CLAIMING that conditions in the city's police facilities are "beyond deplorable," the Fraternal Order of Police has filed a grievance against the city to force maintenance upgrades.
"We filed individual grievances, but now we're going to attack the whole infrastructure of the Police Department," FOP President John McNesby said yesterday. "We literally had to send our personal exterminator to [officers'] homes because they brought fleas home."
But fleas are far from the only issue within the facilities, McNesby said. Cells in the 15th District station, at Harbison Avenue and Levick Street, have been closed since July because of a bedbug infestation, he said.
That station and those in other districts often flood and leak when it rains, he added, and some are riddled with asbestos, lack sufficient plumbing and have heating and cooling systems that don't work.
McNesby said that the FOP has photos, video and bills that the police union plans to present to an arbitration panel, documenting the health hazards that officers face at work .
He didn't blame the Police Department, but the city budget as a whole, and questioned the city's priorities.
"If this were City Hall, this would be repaired overnight," McNesby said.
Mark McDonald, Mayor Nutter's spokesman, said that the administration was aware of the state of police facilities and has earmarked nearly $11 million in the city's five-year plan for improvements and repairs. He said that the city also would consider the complaints in the grievance.
The FOP is requesting that all police facilities be inspected by an independent agency. The union also wants the city to provide the arbitrator in the case with a long-term maintenance program for the facilities.
McNesby said that the problems harm officers' morale.
A human-dignity grievance filed two years ago was successful in bringing improvements to the 35th District station, at Broad Street and Champlost Avenue, and McNesby said he plans to continue filing grievances until all issues are resolved.
"We're not asking for much," he said.