Chief upset over 'blue flu'

By Dan Wells - bio | email
Posted by Trina Edwards - email

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - It's called the "blue flu" - the cop's version of unofficially going on strike.

Since they can't legally strike, they all call-in sick. Fifty-two officers did it just days ago, and the chief calls it a childish move that not only jeopardized the safety of the Queen City, but of fellow officers, as well.

Chief Tom Streicher thinks the officers calling in sick was a staged protest about possible budget cuts.

"Well, in one district, I know that we had one police officer show up for an night shift leaving no one to cover that officer," said Streicher. "And on third shift, which begins at 11 o'clock at night, only two officers show up and that was right here in this district downtown."

Streicher said blue flu will not be tolerated in his department.

"We have determined this it is a violation of the contract between the city and the FOP," he said. "It's a violation of law and most importantly it's a violation of their oath of office."

Kathy Harrell, president of the Fraternal Order of Police said over the weekend that she didn't know of any concerted effort by officers to call in sick.

"In my position, if you're are a probationary police officer and you engage in any type of activity that is illegal, including that you were involved in a blue flu and we can prove it, then I believe that is ground to fail your probation, and a dismissal from the police department," said Streicher.

Streicher says he was yelled at by his father, a Cincinnati Police Sergeant, after taking part in a sick-out 38 years ago. He says that was one of his biggest regrets.

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