Would you ever consider driving without insurance? How smart would it be to own something and not take the steps to ensure it is protected? Banks insure your money, and we pay insurance on our homes for occurrences such as floods, earthquakes and fires. We even insure our lives to ensure our families are taken care of in the event of an untimely passing. People will purchase warranties and insurance on appliances, electronic devices and property.
When I began my career with the LVMPD over 20 years ago, I had a co-worker tell me to make sure I protect my career. He said, “I expect 20 years from now for you to tell some new, young officer the same thing I am telling you.” I soon learned that he was giving me sound advice because just a month past field training, I received a phone call from a detective who stated he was with Internal Affairs. He read me a notice and informed me that I was the subject of an internal investigation arising from a suspect complaining about my actions during an arrest. He stated that I was being admonished and could speak to no one about this except my representative. I don’t mind saying I was visibly shaken; the detective told me I would have to answer questions under the threat of termination. I think I slept about two hours that night. I was scared.
The next morning, I received a phone call from an officer stating he would be my representative. We met for breakfast and he went over the policy and procedure pertaining to the investigation process. He assured me I would not be alone and that he would get me through the entire process. I had a million questions and he answered them all. I found out he was just like me and had gone through the Academy a few years prior to me. I mentioned that my partner was under investigation and asked if he would be representing him as well. He said no and informed me that my partner had chosen not to be a member of the LVPPA.
My interview came and my representative met me there. It only lasted about 20 minutes. My partner had his interview a day before mine and elected to attend with a friend who had never been a representative before or had any formal training. During the course of his interview, he made a statement that caused another allegation to arise from a different circumstance. Upon learning this, I was relieved to have my representative, and the $60 I was paying monthly seemed like a bargain.
Fast forward to today and I am now the representative, and it is funny how things don’t change. I have been on numerous scenes where an officer had to use deadly force and I have had the displeasure of telling nonmembers of the LVPPA that we could not represent them. Imagine pulling the trigger or utilizing force that results in death and you are now the subject of intense scrutiny and second guessing. The LVPPA employs lawyers and representatives to ensure your career is protected. I have heard many people state, “I will never get in trouble, so why should I pay for nothing?” Just like the insurance on your home or car, you should consider the LVPPA as your lifeline in case the inevitable happens.