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ALLEGHENY COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFF'S ASSOCIATION v. COMMONWEALTH PENNSYLVANIA (02/12/86)

COMMONWEALTH COURT OF PENNSYLVANIA


decided: February 12, 1986.

ALLEGHENY COUNTY DEPUTY SHERIFF'S ASSOCIATION, PETITIONER
v.
COMMONWEALTH OF PENNSYLVANIA, PENNSYLVANIA LABOR RELATIONS BOARD, AND COUNTY OF ALLEGHENY, RESPONDENTS

Appeal from the Order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board in case of in The Matter of the Employes of Allegheny County Sheriff's Department, Case No. PF-R-81-68-W.

COUNSEL

Arthur Cutruzzula, Balzarini, Carey & Maurizi, for petitioner.

James L. Crawford, with him, Ellis H. Katz, for respondent, Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board.

Ira Weiss, Deputy County Solicitor, with him, James L. McLean, County Solicitor, for respondent, County of Allegheny.

President Judge Crumlish, Jr., Judges Craig, MacPhail, Doyle, Barry, Colins and Palladino. Opinion by President Judge Crumlish, Jr. Judge Barry did not participate in the decision in this case.

Author: Crumlish

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 133]

The Allegheny County Deputy Sheriff's Association (Association) petitioned for investigation and certification of representatives under the Act of June 24, 1968 (Act 111).*fn1 The Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board (Board) dismissed this petition. The Association appeals;*fn2 we affirm.

The Association's bargaining unit is comprised of approximately 102 members: thirteen sergeants, five plainclothes detectives and eighty-four uniformed deputies. Presently, they are certified for collective bargaining purposes under the Public Employe Relations Act (Act 195).*fn3 The present petition seeks certification

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 134]

    under Act 111, which governs collective bargaining between policemen and firemen and their public employers.*fn4

We must determine whether any changes have occurred since our decision in Venneri v. County of Allegheny, 12 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 517, 316 A.2d 120 (1974) (Venneri II), which would alter our conclusion there that the deputy sheriffs are not policemen for purposes of Act 111.*fn5 In Venneri II we held that, although the deputy sheriffs' duties encompassed many activities normally performed by police, their primary duties were directly related to the operation of the Allegheny County courts. Id.

The sheriff's office has continued to perform the same police-type functions. These include plainclothes investigatory work; patrol of the County's public transit system; replacing absent police officers to augment the police force; and providing security for V.I.P.'s in Allegheny County. However, the record also indicates that the deputy sheriffs have maintained their traditional status as an arm of the Allegheny County judicial system, implementing various court-related processes.*fn6

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 135]

Since Venneri II the only other duties have involved the institution of public safety programs,*fn7 undercover work with a drug enforcement task force connected with the Federal Drug Enforcement Administration for approximately four years*fn8 and undercover work with a related homicide investigative unit.*fn9 We hold that these new responsibilities are not sufficient in either quality or quantity to justify a conclusion that the deputy sheriffs' status rises to the level of police under Act 111.

We reject the Association's alternative argument that the legislature has in the interim granted general police powers to deputy sheriffs. In particular, it notes Section 10(a) of the Second Class County Code (Code),*fn10 which provides that a deputy sheriff can be "reduced in rank, suspended, furloughed or discharged . . . [for] conduct unbecoming a police officer. . . ." (Emphasis added.) It is well-settled that "[w]hen vesting a group with police powers and duties, the Legislature does so with specificity." Commonwealth v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 64 Pa. Commonwealth Ct. 525, 532, 441 A.2d 470, 475 (1982); aff'd in part, rev'd in part, Commonwealth v. Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, 502 Pa. 7, 463 A.2d 409 (1983). The deputy sheriffs are not specifically vested with police powers and Section 10(a) does not provide this authority. Sections 7*fn11 and 14*fn12 of the

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 136]

Code merely reaffirm the role of deputy sheriffs as court-related officers who may be called upon for limited police support.*fn13 Moreover, the deletion of the last sentence in Section 2(b) of House Bill No. 101, which stated that "all reference to the police force shall be deemed to include the force of deputy sheriffs,"*fn14 clearly indicates that the legislature chose to distinguish deputy sheriffs from policemen.

We reaffirm our decision in Venneri II and conclude that no substantial change has occurred in the duties of the deputy sheriffs since that decision. We hold that they are still essentially court-related personnel and not policemen within the meaning of Act 111.*fn15

[ 95 Pa. Commw. Page 137]

The order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board is affirmed.

Order

The order of the Pennsylvania Labor Relations Board, No. PF-R-81-68-W, dated December 1, 1982, is affirmed.

Judge Barry did not participate in the decision in this case.

Disposition

Affirmed.


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