The membership of the LVPPA is at an all-time high. We have made it our mission to reach out to those non-members and attempt to understand why he or she is not a member of their collective bargaining unit. The membership numbers are well over 90%, and we make every effort to reach out and include all commissioned personnel in various events.
I had a non-member approach me one day and state, “I can’t give y’all my money.” I asked him why he chose not to be a member because I figured this reasonably intelligent person would have an intelligent explanation. Unfortunately, he just reiterated his statement. At this point, I realized I was dealing with someone who makes excuses and does not attempt to learn more than what he or she has heard in the locker room.
A few years ago, when we did not win arbitration after our contract negotiation, there was a push from a group of people to have everyone leave the LVPPA. I watched people pass out drop applications, and spread rhetoric and lies. Our membership dipped down to 78%. One person, in particular, was someone who, when they were in trouble, called me constantly, and we were able to save this person’s career on more than one occasion. We continued to do our job and about 80% of the people who left returned to the LVPPA.
Since we all benefit from collective bargaining and the pay and benefits that are negotiated by the LVPPA supports everyone, why would anyone not want to be a part of their own collective bargaining unit? The LVPPA sponsors numerous events for our members, such as Trunk or Treat, Easter, Santa Day and, recently, we brought the Police vs. Fire football game back to life.
In short, we attempt a lot of different events to ensure we can touch as many members as possible. At a recent event, I observed a non-member show up who just happened to be related to a member. This non-member has done nothing but bad-mouth and criticize the LVPPA but now has the nerve to attend our event. I like to call those actions nothing short of hypocritical. I recently received a call from a non-member because they were going to internal affairs as a subject. I advised this officer to contact their representative, and he stated to me, “I don’t need a rep, I just wanted some advice on what to expect.” I abruptly ended the call and did not give it a second thought.
My biggest concern is that an officer is investigated and takes advice from some sergeant or lieutenant, and they get themselves in trouble because they took some bad advice.
I warn all of our members not to take advice from some sergeant or lieutenant. Just because they have been promoted does not mean they can navigate their way through a complaint. I see a few sergeants posting negative comments about the LVPPA, and I find it odd that they do not come to any member of the Executive Board with their comments. Just a friendly warning to all officers: Be careful of the sheep because sometimes, it’s a wolf in disguise.
To sum it up, the LVPPA has the best interest of its members at heart. We will always put the needs of our members first. If you call me at 2:00 in the morning, there is a 99% chance I will answer the phone and walk you through what to do or come to your location to help with a situation. A wise man once said to me, “If you have to walk in darkness, choose a companion wisely.”