We are assembling the first open-source database of police union contracts and other documents related to police accountability for the 100 largest U.S. cities. These documents, obtained through FOIA requests via MuckRock, will be used for future analyses identifying the ways in which they impact police accountability.

@deray, @samswey, @nettaaaaaaaa, and @mspackyetti

“In big cities, where police unions have political clout, rigid union contracts restricted the ability of police chiefs and civilian oversight bodies to tackle misconduct. As a result, an officer involved in a shooting often cannot be interviewed at the scene; internal affairs investigators have to wait days to get a statement.”

— Jonathan Smith, former senior litigator, DOJ Civil Rights Division


  1. Preventing police officers from being interrogated immediately after being involved in an incident
  2. Preventing information on past misconduct investigations from being recorded or retained in an officer’s personnel file
  3. Disqualifying misconduct complaints that are submitted 180+ days after an incident or that take over 1 year to investigate
  4. Limiting civilian oversight structures from being given the authority to discipline officers for misconduct

*Additional ways that police union contracts block accountability are mentioned on the next page. HERE IS SAN DIEGO

✔️= Police Contract Posted
📝= Police Accountability Fact Sheet

San Diego Police Department ✔️
Police Union Contract (see also: California Police Bill of Rights)
FOIA Request Submitted Via MuckRock

San Diego Police Union Contract (Expires 6/30/20)
Category: Delays Interrogations | Section 41.D.1
“Any officer or officers under investigation will receive at least three (3) working days notice prior to an interrogation except where a delay will hamper the gathering of evidence as determined by an Assistant Chief.”
Category: Disqualifies Complaints | Section 64.D
“Except as provided in this subdivision and subdivision (g), no punitive action, nor denial of promotion on grounds other than merit, shall be undertaken for any act, omission, or other allegation of misconduct if the investigation of the allegation is not completed within one year of the public agency’s discovery by a person authorized to initiate an investigation of the allegation of an act, omission, or other misconduct.”
Category: Limits Civilian Oversight | Section 41.J.1
While the contract does not specify that the Chief has sole authority to impose discipline, it prevents policies from being passed (without the union’s consent) that would change the way investigations are conducted by giving a civilian oversight structure the power to investigate and discipline officers.
“During the term of this MOU, no policies, practices or procedures of City or the Department which affect wages, hours, or other terms and conditions of employment and which specifically affect investigations, or the procedures for conducting appeals and hearings will be changed in any way without the mutual agreement of the Parties.”

In addition, many of the police union contracts reviewed contained provisions that:

  • Mandate paid leave for officers who kill
  • Prevent anonymous complaints from being investigated
  • Restrict the amount of time an officer can be interrogated for misconduct
  • Protect the identities of violent officers from public scrutiny
  • Require cities to pay for misconduct settlements
  • Prevent civilian oversight structures from being able to interrogate or subpoena officers
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1 Response to Via #CampaignZERO; HOW #POLICEUNION CONTRACTS BLOCK ACCOUNTABILITY San Diego, Ca on this list (

  1. Pingback: Uaptsd.orgs official statement on LEO killings & Police Officer’s “Bill of Rights” at the TRUE State of the City Rally | United Against Police Terror – San Diego

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