State: Scranton Police Chief Can’t Make Arrests

This is an archived article and the information in the article may be outdated. Please look at the time stamp on the story to see when it was last updated.

SCRANTON -- A court battle between the City of Scranton and its police union has come to a conclusion. And its result might surprise you.

The Scranton Police Chief is no longer allowed to make arrests.

This court battle between Scranton and the police union has a long history that goes back to Mayor Chris Doherty's decision to remove the police chief from the union.

Union officials say this ruling won't change police protection in the city. They say the state's decision just makes the chief's job more of the administrative job it's intended to be.

Former Scranton Police Chief Dan Duffy left the department last year. But, a recent decision by the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board would keep him from doing one of the things he was best known for. He was popular among people in Scranton for the publicized stories of his off-duty arrests.

The state decision says the Scranton Police Chief, a position that hasn't been officially filled since Duffy left, can't go out patrolling and can't make arrests. Essentially making the chief's job a desk job.

But, officials for Scranton's police union say that's the way it should be since the city removed the chief's position from the union 10 years ago.

"If the Chief of Police in the Scranton Police Department is in the public and sees a crime being committed in his presence, he has a moral and legal obligation to react and we don't have a problem with that. The FOP doesn't have a problem with that. The problem we have is when a non-bargaining unit member goes out and seeks out our work and does our work of a bargaining unit member. Then that's when we have a problem and that's what this decision is about," said Scranton Detective Sergeant Bob Martin.

According to the court paperwork, the City of Scranton will not fight this decision since so much of it centers around a police chief that's no longer with the department.

Also, no word on how this state decision will affect other police departments.  For example, the Chief in Wilkes-Barre is not part of the police union there either.