Oregon Police Trainee Fired Just Before Graduation After Whistleblower Complaint

Former Ashland Police Department Trainee Daniel Ensley was fired three weeks before graduating from the police academy.

Salem, OR – Following a police recruit's complaint, an Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) investigation has revealed that police recruits attending the state’s police academy have been forced to work overtime hours without being paid.

The bureau’s findings will affect all law enforcement agencies in the state of Oregon, KGW reported.

The BOLI was alerted to the issue by Ashland Police Department Trainee Daniel Ensley, who was sent to the Oregon Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) academy so that he could gain the training necessary to become a certified law enforcement officer.

Ensley, a 27-year-old military veteran whose father, grandfather, and great-grandfather all served as law enforcement officers, said he first noticed the mandatory overtime after he had been at the academy for about a month.

Ensley sent an email to his supervisor, Ashland Police Department Sergeant Robert Smith, inquiring about getting paid for working over 40 hours per week while at the academy.

“The academy is a 40 hr. a week academy,” Sgt. Smith wrote in response, according to an email obtained by KGW. “If classes exceed the 8 hr. day, there is no expectation that you are to be compensated with overtime pay.”

“Any additional training that would be offered outside of scheduled hours would be overtime, as long as you notify me and get permission…Homework is an exception, if you plan to succeed, and is not viewed as an overtime issue,” the sergeant wrote.

“I don’t see this as an ethical issue with DPSST,” he added. “As in any training environment, classes may run longer than expected, or there may be times the day ends early.”

“It just seemed wrong to me,” said Ensley, who subsequently contacted BOLI about his concerns.

However, bureau began investigating the issue, and ultimately determined that trainees were frequently mandated to work over 40 hours per week without additional compensation.

Law enforcement agencies were paying trainees for a 40-hour work week, but DPSST often required them to attend a flag ceremony before classes started, to march in formation during breaks, and to spend time writing mandatory reports during lunch or after classes, KDRV reported.

The trainees are paid by their home agencies – not the DPSST.

The BOLI sent a letter to 185 law enforcement agencies advising them of the investigative findings, and pointed out that it is a violation of state and federal law to not pay trainees for all of the hours they work during their time at the academy.

The state also found that the department could be violating “recordkeeping statutes for not recording the actual hours worked by the trainees,” KGW reported.

During his 13th week at the academy – just three weeks shy of graduation – Ensley was fired from the Ashland police department.

“I was told I was released from law enforcement with Ashland PD for being a risk,” Ensley told the news outlet.

He said the department told him they were letting him go for an incident “a few months prior,” during which he “cleared” his firearm before he put it away.

“But that is exactly how I did it in the military and I was trained to do that in the military,” Ensley said. “There was nothing in the policy manual that addressed it.”

He said he believes the real reason he was fired was because of his inquiry to the BOLI.

“I believe that that’s the risk. I was reporting something that was going on there in the Ashland Police Department,” Ensley explained. “The academy touched a lot on doing the right thing, being ethical even when no one is watching. It felt, almost like a stab in the back.”

Ensley, a married father of two young children, said he is worried that other law enforcement agencies won’t want to hire him after they learn he was fired by the Ashland Police Department.

He has filed a civil rights violation against the agency, which remains under investigation.

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ipdsharkey
ipdsharkey

I retired after 28 years as a Lieutenant. My Academy in 1982 required a lot more than 40 hours a week, some nights and weekends. During my career I attended many in service training classes and some of those went over 8 hours. None of that was paid in O.T.. It has always been an unwritten rule, because on the other side of the coin, many classes went under 8 hours and you went home early.. It has always been an agency standard. I was so happy to get the job, I would gladly do whatever was required. I guess in this "entitled" environment, the recruits don't like the rules. I cant imagine working with someone who doesn't know when to speak up and when to shut up. I think this recruit needs to find a different job. If he had talked to his Police relatives, they probably would have told him how things work.

NTPD935Ret
NTPD935Ret

Thank God they fired this guy! In the middle of a car accident investigation this guy would stop because it’s time to go home. And who gives a crap what this guy did in the military? You’re in the police department now and no idiot would ever holster an empty gun. Thankfully no copper will have to bet their life on him as a backup. Good riddance!

Notajoker
Notajoker

When do we learn that the best qualified people should be hired. No preference for minority or special protected groups. Sorry but no preference for military service. The departments and the citizens deserve to get the best qualified people based on testing scores, interviews and experience.

Police departments no longer can be used for social experiments. This guy should never have been hired in the first place.

Good on APD for getting rid of him. Cops deserve to be paid fairly. And that means when your art the academy you get your basic 40 week check. Some departments and states make recurits pay for their own way at the academy.

Thank about that.

U.P. Brez
U.P. Brez

.Gotta Love some Millennial! How much I get paid? When's Lunch? Can I have every other weekend off? I don't like working nights! What? No Netflix on the squad room work processors? The future of law Enforcement....:(

rds40
rds40

Really. Paid to do homework? Flag raising?

He won the battle and lost the war. He's probationary.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Probably better to start putting police officers on salary so that overtime is no longer an issue.

Badge204
Badge204

Welcome to the Academy. As it was in basic. The military did not have a 8 hour a day training. You were expected to to do as you were told. As a police officer you are expected to be available anytime. You deserved to be fired. What else are you going to complain about? Police Academy is ran as a basic military style atmosphere.

RPG156
RPG156

When I went to the academy in 1982, we routinely worked a 10 hour day. The reason, which made perfect sense, was that when we transitioned to sworn status, we would have no sick or vacation time built up and the extra time we worked would become comp time. So, at the end of academy, we had about 140 hours to use if needed. They didn't have to do that. If we got sick in the first weeks of field training, it would have been leave without pay.

LEO0301
LEO0301

When I went to the academy, it was required that you had a sponsorship. An agency agreed to sponsor me but without a promise of a job. I quit my regular job to attend and lived (barely) on my wife's pay. I wasn't compensated for any of the time I spent learning a craft that would later provide me with a livelihood. I graduated tops in my class and was immediately offered a job making just above minimum wage at the time. As I recall it was a little over $15K a year. This kid made a mistake by opening up a can of worms and it very well may be difficult for him to find employment in law enforcement.

bob95648
bob95648

The new breed.

mousegun
mousegun

They tried to pull this same type of thing at my husband's department but guess what..deputies got pissed and sued - and won. The county had to pay out big time. Just because he's a recruit doesn't mean he's wrong. The state found that the departments were in violation of state law so why should they get away with that? My husband makes great money on overtime and it took some fights to get what they deserve for doing that dangerous, thankless job. This kid should not be punished so the department can continue to take advantage of their officers and not pay them what they deserve, that's bullshit. That's wrongful termination if I ever saw it...I hope he wins. You cannot say that officers need to act with integrity even when no one is watching then fire him for doing exactly that. It's hypocritical for the department to get all butthurt and fire him over something they actually did wrong. Nice message...🙄

JohnP
JohnP

Snowflake

NomonK
NomonK

Honesty, Integrity and following the LAW is a requirement of every EMPLOYER in America. That means that Law Enforcement Agencies must follow LABOR LAWS. To expect LEO to enforce Laws on their Citizens and not follow Laws themselves is what is wrong in America. Congress makes laws on all Americans and then exempts themselves from those laws... Congress is not Trusted. Now You allow your local Agency to Violate Labor Laws.... And police are to be trusted? I am a huge supporter of LAW and Order. We have to have it. Don't let your agency become disgraced by NOT OBEYING THE LAW THEMSELVES.

AZBIGDOG
AZBIGDOG

Simple way to get around it would be for the department to declare the academy and all recruits as exempt salaried. No overtime and they work as many hours as it takes to do the job. Kind of wondering it I went back and figured out the overtime I worked as an advisor for 15 weeks in the academy how much I would be owed with 20 years added for not being paid. Not worried, I got paid and I had a career I liked. And made up for it with all the other OT I had to work.

RunCop
RunCop

When I attended the academy we were on what the city said was an accelerated schedule so we went six days a week. We asked about OT for the hours over the 40 hour work week and were told since we were only recruits we didn’t get OT. We bided our time, graduated and filed a grievance with the union and won all the back pay!

sanman
sanman

Well he whined himself into the unemployment line. He was in the military, they didn't pay him overtime during boot camp.

Justme1
Justme1

If he was in the middle of a car accident investigation and it was time for him to go home, he'd work extra and get paid overtime like most law enforcement officers do. He WAS working extra hours already.

Do you think law enforcement shouldn't get paid properly for their work?

Justme1
Justme1

It's entitled to get paid for the hours you put in? If you're not paid properly you should just shut up?

The law sided with him...so you're against following the law? Glad we don't have shit officers like you anymore. Screw what the law says, right? That's why there's so many crappy cops doing dumb things out there. Y'all can't follow the law and respect it. Trash.

And saying someone should shut up when they're wrong...not everyone is a coward like you. You'd sip piss if a supervisor told you it was wine, grin and ask for more, wouldn't you?

shooter
shooter

It's called "paying your dues." So, STFU.

Good luck getting hired somewhere else, now.

Grog
Grog

Little crybaby!

No. 26-27
DrJAG
DrJAG

He was 13 weeks, into a 16 week training program. Common sense says: finish the next three weeks, and then (if you must) make your complaint. He just sounds like another SJW.

Tech Ops
Tech Ops

Only 16 week academy? They must left out the lessons on Don't Be A Dumbass.