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10/18/89 Fraternal Order of Police v. the Illinois Labor

October 18, 1989





545 N.E.2d 1042, 189 Ill. App. 3d 914, 137 Ill. Dec. 281 1989.IL.1639

Petition for review of order of Illinois State Labor Relations Board.


JUSTICE REINHARD delivered the opinion of the court. UNVERZAGT, P.J., and INGLIS, J., concur.


Petitioner, the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge No. 109 , filed a certification petition with the Illinois Labor Relations Board pursuant to the Illinois Public Labor Relations Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1987, ch. 48, par. 1601 et seq.) naming as respondents the County of Du Page, the Du Page County sheriff's department, and the ILRB. The petition sought certification of a bargaining unit consisting of all peace officers below the rank of sergeant employed by Du Page County, excluding bailiffs and correctional officers. Following a hearing before a hearing officer of the ILRB, at which it was determined the bargaining unit included bailiffs and correctional officers, the ILRB, upon review, found that the bargaining unit should include bailiffs and exclude correctional officers. The FOP appeals that part of the ILRB decision including bailiffs in the peace-officer bargaining unit. Respondents, the County of Du Page and the Du Page County sheriff's department, in a separate appeal, challenged the exclusion of the correctional officers, and this court dismissed the appeal as moot. County of Du Page v. Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 109 (1989), 183 Ill. App. 3d 1027, 539 N.E.2d 863.

The only issue raised in this appeal is whether the Du Page County bailiffs should be included in the peace officer bargaining unit sought by the FOP.

The relevant facts may be briefly stated as follows. The Du Page County sheriff's department employs three classifications of deputy sheriff: patrol officer, bailiff, and correctional officer. Deputy positions are filled by the merit commission, and under the current system, a deputy may not transfer from one classification to another without submitting a new application and going through the merit commission process. Additionally, there are four bureaus within the sheriff's department consisting of the administrative bureau, the criminal bureau, the corrections bureau, and the court security bureau.

Bailiffs are employed within both the warrants and transportation unit of the criminal bureau and the court security bureau. In the warrants and transportation unit, bailiffs are responsible for picking up prisoners at the jail and transporting them to medical facilities or to court and returning them. Bailiffs also search the prisoners prior to and following transport. Bailiffs also transport to Du Page County jail prisoners held in custody by municipal police departments or sheriffs' departments in the five counties surrounding Du Page County.

Bailiffs who are employed in the court security bureau are also responsible for courtroom security and maintenance of order within the courtrooms and hallways. They further escort sequestered jurors and supervise jurors' conduct. Bailiffs are authorized to and do on occasion make arrests in and around the courthouse. Bailiff Brechtel testified at the hearing that he has made arrests by order of a Judge, on his own initiative as a result of a disturbance in or around a courtroom or hallway, and pursuant to request by assistant State's Attorneys who identify wanted persons in the court facilities.

Bailiffs receive a two-week training course which consists primarily of court security and hostage negotiation. Bailiffs in the warrants and transportation unit are also trained in arrest, search and seizure, and civil liability. Bailiffs are also required to complete the State-mandated 40-hour firearms training course and to be recertified periodically by taking additional firearms training through the sheriff's department.

Bailiffs, as well as patrol and correctional officers, are sworn and take an oath of office. They are uniformed, wear badges, and are authorized to carry firearms, although they do not always carry weapons in the courtroom.

An administrative agency's findings of fact are prima facie true and correct and will not be disturbed unless they are against the manifest weight of the evidence. (Collura v. Board of Police Commissioners (1986), 113 Ill. 2d 361, 372-73, 498 N.E.2d 1148.) Further, as a general rule, courts will accord deference to the interpretation placed on a statute by the agency charged with its administration, but such agency's interpretation is not binding and will be rejected when it is erroneous. (City of Decatur v. American Federation of State, County & Municipal Employees, Local 268 (1988), 122 Ill. 2d 353, 361, 522 ...

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