In case anyone is thinking of getting hired with LAPD then leaving after finishing probation. We'll see if this holds up in court.
"LOS ANGELES - The city alleges that 53 former police officers broke their employment contracts by leaving the department within five years of joining the force, and is suing them to recoup $1.6 million in training costs
The city alleges that 53 former police officers broke their employment contracts by leaving the department within five years of joining the force, and is suing them to recoup $1.6 million in training costs. Thirty of the officers have hired an attorney to challenge the city's demand and to file a class action countersuit.
"It is unlawful under the U.S. Fair Labor Standards Act for any employer to ask for money back from an employee," said Jon Webster, the officers' Northern California attorney.
The city has required police recruits to sign five-year contracts since 1996, when an investigation revealed that some were leaving soon after graduating from the police academy to work for other departments. The officers agree to repay part or all of their $60,000 training cost if they leave early.
City officials say they're trying to protect a taxpayer investment and want to negotiate settlements so the money could be paid back over several years.
"We think it's important that the city gets paid," said Contessa Mankiewicz, a spokeswoman for City Attorney Rocky Delgadillo. "But we don't want to create a financial burden for officers."
Some officers who are being sued said they quit because they had long commutes or because other departments had better working conditions.
"I couldn't succeed as a father and husband with the long commute to Los Angeles," said Chino police officer Andrew Bjelland, 33, a Fontana resident who is being sued for $35,000 for leaving the LAPD after 2½ years.
Webster said he believes the city's legal position will be hurt because other departments allow their officers to undergo less expensive training programs"