From our time as a child, we have been taught by our parents about wants and needs. Now we can see as adults, parents and police officers in hindsight that we blur the lines of wants and needs all too often. A need is something thought to be a necessity or essential item required for life. Examples include food, water and shelter (to my children, they would say Wi-Fi, a cell phone and anything else kids these days “need”). A want is something unnecessary but desired, or items that increase the quality of living.
For some examples of needs, we can turn to the renowned 20th-century psychologist Abraham Maslow and his theory of the hierarchy of needs (tinyurl.com/bdh8dc9y). According to Maslow, human needs can be grouped into five categories, with some more essential than others. The most basic of these are “physiological” needs — food, clothing, shelter and health. A common question we always ask new officers upon graduation day from the Academy is, “Who went out and bought a new truck?” Without fail, you will have at least one new officer raising their hand or classmates pointing them out. Without a doubt, transportation is 100% a true need. However, is the $70,000 lifted truck a need or a want? And as a young, new officer and I can safely say, even very senior officers are overlooking several needs that benefit themselves and their families into the future.
As an LVMPD police officer, we make a very good living doing a profession we love, while striving to serve our community. Our profession is very mentally and physically taxing and often thankless and overlooked until we are needed. Through the collective bargaining process throughout the years and into the future, the LVPPA has made it a priority to ensure members receive the highest pay and benefits possible. With each contract negotiation meeting and session, the goal is to give the most pensionable money to our members. Through the negotiations and pay raises, our members are able to acquire their wants and needs that they have established.
There are three forgotten or overlooked needs that I believe officers fail to acquire for themselves and/or their family. The first is life insurance. Year to date, there have been 192 officers killed in the line of duty in 2022. Those officers have left behind families and loved ones who depend on their incomes and the love they provided.
Yes, agencies provide financial compensation to the fallen officers families, as well as the federal government through PSOB. However, there is a large gap that has to be filled financially for those left behind. Life insurance can be fairly inexpensive if the policy is acquired at a younger age. As we age and develop health issues, policies may become more expensive and harder to obtain. Life insurance can be acquired through numerous options and payouts. Bill Rohac, who is a former LVMPD police officer, operates NLS Insurance and manages your life insurance policy as a LVPPA member. The group LVPPA policy pays your beneficiary $10,000 upon your death, and $30,000 if you are killed in the line of duty. LVMPD has the same policy for each employee as well. I strongly urge you to contact an insurance provider and look into a life insurance product to help support your family and those who may be left behind should you pass away.
Next, I would like to remind you of the deferred compensation program. This program allows you to differ a portion of your pay to be invested in Fidelity benefits of your choosing. The differed portion is taken pre-tax and invested in whatever risk level or stock options you choose. By federal tax laws, you may place up to $20,500 in your deferred compensation plan. Upon retirement, you can withdraw money from your account after it is taxed. During your employment, you have the option to borrow against your plan and draw 50% of your account or a maximum value of $50,000. Again, you may choose this option or invest in whatever form you wish to allow you to have extra income available upon retirement.
The last forgotten need I believe is an accident insurance plan similar to those offered by AFLAC and Spectrum Insurance. There are several companies offering these plans, as well as other supplemental plans. All too often, after an officer is injured on duty, we ask them about their supplemental insurance coverage and what levels they may have to ensure the proper documentation is submitted. And unfortunately, they do not have a plan. And just when you think it couldn’t be worse, the frustration of dealing with our workers’ compensation group sets in. With most of these plans, your family members can be added for minimal expense.
In closing, please protect yourself and invest in yourself. Have a great upcoming holiday season. We are always available 24/7 for you. Be safe, and thank you for your membership.