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CHICAGO FIRE FIGHTERS UNION, LOCAL 2 v. CITY OF CH

July 13, 1989

CHICAGO FIRE FIGHTERS UNION, LOCAL 2, CLAUDE NORWOOD, JOHN FITZGERALD, JULIUS STANLEY, JAMES BUTLER, ELI RICHARDSON, RAYMOND CHAMBERS, HASSAN ABDURRAHMAN, CEDRIC YOUNG, JOHN ABRAMSKI, TODD ANDERSON, and JOE ELMORE, Plaintiffs,
v.
CITY OF CHICAGO, LOUIS T. GALANTE, RICHARD FITZPATRICK, JACK STERLING, FRANK SZWEDO, and JOHN DOES, I through X, Being Sued Individually and in Their Official Capacities, Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NORGLE

 CHARLES R. NORGLE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT JUDGE

 Before the court is the defendants' motion for partial summary judgment on Count II of the plaintiff's complaint, pursuant to Fed.R.Civ.P. 56. For the reasons set forth below, the motion is granted.

 FACTS

 The plaintiffs in this case are eleven fire fighters and the union to which they belong. They are suing the City of Chicago, as well as various officers and officials of the Chicago Fire Department (CFD), for violation of their Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment rights.

 The suit concerns General Order 85-007, dated November 7, 1985. This order, promulgated by the CFD, read aloud at roll calls and posted on station house bulletin boards, allows for unannounced, warrantless searches of lockers assigned to and routinely used by fire fighters. The order was promulgated in response to CFD concerns that fire fighters had engaged in alcohol and drug use while on duty. The CFD prohibits the possession, sale or use of alcohol on fire department premises. In spite of this prohibition, inspections of lockers in one CFD station uncovered a cooler of beer. As well, CFD officials and Fire Fighter's Union officials have stated that there is a definite problem with alcohol and drug abuse among fire fighters.

 The CFD drafted and announced General Order 85-007 pursuant to a previous district court order which required them to delineate the rights of fire fighters during administrative searches. The order was submitted to the Firefighters Union for discussion and suggestions. The Union suggested several changes, filed a grievance concerning that 1985 order but took no further action prior to filing this lawsuit in 1987. The order states in pertinent part;

 
A. Access to assigned lockers shall be limited to the individual member, subject to the following.
 
1. Semi-annual locker inspection;
 
2. Inspection, in the presence of member, at any time by a company officer or above, to determine whether contents are in violation of rules or regulations;
 
3. Inspection, in the presence of member, by Company Officer or above, pursuant routine inspection of quarters;
 
4. Access by a properly identified sworn member of any law enforcement agency, pursuant warrant or upon command of said law enforcement officer;
 
5. Company Officer, upon the death of member, to secure member's personal belongings for the benefit of deceased member's family. Such access shall be in the presence of other officers and/or witnesses, and an inventory of recovered property recorded and witnessed.

 On December 16, 1986, CFD officials conducted a locker search at the firehouse located at 3421 South Calumet in Chicago. The plaintiffs were among those whose lockers had been searched. After the search, the plaintiffs filed this suit to have General Order 85-007 and searches conducted under it declared unconstitutional.

 
1. On-duty firefighters have used alcohol and illegal drugs. (Brennan Aff., par. 6 and Tully Aff., par. 8);
 
2. Alcohol has been occasionally stored in firehouse lockers. (Brennan Aff., par. 5 and Tully Aff. par. 7);
 
3. All lockers located in CFD firehouses are the property of the CFD. (Wilkinson Aff., par. 18);
 
4. Since 1985, the CFD's Employee Assistance Program received 264 new cases related to drug and alcohol abuse. (Tully Aff., par 5);
 
5. The head of the CFD Employee Assistance Program, Captain Paul Brennan, estimates that at least 10% of all firefighters suffer from substance or alcohol abuse problems. (Brennan Aff., par. 4);
 
6. The President of Firefighters Local 2, Martin Holland, admits that the Union recognizes that there are some real problems among firefighters in dealing with ...

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