised Deputy Murphy that an e-mail Deputy Murphy sent to Chief Parks is tantamount to insubordination. Finally, it is unclear that Sgt. Mede felt a counseling form was even necessary as Sgt. Mede did not direct Deputy Murphy to document the incident as he determined an e -mail to another sergeant and the criminal analyst was sufficient. Moreover, Deputy Murphy stated that Sgt. Mede informed him that he was directed by either Chief Parks or Lt. Cooley to issue the written reprimand . If that is true, then it raises two questions: 1) Why wasnt Chief Parks e-mail sufficient to address the issue ? After receiving the e-mail, Deputy Murphy rectified the problem by documenting the incident . An objective person would reason that an additional notice, in this case a written reprimand, is unnecessary; and 2) Why didnt either Chief Parks or Lt. Cooley provide Deputy Mur phy the written reprimand? If both the deputy investigating his own proactive investigatio n, and the deputys sergeant who supervises the deputy, determined no documentation was necessary, and therefore no violation occurred, an objective person would again reason that either Chief P arks or Lt. Cooley would issue the reprimand as they obviously were aware of the need more than the immediate supervisor . It appears that Deputy Murphy may be unfairly targeted , as receiving a written reprima nd for a minor violation based on his own self initiated work appears highly inappropriate especially when, after serious consideration, the violation itself is debatable. Deputy Murphy asked that the above issue be forwarded for grievance. It is the intention of the guild committee to recommend the guild proceed in such a manner.

Sincerely,

Erik Francis Whatcom County Deputy Sheriffs Guild Grievance Committee member

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