Black officers association accuses Fort Worth police chief of misusing internal affairs

Posted Thursday, Aug. 01, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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The president of Fort Worth’s black police officers association is accusing Chief Jeff Halstead and the head of a larger organization of intimidation and misuse of the department’s Internal Affairs Division.

Halstead and Sgt. Stephen Hall, president of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association, called for an internal investigation after Sgt. Dwayne Dalco and another board member of the Fort Worth Black Law Enforcement Officers Association met with Assistant City Manager Charles Daniels in February, according to a complaint filed by Dalco.

Hall acknowledged asking internal affairs to look into possible violations of the city’s “meet and confer” agreement, Dalco wrote. Under the voter-approved agreement, the POA is the “sole and exclusive bargaining agent” for police officers.

“I am disheartened that executive officers of a minority police association have been investigated, under the guise of a Meet and Confer Contract violation, for meeting with City management,” Dalco wrote in the July 3 complaint to the city’s Human Resources Department.

The Star-Telegram obtained the complaint Thursday after filing a request under the Texas Public Information Act.

“Even though the Internal Affairs investigation resulted in no disciplinary action, the mere decision to investigate officers under these circumstances sends a chilling message to minority officers currently affiliated or considering affiliation with the FWBLEOA,” Dalco wrote.

“A police officer has the right to organize together with the aim of addressing issues of common concern free of coercion and intimidation.”

Halstead said he learned of the meeting with Daniels from a member of his command staff, who is also a member of the black officers association. He declined to name the officer.

“It was apparent to me that this member of the association was very upset that some members of the BLEOA utilized a lunch meeting with Mr. Charles Daniels to speak about personnel matters within the traffic division, or other personnel matters within the Police Department, without coming to me first,” Halstead said.

Halstead said he confirmed with Daniels that a meeting had taken place and that such topics were discussed. Concerned that the meeting could have been a violation of the meet and confer agreement, Halstead said he alerted Hall.

Dalco declined to comment for this report. In his written complaint, he described the meeting with Daniels as an informal gathering to “re-establish and strengthen” the association’s relationship with the city. The association’s first vice president, Sgt. Roy Hudson, also attended.

Halstead said he recommended that Hall submit a written request to the administrative captain for the matter to be investigated by internal affairs.

“We wanted an independent review of what really took place,” Halstead said. “It’s not clearly stated anywhere who should look at potential allegations or violations of the meet and confer agreement. We really wanted to keep it in-house, to do more of a fact-finding mission.”

Karen Marshall, director of the city’s human resources office, said Thursday that she hopes a planned meeting next week of the chief, Hall, Dalco and Daniels will head off the need to investigate Dalco’s complaint.

“The goal is that some of those things can be resolved,” Marshall said. “After that meeting, if they don’t feel it’s resolved, then an investigation can occur. It may be my staff, or I may get someone from the outside.”

Marshall acknowledged concerns about the use of internal affairs, but said she is withholding judgment until she learns all sides.

Hall declined to comment Thursday.

“If I read this correctly, I am the subject of an internal complaint that is being aired in the media,” he wrote in an email. “ Therefore, I do not think it is appropriate for me to comment until the investigation is completed.”

Halstead’s decision to investigate the meeting “was a misuse of the Internal Affairs Division and a prime example of disparate treatment of minority officers of the Fort Worth Police Department,” Dalco wrote.

Halstead denied the allegation.

“My door is open to any employee or any association that feels they’ve been wronged by either management or another employee or disparate working conditions,” he said. “No one from this association has asked to meet with me on any of these issues in over three years.”

Deanna Boyd, 817-390-7655 Twitter: @deannaboyd

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