What is a police collective bargaining agreement (CBA)?

A police CBA is a contract between a state, city, or other governing entity and a police union to establish rights, protections, and provisions for law enforcement officers.

Why do Police CBAs matter?

CBAs can determine a variety of departmental procedures including, but not limited to, the arbitration process, training standards, and the steps to investigate and/or discipline an officer for misconduct. CBAs also establish wages and benefits for police officers.

What topics do Police CBAs cover?

CBAs can cover a variety of topics including, but not limited to, training requirements, legal provisions, investigation procedures, pay and benefits, and standards for hiring and promotions.

What is a Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights (LEOBOR)?

A LEOBOR is a set of legal provisions in state statute that establish the due process rights of police officers during internal misconduct investigations. Provisions in state LEOBORs create a framework within which CBAs operate, especially when it comes to police transparency, discipline, and accountability.

If a requirement or provision is not in a CBA, does that mean it doesn’t exist? Or are there other places in law or policy that govern these types of topics?

Collective bargaining agreements are only one of many places in which policies can be set concerning police officer conduct, investigations, discipline, hiring, qualifications, training, and evaluation. Policies are also set in state law, in local charters and ordinances, and by police departments. If it is indicated here that a topic is not covered by the CBA, that does not mean that the police department or law does not address the topic. It just means that the union is not involved in that policymaking. In fact, the presence of detailed policies on a specific topic within a CBA could indicate that those policies are not being well defined by state or local law or by the police department.

Why isn’t my city showing up in the search?

Ballotpedia’s analysis of state and city police union CBAs includes the top 100 cities by population and Washington, D.C. If a city does not show up in the search, it is because it did not meet the criteria for Ballotpedia’s analysis. It could also mean you have selected search criteria that filter out your city from results, and you need to adjust or widen your search.

Why aren’t any cities listed in my state?

Ballotpedia’s analysis of state and city police union CBAs includes the top 100 cities by population and Washington, D.C. If there aren’t any cities listed in a state, it is because no cities in that state met the criteria for Ballotpedia’s analysis. The “State” browse option allows users to select a state and details about the statewide CBA agreed to by the state and the union representing state-level law enforcement officers. This function will not yield information about cities within a state. Use the “Cities” browse function to view CBAs by city.

Why did Ballotpedia answer these specific questions about CBAs?

Ballotpedia developed a series of landscape questions aimed at gaining insight into the varied state and local approaches to police discipline, accountability, and transparency across the country. These questions seek to allow readers to understand the role of police CBAs in the following areas: CBA basics; community relations and oversight; discipline and accountability; evidence and records; investigations; legal limitations and provisions; qualifications and evaluation; training and counseling; and union authority.

Glossary of terms, definitions, and acronyms

Click here to watch a video walkthrough of how to use the CBA Dashboard tool