If the President Fails, the Country Fails

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

In 2015, I, along with other Executive Board members, was in Washington, D.C., for the Top Cops award ceremony. It was the first time I had ever attended the ceremony, and did not know what to expect. The ceremony was really interesting. Several stories of heroic officers across the country doing what heroes do every day. The ceremony included a guest speaker, who I really did not know. The man, an older guy in a nice suit, was speaking the praises of law enforcement and his unwavering support for the police. This man was a really good speaker and showed passion and enthusiasm for police. I learned later that the man was actually part of the Obama administration. It was rather shocking to hear someone speaking so highly of police when the administration back then didn’t appear to be pro-law-enforcement due to all the consent decrees across the country, as well as the taking of equipment from police. But this man gave some hope about someone in the administration who was pro-police. When he was done speaking, the entire room stood and applauded, and I said to Bryan Yant, “I could see that guy being president one day.” 

It turned out this man was the newly elected president, Joe Biden.

I look back on the speech that Joe Biden gave then, and I hope that somewhere deep down inside of him, that man is still in there. From a lot of the things we have heard, it doesn’t sound like supporting and assisting law enforcement is at the forefront of the new administration, but only time will tell.

Why do I bring up a positive speech about law enforcement from the winning candidate who we did not support? Simple, because we need to continue to move on and move forward. The president of the United States will change party to party many times over the life of the office. Sometimes, it will be a Democrat, and sometimes it will be a Republican. Heck, the smaller parties at some point could gain steam and put a candidate in the Oval Office. No matter who sits at the Resolute Desk, police work will continue and will always be a constant. No one in law enforcement can lose sight of what we are doing and why we are doing it. No one became a police officer because of who sits in the White House. 

Did I want Donald Trump to win? Yes. Why? Because he showed unwavering support for law enforcement. In a time when people across the country were calling to “defund the police” and “strip away officers’ rights,” President Trump stood by us and said, “No, we need our police. Don’t be caught up in the rhetoric that all cops are bad.” But the support I gave to President Trump is support I could give to President Biden. All he needs to do is stand by our profession, outwardly and vocally. If he was the same man who gave that amazing speech, we would stand with him. 

Regardless of who is our president, all of our officers need to just continue forward. Being a police officer is a non-partisan position. When we arrive on calls, our first questions aren’t “Are you hurt? Where is the bad guy? Are you Republican or Democrat?” Party lines are not a police officer’s concern. We concern ourselves with serving others and helping those who are not able to help themselves. The badge doesn’t have a donkey or an elephant engraved on it. Even our Sheriff runs on a non-partisan platform. And it needs to be that way. As I do not believe police officers have racism in their hearts and do not police communities or people based on racism, I also do not believe a police officer would or would not serve a citizen based on their political affiliation. 

By the time this magazine releases, the Nevada Legislature session will be in full swing, and we will be potentially dealing with different levels of police reforms. We will see that legislation is often not about what is best for the state, rather what is best for the party. The LVPPA will be up at the session fighting any attacks on our profession and attempting to pass a few small, but important additions to your heart and lung and PTSD cases. Some of the legislators, making decisions on how police work should be done, will be passing laws without input from real police officers and listening to their own parties or caucuses about what changes need to happen. And almost every single person making these decisions will have never in their life put on a uniform and gone out and done the job of a police officer. But this is the system we have to deal with, and we know the game we have to play. 

But as I said above, do not let the “why” you became a police officer change because rules to the job may change. Even at the level of the president of the United States, do not let that person change your “why.” Stay constant in the need to help the citizens of the state and the joy you feel when you are able to help a victim.

This story opened with the topic of the president speaking at a Top Cops award ceremony back in 2015 and how the PPA supported President Trump. President Trump lost. We need to accept it and work to move in a positive direction for our country, our state and our city. There is something I will continue to live by, and it is more important now than ever: 

“I am not supporting the person sitting in the president’s chair at the White House. I am supporting the position of the president because if that position fails, we all fail. We must hope for the success of our president, no matter their party affiliation. This can only be done through fair legislation and bipartisan cooperation. Through this, our country will continue to be great.”

I would like to thank President Trump for his four years as president. That is not an easy job, and anyone assuming that position should be thanked. Thank you, also, for your continued support of law enforcement.

I would like to wish President Biden good luck in undertaking the office of the president. Because, as I said, if he fails, the country fails. Have a safe and healthy 2021 to all of the members of the LVPPA, as well as everyone in the law enforcement community across the country.

What Will 2021 Have in Store for the PPA?

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

I wanted to open 2021 with some of the events and issues that the LVPPA will be facing this coming year. 

February 1 will start the 2021 legislative session. Scott Nicholas and I will be the primary representatives at the session for the PPA, with John acting as a third arm of our approach to the session. Scott and I will be splitting the week so that one of us is always at the session and the other is still here in Vegas handling the day-to-day operations of the PPA. John will come up on occasion to fill in for Scott and me when schedules demand us both to be home. We will be hoping to pass some additions to legislation, along with fire, to increase some Heart and Lung issues as well as some PTSD issues. I assume we will also be facing several issues related to police reform. Some of the intel we are getting is that there will be more attacks on our profession, and we will be focusing our time at the session on defending against those attempts.

The PPA will also have contract negotiations for LVMPD and the City Marshals/Court Marshals group. As we are all aware, we will be dealing with the impact of COVID-19 on our economy. We will also work diligently on finding all available money, if there is any to be found, and making sure we keep our officers well compensated. These negotiations are not like our normal negotiations in the manner that we will only bargain COLA, health insurance and clothing allowance. These negotiations will be for the last two years of the current contract that we have with LVMPD. Our brothers and sisters at the City will see us undergo a total contract negotiation, as we have been working outside of contract for several months.

The PPA will also be actively negotiating all the issues surrounding COVID-19. I am hopeful that we will come to an agreed-upon resolution, but we stand ready to take the issues to an arbitrator for a final decision. Hopefully, our country begins to move toward a day where we do not need masks, social distancing or other requirements. Until then, make sure you all take care of yourselves and your family.

We also hope to be able to get back to our normal events for our members. 2020 took a toll on us all and trying to bring back the fun and entertaining things we used to do is a priority for the PPA. 

As every year does, we will have plenty of fights and issues come up that we cannot prepare for. But, as usual, whenever these issues arise, we are always ready to bring the fight to anyone that we need to. 

Thank you all for your continued membership and trust in the PPA. Have a great year and stay safe.

2020 in Review

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

Thank goodness we are almost to the end of 2020. Of course, we should always be thankful for any time we are able to have on the right side of the dirt, but my goodness did this year really drain all of us in law enforcement. 

The year started off with a rather uneventful New Year’s Eve. The PPA was out again on the Strip and downtown, supporting our officers with food, hot drinks and energy drinks while they stood guard over all the people in town trying to enjoy the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020. As the calendar turned the page, our country, our state and our city were hit with the pandemic. It didn’t matter if you believed in COVID-19 or not; the effects on our city and economy could not have been more real. As we saw the casinos and businesses close their doors, our men and women stood guard over what seemed like a ghost town. A drive down Las Vegas Boulevard from Sahara to Russell and took barely five minutes. Our officers would now begin worrying, not only about armed suspects intent on hurting them, but also about an unknown perpetrator in the form of an illness that could hit without them even knowing. Several officers would get ill and be out of work. Several officers would be exposed and quarantined but eventually return to work. And then the all-too-real death of one of our brothers, Lieutenant Eric Lloyd, would hit us all like a freight train and remind us again that this illness should be taken seriously. 

Then came the fears of layoffs, loss of pay and a list of issues for all employees at LVMPD. Through many conversations with Sheriff Lombardo, he pledged that not only would no layoffs happen to the commissioned side, but the department would also continue to honor its contractual commitments and still give our officers their pay raises. We were one of the very few groups that still got a raise during this time. Other groups were losing money or at best taking a zero COLA. 

When we thought the worst thing we would deal with was a closed economy, the George Floyd case erupted. Protests, violence and attacks on police ensued. Police officers across the country were working with minimal rest during the protests. Many would be hit with bottles, sticks, rocks, bricks and other weapons. And then, our brother Shay was struck by a bullet while he was out doing his job. A no-good, low-life piece of garbage forever changed that young man and his family’s lives forever. That event also had a deep impact on our agency and agencies across the country. 

It was at this point that our own local politicians started looking at law enforcement. But not in a way to help us. Not in a way to hold people more accountable for attacks on police. Rather, a large majority of our politicians were looking at ways to reform police and strip us of our rights that we worked so hard for during the 2019 legislative session. One person in particular, Senate Majority Leader Nicole Cannizzaro, who championed our added protections in 2019, turned out to be the bill sponsor to strip away almost every protection she helped us get in 2019. I had many members reach and to me and say, “Steve, but you supported these very people who are attacking us now!” I have to acknowledge that we in fact did support a lot of the people who were hell-bent on coming after cops during the special sessions. During both sessions, the PPA and members of our Public Safety Alliance were in Carson City, trying to do everything we could to stop some of the attacks. In the end, we were able to make it not as bad as it could have been, but far from what we wanted or deserved. After the session, the PPA was committed to holding those very people we supported accountable. We created a political action campaign to target those who turned their backs on us. Our national group, NAPO, our Public Safety Alliance and the PPA put our support behind candidates who would support officers. We endorsed Donald Trump for president, not because he is a Republican, but because he showed tireless support for the men and women who wear the badge. We had long talks with members of the Republican Party about why we hadn’t supported many in the past and how they could get our support by helping us protect the rights and benefits that we have. We believe that the candidates we have endorsed will uphold the values that we in law enforcement hold dear. There were other law enforcement groups that still supported candidates because they were friendly in the past. Even national candidates who signed on to support bills that diminish police officers’ ability to do their jobs were supported by other groups. But PPA and PSAN, I feel, got behind the candidates that we feel best represent our members. 

We purchased a bigger, more state-of-the-art, higher-occupancy callout vehicle. This vehicle will be used by the PPA for many, many years to come to keep our officers comfortable and relaxed during a time they need it most. I thank our Board of Directors for supporting you all by making these decisions. I am also pleased to say that, with the full support of the Executive Board and Board of Directors, I will be serving another four-year term as your president. The last four years were an honor that I can never fully express, and to have another four years, with the support I have received, lets me know I am doing something right. Thank you all for believing in my vision for the PPA. 

Your Executive Board are the hardest-working people I have ever had the pleasure to work with. The PPA is where it is today because of the hard work and tireless dedication of Scott, Yant, Chad, BG, Hamm, John and Dan. Thank you guys for doing everything you do for our members. I also want to recognize David, Kelly, Laura, Roy, Adella and Kayleen. Without the amazing team we have assembled at the PPA, we wouldn’t be able to do half of what we do now. Thank you all as well. 

To all our members, I know this was a crazy year and I know there are so many more things that I could have mentioned in this article, but with the holidays approaching, remember to take care of yourselves and your families. Your stress because of the job is shared at home by your loved ones. Remember to spend time with them, and hug and kiss your children. Take your spouse or significant other out for a nice evening. This job will always be here. Crime isn’t going away. But the days you are able to spend with your family will fly by. Take a family vacation and make memories with the ones you love. To my girls, Madison, Annabelle, Sophia and Olivia, I love you more than you will ever know. To my wonderful wife, Tiffany, who puts up with every callout, phone call and political event, as well as the times when I am away from the family for several days, I love you. Also, to all the patrol officers, when a dispatcher sends a message to you that says, “Good morning, have a safe shift,” it is my wife. She is an amazing dispatcher, a great wife and an amazing mom.

Merry Christmas to everyone and have a wonderful new year. Stay safe.

The Last Four Years

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

By the time this edition of Vegas Beat is published, it will be about four years since I took over as the president of the LVPPA. When they say “time goes fast,” they mean it. That expression really hit home when I sat down and thought about how quickly these last four years have gone by. I can distinctly remember asking both our Board of Directors and Executive Board at the time for their support. As I look back, everything that our group has accomplished has been such a team effort between the Executive Board and Board of Directors as well as our members.

I can’t say enough how amazing our Executive Board is; their work ethic, drive and commitment to our officers has been and continues to be incredible. Every person who has been on this Executive Board has never batted an eye when I asked them to do more than we have ever done, be available, and plan and participate in our events. I am so proud of where we have been and what we have done. I also need to recognize our office staff. Laura, Roy, Adella and Kayleen constantly deal with changing directions, new tasks and new events along with their normal day-to-day operations. They are the most amazing staff any organization could ask for, and we would not be where we are without them. There is also a huge thank-you that needs to be extended to your elected Board of Directors. For those who may not be aware, the LVPPA is directed and driven by the Board of Directors. They have the ultimate authority over the decisions of both the membership and the Executive Board. They often take a lot of criticism at their respective areas, but they continue to stay committed to the task of representing their area officers. These folks take their role very seriously, and I can tell you they represent you well.

In the last four years, we have had life-altering events (1 October and the protests). We have lost friends and co-workers, and we have been attacked by people who have never put their lives on the line for a human being they have never met. I have been on this agency since 1998 — 22 years — and the evolution of police work is something I don’t think I could have ever contemplated. Every nuance of an officer’s day is dissected, picked apart and Monday-morning quarterbacked in every way possible. Yet, despite this, all of our folks still go out and bust their butts and put their lives on the line for our community, because we all know, in the end, we do this job for the citizens who want to feel safe and secure. We don’t do it for praise or recognition. You have to love police work and helping others to do this job. I have loved this job since the day I started, and as my assignments changed, I continued to love the work we do.

The last four years as the president of the LVPPA have been the most rewarding times in my entire career. I will again ask the membership to support me as president for a second term in October, and I hope, with your support, that we can do even more than we have been able to do over the last four years. Thank you all, and stay safe.

Honesty Pays Off

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

In our time with this Department, we have had many situations where officers have been terminated for various issues. For most of these incidents, the PPA has great arguments to make against termination. In other cases, the facts surrounding the allegations make it nearly impossible for us to fight a case in arbitration. This article is going to focus on “truthfulness required at all times” and “falsifying a legal document or information in CAD.”

As a refresher for all of our members, the newest version of the discipline matrix was a negotiated item that the Department and the PPA worked on, and is considered the ruling law of the land. In the matrix, we have two different examples of truthfulness, and I will cover both.

Matrix letter E — 4/101.19 Truthfulness Required at all Times

Discipline levels for this offense:

First: minor/major/term

Second: minor/major/term

Third: major/term

Fourth: term

These types of offenses for this category would be lying to your supervisor outside of an official IAB investigation.

Matrix letter H — 4/101.19 Truthfulness Required at all Times

Employee formally noticed of official investigations conducted by the Department who is found to be untruthful during the investigations, or who are found to be untruthful in completing official Department documents.

Discipline levels for this offense:

First: termination

I can tell you that the “baby” truthfulness is very rarely applied and very rarely used. More often than not, it is the second truthfulness that we see applied. Some of the confusion relates to the “who are found to be untruthful in completing official Department documents.” Here is a list of things that are, or could be, considered official Department documents:

  • Crime reports
  • DOAs
  • Arrest reports
  • Vehicle impounds
  • Property reports
  • CAD
  • Cell check logs

These are the most common documents that officers have put false information on. I want to make clear how a few of these could be the major truthfulness.

CAD: calling out a stop that did not occur. Putting yourself out at lunch at one location, but actually being at another. Saying you are en route to lunch, but you’re actually already sitting inside eating to extend your lunch hour. Putting in CAD notes that are false.

At CCDC, the biggest issue we see is when an officer writes on the log that they did their checks, but video shows they actually did not do the check.

These issues may sound small and petty, but the Department views it as major levels of truthfulness and has attempted and/or succeeded in firing officers.

The biggest thing I want to impress upon our officers in this article is this: be honest. If it is your lunch hour and you are at someone’s house having “lunch,” just put that address! If someone finds out you were doing more than eating, odds are it will be a low-level discipline, if you’re found to be doing something you should not be doing. But if you put a ghost address and your sergeant goes crawling through the neighborhood to find you checked-out at a different address, then they will try to fire you. If you forgot to do your checks on the modules at CCDC, don’t fabricate the log. Take your lumps or explain why and move on.

The truth is, you have to do some pretty messed up stuff to get fired at this agency. We need all the employees we can. By being honest, you’re far more likely to come out of an incident over being dishonest. Remember, the profession we work in and the city we live in has video running 24 hours a day, and we should always operate under the thought that whatever we are doing has some form of filming tied to it. If we remember that, then we won’t ever think we can do something and get away with it.

I hope this article really helps our membership and aids you in having a long and successful career.

As always, stay safe and healthy.

Our 2019 Fallen Officer Memorial

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

The month of May is dedicated to paying our respects to our fallen law enforcement officers. This year, ceremonies around the country have had to be canceled in an effort to prevent the spread of coronavirus, including all of the National Police Week events in Washington, D.C. But although we cannot gather together with our brothers and sisters right now, we remain united in spirit as we remember the far too many brave and dedicated officers we have lost.

On May 13, there will be a virtual candlelight vigil held online that can be watched from anywhere in the world, during which the names being added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial will be read. Once this crisis has passed and the future becomes more certain, I hope we’ll be able to make up for the events we missed and properly memorialize all those who made the ultimate sacrifice last year. But for now, please review the following list of 146 officers who gave their lives in the line of duty in 2019, honor their names, and keep their families in your thoughts and prayers. These heroes will be forever missed and never forgotten. RIP to all.

2019 Line-of-Duty Deaths*

Master Police Officer
Joseph William Shinners

Provo P.D., UT
EOW: Saturday, January 5, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Dale James Woods

Colerain Township P.D., OH
EOW: Monday, January 7, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Police Officer
Clayton Joel Townsend

Salt River P.D., TR
EOW: Tuesday, January 8, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Police Officer
Chatéri Alyse Payne

Shreveport P.D., LA
EOW: Wednesday, January 9, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Natalie Becky Corona

Davis P.D., CA
EOW: Thursday, January 10, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Trooper
Christopher James Lambert

IL State Police
EOW: Saturday, January 12, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Sergeant
WyTasha Lamar Carter

Birmingham P.D., AL
EOW: Sunday, January 13, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Norman D. Merkel
U.S. Marshals Service
EOW: Wednesday, January 16, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Deputy Sheriff
Ray Elwin Horn III

Comal County S.O., TX
EOW: Thursday, January 17, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Police Officer Kenneth
Xavier Domenech

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Saturday, January 19, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Police Officer
Sean Paul Tuder

Mobile P.D., AL
EOW: Sunday, January 20, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Lieutenant
Robert Earl “Bo” McCallister

Susquehanna Township P.D., PA
EOW: Sunday, January 20, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective Joseph M. Roman
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Monday, January 28, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Joshua Bryan “LJ” Ryer Jr.
Glascock County S.O., GA
EOW: Tuesday, January 29, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Community Supervision Officer Russell Dean Salazar
Kendall County Community Supervision and Corrections Dept., TX
EOW: Thursday, January 31, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Corporal
Shane Michael Totty

Baton Rouge P.D., LA
EOW: Friday, February 1, 2019
Cause: Motorcycle crash

Detective
William Lee Brewer Jr.

Clermont County S.O., OH
EOW: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Border Patrol Agent
Donna Marie Doss

U.S. Border Patrol
EOW: Saturday, February 2, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle 

Trooper Lucas Bartley Dowell
VA State Police

EOW: Monday, February 4, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Matthew John Rittner

Milwaukee P.D., WI
EOW: Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective Brian P. Simonsen
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Tuesday, February 12, 2019
Cause: Gunfire (inadvertent)

Chief of Police
David Paul Hewitt

Rising Sun P.D., IN
EOW: Wednesday, February 13, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Agent Alfred Sanyet-Pérez
Puerto Rico P.D., PR
EOW: Friday, February 15, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sergeant
Steven Gaspare Greco

Miccosukee Tribal P.D., TR
EOW: Saturday, February 16, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Lieutenant
Daniel Duane Hinton

FL Highway Patrol
EOW: Tuesday, February 19, 2019
Cause: Heart attack 

Undersheriff
Monty Thomas Johnson

Pawnee County S.O., OK
EOW: Thursday, February 21, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Sergeant Brian Keith Crain
Jenks P.D., OK
EOW: Saturday, February 23, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Police Officer
Nicholas Scott Galinger

Chattanooga P.D., TN
EOW: Sunday, February 24, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Sergeant Steven Billie Hinkle
Sullivan County S.O., TN
EOW: Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Nathan Hayden Heidelberg

Midland P.D., TX
EOW: Tuesday, March 5, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Jacob Howard Keltner

McHenry County S.O., IL
EOW: Thursday, March 7, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Gregory V. Melita

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Saturday, March 9, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Corporal Daniel H. Groves
CO State Patrol
EOW: Wednesday, March 13, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Detective Philip T. Perry
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, March 14, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Ryan Shane Thompson

Kittitas County S.O., WA
EOW: Tuesday, March 19, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Paul Thomas Rutherford

Phoenix P.D., AZ
EOW: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Police Officer
Michael Edmund Teel

Port Authority of NY and NJ P.D.
EOW: Thursday, March 21, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Peter John Herrera

El Paso County S.O., TX
EOW: Sunday, March 24, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Trooper
Brooke Elizabeth Jones-Story

IL State Police
EOW: Thursday, March 28, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Trooper Gerald Wayne Ellis
IL State Police
EOW: Saturday, March 30, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Detective
Benjamin James Campbell

ME State Police
EOW: Wednesday, April 3, 2019
Cause: Accidental

Deputy Sheriff II
Spencer Allen Englett

Forsyth County S.O., GA
EOW: Thursday, April 4, 2019
Cause: Duty-related illness

Sergeant
Steven Lawrence Licon

CA Highway Patrol
EOW: Saturday, April 6, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Staff Sergeant
Bryan U. McCoy

NJ State Police
EOW: Saturday, April 6, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Detective Charles James Humphry
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Wednesday, April 10, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Justin Richard DeRosier

Cowlitz County S.O., WA
EOW: Sunday, April 14, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Kyle David Olinger

Montgomery County P.D., MD
EOW: Thursday, April 18, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Conservation Officer
Eugene Herman Wynn Jr.

MN Dept. of Natural Resources — Enforcement Division
EOW: Friday, April 19, 2019
Cause: Drowned

Lieutenant
Phillip E. Panzarella

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, April 25, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Special Agent in Charge
Liquat Ali “Leo” Khan

U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division
EOW: Tuesday, April 30, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Police Officer
Patrick Thomas McGovern

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, May 2, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

K9 Officer
Jordan Harris Sheldon

Mooresville P.D., NC
EOW: Saturday, May 4, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Robert Stanton McKeithen

Biloxi P.D., MS
EOW: Sunday, May 5, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer Anthony Neri
Sanibel P.D., FL
EOW: Monday, May 6, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Trooper Matthew Elias Gatti
TN Highway Patrol
EOW: Monday, May 6, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Constable
Willie Houston “Hoot” West

Lowndes County Constable’s
Office, MS
EOW: Thursday, May 9, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Sergeant
Kelvin Bernard Ansari

Savannah P.D., GA
EOW: Saturday, May 11, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
William Ray Buechner Jr.

Auburn P.D., AL
EOW: Sunday, May 19, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer Jesus Abner Marrero-Martínez
Manatí Municipal P.D., PR
EOW: Saturday, May 25, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Keith A. Ferrara

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Wednesday, May 29, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Lieutenant Joseph P. Johnson
Seminole P.D., TR
EOW: Thursday, May 30, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Lieutenant
Steven Dewayne Whitstine

East Baton Rouge Parish S.O., LA
EOW: Thursday, May 30, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Police Officer James B. Boyle
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Friday, May 31, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Chief of Police
Wayne Mark Neidenberg

Lakeshire P.D., MO
EOW: Thursday, June 6, 2019
Cause: Heart attack


Police Officer
William James Leahy

Port Authority of NY and NJ P.D.
EOW: Thursday, June 6, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Police Officer
Albert Ramirez Castaneda Jr.

Grand Prairie P.D., TX
EOW: Friday, June 7, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Police Officer
Esmeralda Ponce Ramirez

Los Angeles P.D., CA
EOW: Sunday, June 9, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Sergeant
David Jones Fitzpatrick

The Colony P.D., TX
EOW: Monday, June 10, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Deputy Sheriff
Julius Jamal “Jay” Dailey

Monroe County S.O., AL
EOW: Tuesday, June 11, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Police Officer
Steven James Brown

Port St. Lucie P.D., FL
EOW: Wednesday, June 12, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Master Trooper
William James Modén

CO State Patrol
EOW: Friday, June 14, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Patrol Officer
John David Hetland

Racine P.D., WI
EOW: Monday, June 17, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Tara Christina O’Sullivan

Sacramento P.D., CA
EOW: Wednesday, June 19, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Trooper Jerry Louis Smith Jr.
NE State Patrol
EOW: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Corporal
Jose Luis “Speedy” Espericueta Jr.

Mission P.D., TX
EOW: Thursday, June 20, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer
Michael Vincent Langsdorf

North County Police Cooperative, MO
EOW: Sunday, June 23, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Troy Phillip Chisum

Fulton County S.O., IL
EOW: Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective Andrea Renee Jacqueline Rainer
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Tuesday, June 25, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Detective
Luis Gustavo Alvarez

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Saturday, June 29, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Carlos Aaron
Ramirez
Kendall County S.O., TX
EOW: Tuesday, July 2, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Deputy Jailer
Michaela Elizabeth Smith

Murray County S.O., GA
EOW: Wednesday, July 3, 2019
Cause: Training accident

Police Officer
John Ralph Anderson IV

Metro Nashville P.D., TN
EOW: Thursday, July 4, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Conservation Officer Shannon Lee “Opie” Barron
Red Lake Nation Conservation Dept., TR
EOW: Sunday, July 7, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Deputy Sheriff
Nicolas Blane Dixon

Hall County S.O., GA
EOW: Monday, July 8, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sergeant
Michael David Stephen Sr.

Stone County S.O., AR
EOW: Thursday, July 18, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective
Christopher Cranston

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Saturday, July 20, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Deputy Sheriff
Benjamin Ryan Nimtz

Broward County S.O., FL
EOW: Sunday, July 21, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Detective Thomas Santoro
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Sunday, July 21, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Police Officer Juan Jose Diaz
Los Angeles P.D., CA
EOW: Saturday, July 27, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective
James Joseph Biello

Atlanta P.D., GA
EOW: Sunday, July 28, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Correctional Officer Pedro Joel Rodríguez-Mateo
PR Dept. of Corrections and Rehabilitation
EOW: Thursday, August 1, 2019
Cause: Assault

Police Officer
Raymond Harris

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Sunday, August 4, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Detective April Eleanor Bird
Asbury Park P.D., NJ
EOW: Monday, August 5, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Correctional Administrator Debra Kay Porter-Johnson
TN Dept. of Correction
EOW: Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Cause: Assault

Sergeant Jeffrey M. Cicora
NY State Police
EOW: Saturday, August 10, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Officer
Andre Maurice Moye Jr.

CA Highway Patrol
EOW: Monday, August 12, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Stephanie Jean Schreurs

Lyon County S.O., IA
EOW: Tuesday, August 13, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Deputy Sheriff
Carlos J. Cammon

Orange County S.D., CA
EOW: Friday, August 23, 2019
Cause: Duty-related illness

Trooper
Nicholas John Hopkins

IL State Police
EOW: Friday, August 23, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Jose Luis Blancarte

Kinney County S.O., TX
EOW: Friday, August 23, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Trooper Moises Sanchez
TX Highway Patrol
EOW: Saturday, August 24, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Jeremy Allen Voyles

Chickasaw County S.D., MS
EOW: Wednesday, August 28, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Undersheriff
Stephen B. McLoud

Cayuga County S.O., NY
EOW: Thursday, August 29, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Detective Joseph Paolillo
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Monday, September 9, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Investigator Dornell Cousette
Tuscaloosa P.D., AL
EOW: Monday, September 16, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Police Officer Derrick Bishop
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, September 19, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Captain Vincent Nat Liberto Jr.
Mandeville P.D., LA
EOW: Friday, September 20, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Christopher Michael Hulsey

Meade County S.O., KY
EOW: Saturday, September 21, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Sergeant Tracy Leslie Vickers
FL Highway Patrol
EOW: Friday, September 27, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Deputy Sheriff
Sandeep Singh Dhaliwal

Harris County S.O., TX
EOW: Friday, September 27, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective
Brian Charles Mulkeen

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Sunday, September 29, 2019
Cause: Gunfire (Inadvertent

Border Patrol Agent
Robert Mark Hotten

U.S. Border Patrol
EOW: Sunday, October 6, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Trooper Peter Richard Stephan
IN State Police
EOW: Friday, October 11, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Deputy Sheriff
Matthew Ryan Jones

Falls County S.O., TX
EOW: Friday, October 11, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Captain
Albert E. Torres

Los Angeles Dept. of Recreation and Parks, CA
EOW: Saturday, October 12, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Deputy Sheriff
Jacob Otto Allmendinger

Gallatin County S.O., MT
EOW: Saturday, October 19, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Deputy Sheriff
Brian David Ishmael

El Dorado County S.O., CA
EOW: Wednesday, October 23, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detention Officer
Gene Wade Lee

Maricopa County S.O., AZ
EOW: Wednesday, October 30, 2019
Cause: Assault

Sergeant
Joseph Brian Montijo

Chattanooga P.D., TN
EOW: Friday, November 1, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Police Officer
Elmer Jonathan Diaz

Lemoore P.D., CA
EOW: Saturday, November 2, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Interim Police Chief
Michael Franklin Knapp

Lynden P.D., WA
EOW: Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Detective Jorge Rene DelRio
Dayton P.D., OH
EOW: Thursday, November 7, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Sheriff
Makeem Rictrell Brooks

Northampton County S.O., NC
EOW: Thursday, November 14, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Deputy Sheriff
Stephen Michael Reece

Cheatham County S.O., TN
EOW: Friday, November 15, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Investigator
Cecil Dwayne Ridley

Richmond County Sheriff’s Office, GA
EOW: Tuesday, November 19, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sergeant
Rasheen Phillipe McClain

Detroit P.D., MI
EOW: Wednesday, November 20, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sheriff
John Arthur “Big John” Williams Sr.

Lowndes County S.O., AL
EOW: Saturday, November 23,
2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective
Maureen M. O’Flaherty

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, November 28, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Master-at-Arms
Oscar J. Temores

U.S. Navy Security Forces
EOW: Saturday, November 30, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Sergeant Joshua Eli Voth
CO Dept. of Corrections
EOW: Wednesday, December 4, 2019
Cause: Explosion

Agent Billy Fred Clardy III
Huntsville P.D., AL
EOW: Friday, December 6, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Deputy Chief
Vincent A. DeMarino

New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Friday, December 6, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Police Officer
Stephen Paul Carr

Fayetteville P.D., AR
EOW: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sergeant
Christopher Charles
Lewis Brewster

Houston P.D., TX
EOW: Saturday, December 7, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Detective Joseph Alan Seals
Jersey City P.D., NJ
EOW: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Cause: Gunfire

Sergeant Kaila Marie Sullivan
Nassau Bay P.D., TX
EOW: Tuesday, December 10, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Constable
Eula Ray “Raye” Hawkins

Panola County Constable’s Office, MS
EOW: Thursday, December 12, 2019
Cause: Vehicle pursuit

Chief Deputy
Bobby Wayne Jacobs

Knott County S.O., KY
EOW: Monday, December 16, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Private First Class
Michael Shawn Latu

Marion County S.O., SC
EOW: Tuesday, December 17, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Sergeant Scott Johnston
New York City P.D., NY
EOW: Thursday, December 19, 2019
Cause: 9/11-related illness

Police Officer
Jose Humberto Meza

Burnet P.D., TX
EOW: Friday, December 20, 2019
Cause: Heart attack

Detective Clifton
John Martinez

San Antonio Independent School District P.D., TX
EOW: Saturday, December 21, 2019
Cause: Vehicular assault

Deputy Sheriff
Bryan Charles Pfluger

San Jacinto County S.O., TX
EOW: Saturday, December 21, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Deputy Sheriff
Cooper Andrew Dyson

Pierce County S.D., WA
EOW: Saturday, December 21, 2019
Cause: Automobile crash

Master Patrol Officer
Spencer Daniel Bristol

Hendersonville P.D., TN
EOW: Monday, December 30, 2019
Cause: Struck by vehicle

Deputy Sheriff
William Christopher Dickerson

Panola County S.O., TX
EOW: Tuesday, December 31, 2019
Cause: Gunfire  

Know Your Rights

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

I wanted to take the opportunity to educate many of our officers on their rights as it relates to their employment with the LVMPD. The LVPPA has gone to great lengths to enhance the rights of police officers. A large number of these changes may not even be known to your supervision. Below is a list of the rights you have that we added during the 2019 legislative session.

Chapter 289 of NRS is hereby amended by adding thereto a new section to read as follows: If a law enforcement agency suspends a peace officer without pay pending the outcome of a criminal prosecution, the law enforcement agency shall award the peace officer back pay for the duration of the suspension if the charges against the peace officer are dismissed, the peace officer is found not guilty at trial or the peace officer is not subjected to punitive action in connection with the alleged misconduct.

If a peace officer requests representation while being questioned by a superior officer on any matter that the peace officer reasonably believes could result in punitive action, the questioning must cease immediately and the peace officer must be allowed a reasonable opportunity to arrange for the presence and assistance of a representative before the questioning may resume.

The above section is related to a federal case, NLRB v. Weingarten. We attached the same rights to NRS 289 as in Weingarten. The important factor is if the officer, not the supervisor, believes discipline could arise from the questioning, then you are entitled to a representative.

Except as otherwise provided in this subsection, any statement a peace officer is compelled to make pursuant to this chapter shall not be disclosed or used in a civil case against the peace officer without the consent of the peace officer. Such a statement may be used in an administrative hearing or civil case regarding the employment of the peace officer. In a civil case, the court may review the statement in camera to determine whether the statement is inconsistent with the testimony of the peace officer and release any inconsistent statement to the opposing party for purposes of impeachment.

A law enforcement agency shall not conduct an investigation pursuant to this subsection if the activities of the peace officer occurred more than one year from the date of the filing of a complaint or allegation with the law enforcement agency unless the alleged misconduct would be a crime punishable pursuant to state or federal law.

If the law enforcement agency concludes that the peace officer did not violate a statute, policy, rule or regulation, the law enforcement agency shall not reopen the investigation unless the law enforcement agency discovers new material evidence related to the matter.

Except as otherwise provided in subsection 5, a law enforcement agency shall not reassign a peace officer temporarily or permanently without his or her consent during or pursuant to an investigation conducted pursuant to this section or when there is a hearing relating to such an investigation that is pending.

A law enforcement agency may reassign a peace officer temporarily or permanently without his or her consent during or pursuant to an investigation conducted pursuant to this section or when there is a hearing relating to such an investigation that is pending if the law enforcement agency finds, based on specific facts or circumstances, that reassignment of the peace officer is necessary to maintain the efficient operation of the law enforcement agency.

The law enforcement agency conducting the interview, interrogation or hearing shall allow a representative of the peace officer to inspect the following if related to the investigation and in the possession of the law enforcement agency: physical evidence, audio recordings, photographs and video recordings, and statements made by or attributed to the peace officer.

The above rights are straight out of Senate Bill 242 from the 2019 legislative session. These are very important rights, and you should have them somewhere close to you in case you find yourself in a position where you need to exercise these rights.

If you have any questions regarding these rights, please reach out. Stay safe.

Bylaw 9 — Representation

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

I hope everyone has had a happy, healthy and safe holiday season. I want to focus this article on the topic of representation for members, consistent with the Bylaws. We have members who may be unfamiliar with the rules of representation as it pertains to membership status.

Bylaw 9 — Representation
9.01 Employees shall be entitled to representation in the following situations and forums:

  • Members of the bargaining unit covered by the Las Vegas Police Protective Association-Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department Collective Bargaining Agreement or the bargaining unit covered by the City of Las Vegas and Las Vegas Police Protective Association Metro, Inc. Detention & Enforcement Marshals and Municipal Court Marshals Labor Contract are entitled upon request and assuming the Board finds the matter meritorious, to representation in grievances, appeals and before boards described in the above collective bargaining agreements and in the policy and procedure manuals that cover employees of the above bargaining units whether or not they are dues paying members of this Association.
  • To be entitled to free representation, including legal representation, a member of the above bargaining units must be a dues paying member of the Association at all of the following times:
      • At the time of an incident leading to an investigation
      • At the time the officer is formally notified that an investigation is going to be conducted
      • Throughout the course of the investigation, the resulting discipline and the disciplinary appeal (excluding involuntary leaves without pay such as when placed on administrative leave without pay or during the period of time between termination and arbitration in which an officer would not be paying dues).
      • As to other matters, i.e. contractual disputes, the member of the bargaining unit must be a dues paying member at the time the dispute arose and at the time of the grievance and any resulting appeal.

This portion of the Bylaws is extremely important. What this says, in a nutshell, is that you must be a member when an incident occurred, a member when the interview occurs and a member when the discipline board or grievance process starts and finalizes. We often get officers who find out they have a complaint against them and then attempt to join the PPA before they are interviewed, but we have to decline representation.

When an officer drops the PPA but has something that occurred while they were a member, we also have to decline representing them. Our Bylaws do not allow for us to bend on this topic. Even on the scene of an OIS, we have had officers ask to pay to join immediately, but we are not allowed to let that happen.

The way to look at the PPA is workplace insurance. You cannot get into a car accident and then pay a car insurance company to cover your vehicle and pay for the accident. The PPA is the exact same. Like car insurance, most people will never use it. But when you need it, you are sure glad it is there. For any officer to benefit from our assistance, you must meet the listed criteria in Bylaw 9.

As always, stay safe and have a great 2020. If you ever have any questions, please reach out to myself or any Executive Board member 24/7.

Holiday Stress

We are approaching the end of 2019, and with that comes the stress of the holidays. As our children and loved ones begin decorating for all the holiday festivities, we law enforcement professionals may be feeling a sense of unease. That’s because we sometimes have a tough time dealing with all the stress this time of year brings. Whether it is work, family, caring for parents, budgeting, shopping or any other topics that concern you, you need to know there are people who can help.

I think one of the most underutilized benefits we have through the Health and Welfare Trust is our Behavioral Healthcare Options (BHO), or counseling benefits. I know as officers we try to compartmentalize a lot of issues, but sometimes doing that can result in things like anger, overindulging in alcohol, excessive use of prescription drugs or engaging in other activities or behaviors that we feel might “take away the pain.” The law enforcement profession is a very stressful profession. We see and do things that keep us up at night — things we probably wish we didn’t have to see or relive, but it is there. Dealing with these issues in a healthy, productive way is far more effective than turning to the bottle to self-medicate. Take the time to explore the benefits you have available to you. Contact Kelly Taylor, our Health and Welfare Trust administrator, and have her walk you through everything you have at your disposal.

In addition, please do not forget the new legislative change as it relates to PTSD. I have known officers who have shared stories with military troops who have been deployed in war zones, and the troops say the officers have probably been exposed to far more than they ever have. If you find yourself on a call or incident where something is very disturbing to you, fill out the paperwork to document the issue. LVMPD, more than likely, will deny the claim, but it starts the ball rolling on a potential future claim, should you need it. Like most things, if you don’t have it documented, it didn’t happen. Take the time to fill out the paperwork. If you need help, reach out to any of the Board members for assistance.

I guess, in the end, the point of this article is to let you know that if you are struggling and do not know where to turn, there are people who can help. Don’t be afraid to seek out the help you need. There is something I tell all of the new officers at the Academy when we get the opportunity to present to them. I say to them: “This is a wonderful and great career; however, if this job drives you to the point of thinking about hurting yourself, you need to get out.” This career is not worth your life. We are seeing an alarming number of our brothers and sisters taking their lives across the country. Nothing can replace a father, mother, brother, sister, child or friend. The grief you leave behind could be something those people never recover from. If this describes you, go get help. If you don’t know where to turn, call me directly.

I’d like to close by dedicating this article to my father, retired LVMPD officer Jerry Grammas, P# 2331. He passed away suddenly in September. You’ll be forever missed but always remembered, Pop.

Have a great holiday season and thank you all for your membership. Stay safe.

Challenger Little League

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas
President

Everyone knows the basic work of the LVPPA. Our primary direction is representing our officers and negotiating the Collective Bargaining Agreement. While those are two of the main pillars of what we do, we also have the opportunity to do a lot of good in the community. We have done rewards for Nevada Reading Week, book drives, toy drives and countless donations to charitable organizations like Special Olympics, Down Syndrome of Nevada, Project 150 and the Epilepsy Foundation.

As we continue to find new ways to make an impact in our community, one of the organizations we work with is Challenger Little League. 2019 marked the second year we were involved with them and were honored to be invited to their award ceremony. The Challenger Division is Little League’s adaptive baseball program for individuals with physical and intellectual challenges. The local chapter is run by retired LVMPD Corrections Officer Thomas Taycher. Thomas and his wife and staff devote all their available time to this amazing league and its players and families.

In 2018, the LVPPA did our first sponsorship of the league. At the end of the season, I was able to attend their awards ceremony and was fully immersed in the great things the league does. I was able to meet our sponsored team, the LVPPA Deputies, and assist in handing out their medals and awards for the season. After leaving the ceremony, I told the Executive Board that we needed to increase our contribution to this amazing cause. In 2019, we did just that! Brian Grammas attended the 2019 awards ceremony with me, as he and I have always shared a love for sports. During the ceremony, Brian was able to experience the same amazing things I had experienced the previous year. We left with an expanded vision for the 2020 season that will go far beyond a simple donation.

What is amazing about this league is the true spirit of sports. There are plenty of great people out there, young and old, who have a disability and just want a chance to play the game of baseball. This league provides that! It used to only cater to kids under 18 years of age, but Thomas recognized that he couldn’t turn away the players who wanted to continue playing baseball just because they aged out. So he opened up the older division as well, to allow all people with special needs to still be able to participate.

For the 2020 season, the LVPPA will be asking some of our officers to assist us in one specific project for the league. If you are interested in helping or donating to this great cause, please feel free to reach out to me. Enjoy the photos of the kids I’ve included with this article, and recognize that the LVPPA loves giving back to our community. I believe that when we are put in positions to help others, we should jump at the chance.

I want to thank all of our members for allowing me to be your president so I can make some of this happen. There is no greater gift than to help others. Thank you all for your membership and friendship. Be safe!