Serving Our Membership

Myron Hamm
Myron Hamm
Director of Corrections

In the past year, I have been to Internal Affairs, CIRT, FIT, meetings with supervisors and advised countless members involving matters pertaining to their careers.

I recently received a phone call from an officer who was seeking advice about a disciplinary matter he became involved in. This individual had resigned his membership with the LVPPA about four years ago. I spoke to him when he resigned to inquire as to why he was discontinuing his membership, and he stated that he did not need representation because he never gets in trouble, and it is a waste of money. During our phone call, I reminded him that he was not a member and that I was not obligated to assist him with his current situation. I also reminded him about our conversation four years ago and that he made a choice to not be a member. I wished him luck and told him he could look up the fees we charge for nonmember representation and contact the office staff to set up an appointment.

Unfortunately, this is a very common occurrence, and I have heard numerous reasons from people as to why they choose not to be members of the LVPPA. Recently, I had a nonmember tell me that the dues are too expensive, and he could not afford it. Shortly after, he was suspended from working overtime and came to us for help. His partner, a member, was suspended as well, but we were able to reduce his time and get him reinstated. Sadly, we did not make the same negotiations for the nonmember.

When we are on a critical incident scene at CCDC or on the street, the same rules apply. We are only serving our members. I have been on critical incident scenes at CCDC and been in a room with four officers, and if one of the four is not a member, I politely tell him/her that we are not representing him/her, and I separate them from my members.

Imagine working patrol or a specialty unit and you use deadly force and are forced to take a life. The LVPPA is going to get a call and our team will assemble. Within 45 minutes, an Executive Board member or two will arrive on the scene. Within the hour, our callout vehicle (equipped with a restroom) will arrive, and we provide a safe and private area to explain the process. We generally provide food for the entire scene and allow the involved persons time to decompress and speak with their attorney. These scenes can last 10-plus hours, and this is only the beginning. The process is meticulous and tedious; you will be given a urinalysis, and at some point, you will have to explain all your actions. Our Board is well trained on handling and dealing with all questions, and we ensure that you are always represented by our attorney.

Now imagine you are a nonmember on this scene. You have used some form of deadly force and taken a life, or have been attacked by an inmate at CCDC and, during the struggle, used deadly force causing the inmate to expire. Will you have any clue how to navigate this situation? Who will represent you, and are they versed in how this process works?

The services provided by the LVPPA are more than just representation in critical incidents; we also handle and guide members through the CAT leave process if needed. When you get that call from Internal Affairs, and they admonish you that you are a witness during an incident, and you show up to this interview without a representative, you go from being a witness to a subject. Just $39 per paycheck is a small amount to pay for the peace of mind in having an experienced representative looking out for your rights.

An officer who recently left the PPA informed me that he/she is covered by the contract, so why should they pay dues since we have to represent them regardless. They are correct that they are covered, but we are not obligated to represent them in an incident. I had a member contact me because they have a friend who is under investigation and has been placed on admin leave. As it turns out, the friend is not a member but is now asking a member to ask the LVPPA for help. The member reminded me that the nonmember is still an officer and the union should help them out. I reminded the member about being fair to our members who pay their dues, and each person has to decide what their career means to them.

I will always be available for our members; I will always be available to answer questions and guide our members through their career path. I have to concern myself with our 3,500 members, not the ones who choose not to be a member. A wise man once said, “It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.”