Officer James became a police officer in 1994. She passed a civil service exam, became a recruit, worked hard in the police academy, and then proudly became a police officer, a woman embarking on a male-dominated, dangerous career. A single parent, her then six-year old daughter made her promise to come home to her safe and sound. Officer James understood her obligation to her daughter and her commitment to the career she chose. Her district was changing, becoming more inclusive and diverse. The police department adopted a different model of policing: “Community Policing.” They wanted to develop partnerships and have better relationships with all community members. Officer James was one of the officers assigned to carry out that mission. She was recognized for the work she did as a community service officer and then became a juvenile officer. She was a liaison between the police department and community – school officials, clergy, business-owners, social service agencies, and programs. She was involved in roundtable discussions, interventions, mediation, individual educational plans for students at risk, court advocacy for juvenile delinquents, and relationship building with probation. She grew both personally and professionally by becoming certified to mediate and earning a masters degree in criminal justice from Boston University.
According to Officer James, she worked full duty for six months after erroneously being charged with Absent Without Leave (AWOL) in November 2011, with two months of her wages taken without any written notice while rehabilitating an approved, job-related injury. In June 2012, her commander showed up on her night shift at 1am (his shift begins at 8:00 am) to suspend her for an erroneous charge of being AWOL while out on an approved, job related injury (later expunged from her record). After being told it would be a one-way conversation, her commander attempted to engage in conversation with her with no union representative present. Her commander ordered her to turnover her equipment in his office, and she was compliant per her training. While safely removing the loaded firearm from her retention holster, on the gun belt she wore attached to her and with out any verbal warning to her or my shift lieutenant, the commander wrangled the gun out of the retention holster. After the suspension was served, she filed a required Incident Report (later approved and categorized as Sexual Assault for possible purposes of concealment). There was no proper response to this incident. She felt unsafe and afraid of retaliation of any kind, left in limbo with no status, no police identification, and not charged with abandonment of her job or being AWOL. The suspension was rescinded, and the AWOL was expunged from her record.
What’s happened since
One year later:
• After being put in numerous processes, she was eventually given 11 charges including untruthfulness and filing a false-report. 11 charges but NOT FIRED.
• An Investigation started for a rule violation that she was not officially accused of until July 2013.
• She was not allowed to take her annual drug test and was then charged with refusing.
• Two charges were added to the 11 charges. 13 charges but NOT FIRED.
Two years later:
• She was medically cleared to return to work.
• She remained in limbo for nearly three months.
• A doctor cleared her for light duty. She never worked a shift.
• She was put on Administrative Leave with Pay after being in limbo.
Three years later:
• Officer James was fired through a notice of termination placed in the hallway of a family member.
Officer James needs our support. Join us at Suffolk Superior Court, 3 Pemberton Square, Room 916, Boston, MA on Tuesday, October 17, 2017 at 2pm.