How many times does a deputy sheriff need to crash his police cruiser before he gets fired? In Todd County, Minnesota, the answer is apparently 33 times. That’s the takeaway from an unbelievable state arbitration case just settled last month, in which the county defended its decision to fire the deputy “based on his longstanding history of vehicle accidents, mostly due to excessive speed, driving unreasonably in light of conditions, and distracted driving.”
The deputy in question crashed his cruiser an average of twice a year, but somehow managed to hit four deer in less than two months, including two accidents on consecutive days.
That kind of safety record may seem indefensible, but if there’s one thing government labor unions can be counted on, it’s defending the indefensible. And so they did, challenging the county’s firing of the employee, in part because he “has never been provided proper notice of the supposed reasons for his termination or the policies that he is alleged to have violated.” Thankfully, the state arbitrator sided with the county.
However, to avoid situations like this in the future, perhaps Todd County should add a “33 strikes and you’re out” provision to its next collective bargaining agreement. Not that the union would ever agree to it.