Police union sues department for files on exam

September 24, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

The union representing Baltimore police officers is suing the department, alleging that it is illegally withholding files of the department's investigation into whether promotional exams were tainted.

The lawsuit, filed in Circuit Court by Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3, demands the files so the union can "determine whether a proper investigation was conducted and whether there was a legitimate basis for the commissioner to close the investigation."

Robert W. Weinhold Jr., a city police spokesman, declined to comment on the suit because it is pending litigation.

The department's chief legal counsel, Gary May, wrote to the union president June 27 and denied the request for the files, arguing that the records are exempt from the state's Public Information Act because they deal with private personnel matters.

In the lawsuit, the FOP says it needs to see the files to properly represent its 3,000 members. "The FOP could hardly satisfy this duty if it was unable to ensure that the promotional procedures employed by the department complied with the law," the suit says.

Police investigations into test cheating cost one department commander his job. Maj. Goldie S. Phillips Jr., who headed the homicide unit, retired in June amid an investigation into charges that he leaked answers to the detectives' test to an officer in the Southern District. The investigation ended when he resigned.

That prompted two other internal investigations into leaked answers, both of which were closed by Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier, who said he found no evidence of tampering in either the sergeants' or lieutenants' exam.

Pub Date: 9/24/97

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