Recently the Sheriff’s Office has instituted a policy called “Duty to Intervene” which requires all sworn members of the Sheriff’s Office to actively intervene if a deputy sees another officer using abusive or demeaning language, excessive force, or to prevent any of those from taking place by realizing that the other deputy / officer is beginning to lose his / her composure. Some have voiced concerns over such policy being enacted, but this is a policy necessary for accountability in our profession. Without diving too deep into the why, we can all understand that if one of, or all three of, the officers standing watch while George Floyd died in custody would have exercised their duty to intervene, at minimum that action would have provided some comfort and necessary care to Floyd. More to that point, some intervention and care would probably have prevented the mass rioting which took place as a result of the lack of action taken by the Minneapolis Police. While it is true that independent autopsies both concluded that Mr. Floyd’s death was not due to any force applied by the arresting officers, and not the singular cause of Mr. Floyd’s death, the lack of action was definitely an exacerbating factor. We as law enforcememt have a duty to protect life, this appears to have been forgotten in Mr. Floyd’s case, as not a single officer felt it necessary to intervene when Mr. Floyd was pleading for help, even calling out for his mother. We at the Jackson County Deputies Association, Chapter 3 are in full support of this common sense step towards improving the accountability of our own. This policy truly holds us responsible to the creed “our brothers keeper”, empowering all members to play an active role in not only preventing actions that have disastrous career outcomes, but recognizing misconduct and providing the commensurate authority to stop it immediately if observed.
Response to Sheriff Forté’s Recent Transfers and Social Media Post
On November 3rd, 2020, Deputies participated in their annual shift bid as allowed in their MOU they have with Jackson County and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office. The bid was done in accordance with the MOU which had been agreed upon by all parties involved at the beginning of the contract period.
Over one month later, on December 7th, 2020, Sheriff Forté put out a transfer list that was in direct violation of the MOU and forced certain Deputies to positions they did not bid. This same order disbanded the Professional Standards Unit (Internal Affairs) as well as the Special Operations Response Team. Furthermore, Sheriff Forté moved Deputies into positions such as the Investigations Unit, that require an application processes so that all Deputies who qualify for the positions get a chance to apply. This too is in direct violation of the MOU.
Sheriff Forté continually advises that he has “management rights” under Article 3 of the MOU. While the MOU does afford certain management rights to Sheriff Forté, the agreement also states under Article 3 that management rights are “Subject to all other terms of this agreement”.
On December 8th, 2020, Sheriff Forté made a post on the Sheriff’s Office Facebook page that claims yet again that there are racist within law enforcement and they are protected by “peers, collective bargaining groups and racist leaders.” Since Sheriff Forté’s tenure as the Jackson County Sheriff, not one employee has been fired for racism let alone racial profiling. This statement is an outright attack on the Jackson County Deputies Association which is a collective bargaining group and being made without any evidence to support his allegations.
These statements were made by Sheriff Forté as a play against anyone who opposed or filed grievance against these transfers which are a blatant breach of the MOU.
We are absolutely appalled and disappointed in Sheriff Forte’s erroneous allegations as well as the blatant disregard for an agreement that the Jackson County Deputies Association has with Jackson County and the Jackson County Sheriff’s Office.
The Jackson County Deputies Association Executive Board
Welcome to the website of the West Central Missouri Regional Lodge #50, Chapter 3, Fraternal Order of Police. Our Chapter represents deputies of the Jackson County, Missouri Sheriff. The FOP is law enforcement officers striving to improve their profession by improving working conditions, wages and benefits, and by monitoring legislation affecting law enforcement on the local, state, and national levels of government.
Chapter 3 is a small part of the large organization that is the Fraternal Order of Police. Chapter 3 on its own only represents the approximately 110 sworn deputies of the Jackson County Sheriff, but we are part of the world’s largest organization of law enforcement officers, with more than 350,000 members in more than 2,100 lodges. Our organization is listed below, and you are encouraged to visit our parent Lodges at their respective websites.