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Saturday, June 24, 2017




Campus police call for contract negotiations




The Brandeis University Police Association will soon go into mediation with the University over the terms of its new contract, said two union representatives who have both worked for Brandeis for more than 12 years. The Justice granted these two representatives anonymity due to their fear of retaliation.

The union’s previous contract ended in July 2016, and the Office of Human Resources contacted the officers on Aug. 3, 2016 to schedule negotiation meetings, according to emails received by the union. Contract negotiations did not begin until the end of September, and after eight such meetings, proceedings will now move to mediation, union representatives told the Justice in an interview.

Fliers from the Brandeis University Police Association began to appear around campus last week, alleging that “Brandeis University refuses to bargain in good faith” and listing criticisms of the University’s conduct, including tardiness to meetings, unpreparedness and disregard for officers’ concerns. The Association is also known as ACOPS Local 20, which is a chapter of the American Coalition of Public Safety. ACOPS Local 20 has 15 full-time officers, the representatives said. 

The University “want[s] a police force, but they don’t want to give the police force what it needs to serve the public,” one of the union representatives told the Justice. 

Of these needs, the primary goals of ACOPS Local 20 involve the scheduling of shifts and the training of officers. 

In negotiations with the University, ACOPS Local 20 proposed moving shifts up an hour; for example, instead of an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. shift, officers requested a 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift in order to avoid heavy traffic during the commute, the representatives said. Last summer, the union circulated a petition for this change that all 15 members signed, but the University delayed discussion until contract negotiations, the ACOPS Local 20 representatives said.

The union also proposed switching to a rotating schedule of four days on duty followed by two days off duty, which is a standard schedule for police departments, the representatives said. This would result in more days off  — 17, by ACOPS Local 20’s estimates — but the union offered to help offset this by beginning their shifts 15 minutes earlier and ending their shifts 15 minutes later. 

ACOPS Local 20 requests this change in order to allow officers to receive the occasional weekend day off. “I lost my family life,” one of the representatives said, emphasizing the toll of never having a weekend day off.

Officer training is another concern of the union. Brandeis police officers have not received training for mass casualty incidents, and they have not undergone active shooter training since the San Bernardino shooting in 2015, the representatives said.

ACOPS Local 20 also proposed that the University fund training to enable officers to administer Narcan, a nasal spray used to treat heroin overdoses. 

Two sergeants have training and access to Narcan, but they do not go to medical calls, union representatives said. 

Certain members of the Brandeis Emergency Medical Corps also have training and access to Narcan, but officers need to be able to administer the medication as well, especially during school breaks when BEMCo is not operating at full force, according to ACOPS Local 20. Brandeis has had at least two heroin overdoses within the past year, the union representatives said. 

At the eighth negotiation meeting, the University did not respond to ACOPS Local 20’s proposals and instead offered five additional dollars per year for officers’ boot allowance, as well as an additional five cents for the shift differential, the union representatives claimed. 

“We want to be able to provide the better services to you guys, but realistically, without the training, we can’t provide the better services to you,” one of the representatives said.

“We help you, will you help us?” the flier reads. According to union representatives, ACOPS Local 20 published the fliers in order to raise awareness among the University community. “You're our voice,” one of the representatives explained.

On Monday, Nicole Famiglietti ’18 stood at the bottom of Rabb steps with a stack of ACOPS Local 20 fliers and offered them to students as they passed. “I believe [the officers] have specific trainings that they want, and I think that they should have access to those trainings,” she said in an interview with the Justice.

Campus Operations, the Department of Public Safety, the Office of Human Resources and the Office of Communications declined to comment due to University policy regarding ongoing contract negotiations, according to a May 1 email to the Justice from Director of Media Relations Julie Jette.


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