Wilkinsburg police union criticizes chief over officer’s discipline
The firing of a Wilkinsburg police officer, the pending suspension of three others and a letter from some officers expressing no confidence in their chief have exposed labor-management strife in a police department that a union leader described as a “huge mess.”
On April 5 — the same day the borough council voted to fire Stephen Minton over allegations that he spent “idle” time during his shifts instead of working, and then tried to cover it up — an unsigned letter was delivered on behalf of some officers to council that was critical of police Chief Ophelia “Cookie” Coleman.
The three-page letter alleged unprofessional conduct, poor treatment of officers and a hostile work environment filled with “fear and uncertainty.”
“We’re prepared to go to war with Wilkinsburg,” Carl A. Bailey, secretary/treasurer and principal officer of Teamsters Local 205, which represents unionized Wilkinsburg police officers, said Monday. He claimed that the letter represented the opinion of a majority of those in the department, which is budgeted for two dozen officers.
“I think we have a bad chief who does not look after her people, who does not do a good job running her department,” Mr. Bailey said. “It’s a huge mess. I think it’s only going to get worse.”
“It’s a huge mess. I think it’s only going to get worse.” — Carl A. Bailey, Teamsters Local 205