The consensus from everyone is that we are all happy to see 2021. 2020 was a challenging year, and to be quite frank, the past three years have been challenging. When I came to the LVPPA, I really wanted to make a difference for our officers. I can honestly say that the good that I have done far outweighs any negative connotation someone may have about the work that we do. Our battle began with the previous contract negotiation. We were aggressive in negotiating a suitable deal for our officers, as the consensus from our members was to be aggressive.
I watched as our team worked countless hours, and we had a great team set up to oversee the process. The Department refused our request, and we went to arbitration. We were asking for 3.75%, and the Department offered 2.25%. Unfortunately, the arbitrator sided with the Department. My thought process was, “Well, at least we are still getting a raise, so it was not a loss.”
I was shocked at the people who were angry and making accusations that the LVPPA did not fight hard enough. Unfortunately, we had a few people spearheading an effort to convince our members to leave the LVPPA. I was contacted by a member of the Board of Directors, and he informed me that he was contacted and told to spread the word to the patrol side that everyone was leaving the PPA and joining another organization. Unfortunately, a few people listened to those people and left their collective bargaining unit. Now, over two years later, we are beginning to see the fallout from this action. We are beginning to see non-members get into critical incidents and have no representation.
It is so easy for someone to leave the PPA when they are not making arrests or are at risk of having suspect contact. We receive numerous phone calls from non-members who are facing discipline or trying to get their time back due to being quarantined. Unfortunately, we cannot help non-members. I had a guy tell me that he was a member for six years and never used the PPA. I reminded him that while he never utilized the PPA in an internal investigation, he has received the benefit of the LVPPA negotiating his contract. In other words, how do you think you received a $1,750 clothing allowance? This is a benefit we negotiated.
I was recently contacted by a non-member. I have known this guy for about four years. He is facing an SOC, and I asked him why he had decided to quit the PPA. He stated that he listened to some disgruntled officers and basically followed the crowd. In this day and age, we really need to stick together. There are too many opportunities for trouble to land at your feet. I put my trust when I began this job some 21 years ago in the representation of the LVPPA. I have had my share of scrapes and dings along the way, but I have always had my collective bargaining unit on my side.
Our system is unique — we are allowed to negotiate, discuss and even argue discipline. I was recently made aware that a captain on this Department was not happy with the way our jobs are being conducted and that maybe my partner and myself needed to return to CCDC for a refresher. So, I guess the captain feels that he should make the decision as to who should represent our members. I have always been interested in helping our members, and it is a good thing I can do this without the threat of someone who is not a member just not liking the fact that we cannot be controlled by them. My point is that this is your career, so ensure that you protect it and the rights you are afforded. Do not allow some big mouth or know-it-all person to dictate how you choose to protect yourself. I recently spoke to a good friend of mine who was promoted. I have no doubt that he will make a great leader and will be fair and honest with his people. Unfortunately, there are some people who achieve rank and are ill-equipped to use it. To quote one of my favorite authors, “The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places.”