Police Versus Fire Charity Football Game

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

On May 7 at 7 p.m., members of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department will play a charity tackle football game against fellow first responders from the Professional Firefighters of Nevada. This game used to be played back in the late ’70s and early ’80s. All the games were very competitive, but over time, the game fell by the wayside and was no longer played. We have been told that one of the reasons the game was played was to help raise money to buy medical equipment for UMC. This was noted as one of the worthiest fundraising efforts between police officers and firefighters in Nevada.

After many years have passed since the last game was played, the PPA and PFFN have gotten together to bring this amazing game back to the city of Las Vegas. Both teams are playing for their respective charities. The winner of the game gets a 60% share of proceeds raised, while the loser will get 40% (better known as fire’s cut). We are also playing for the Children’s Heart Foundation. This group has been a major contributor in helping children who have heart ailments or defects go on to lead great lives. Through P# 12897 this process, I have been fortunate enough to learn that we have several officers on our agency whose children have taken part in the treatments from the Children’s Heart Foundation.

The PPA and PFFN have gotten together to bring this amazing game back.

The LVMPD team is composed of some extremely talented people. Experience ranges from NFL to semi-pro, arena, Division I college, Division II college and high school football. I have had the privilege of watching our team practice, and it is no wonder that all the oddsmakers have made our team a 35-point favorite to win this game. 

The goal for the game is to raise money for our charities and have an amazing time at the event, coupled with some very good football. To get involved, go to LVPPA.com and purchase tickets. We want to pack the stands at Bonanza High School for this game and bring awareness to our charities. We also have a 50/50 cash raffle, which will take place at halftime (winner need not be present). We will be selling commemorative T-shirts for the game as well. Bonanza High School will be selling great food for concessions, and we will even have a shaved ice/Dole Whip station. The first thousand people to attend will be given a commemorative item to remember this amazing event.

You Have My Back. Right, Sarge?

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

I want to take this month’s article to talk about the level of support from a first-line supervisor, and how I have witnessed a downward trend of outward support from sergeants when it matters the most.

I am going to make up a fictional scenario, but potentially one that many of you may have experienced.

Officer A goes on a call for service. Upon arrival, the officer is confronted with a scenario that requires the officer to use some form of force. Maybe it is just hand-to-hand striking or, in the most extreme of cases, the use of deadly force. Whatever the case, the officer notifies their first-line supervisor. The sergeant acknowledges the use of force and responds to the scene. Upon arrival at the scene, the sergeant gets a full debrief of what took place during the use of force. The sergeant tells Officer A that everything looks good and within policy. The sergeant tells the officer to do their blue team and submit it to them.

I have witnessed a downward trend of outward support from sergeants when it matters the most.

Officer A goes back to the station and writes up their blue team. After a few revisions from the sergeant to the officer, a final version of the use of force is completed and approved by the sergeant. The sergeant tells you “Great job out there on this call” and leaves you to have no questions about the incident.

A few days go by and the sergeant tells you that the lieutenant was asking some questions about the use of force. The sergeant tells you that they went to bat for you on the case because they knew everything that happened. Eventually, someone along the line has a problem with the use of force and opens an SOC on you for excessive use of force. You ask your sergeant how this could be and they tell you, “Do not worry about this. I reviewed the entire case, to include BWC, and you were absolutely within policy, and I will tell anyone how I feel that you did nothing wrong.”

Through the investigative process — which often is outcome driven as opposed to fact finding — you get sustained and receive a suspension for your actions. Your sergeant tells you that this is BS and that you should fight it. You agree and get with the PPA, and we launch a grievance. The PPA investigator talks with your sergeant and gets an extremely supportive statement from them about how your conduct was within policy and that they had no issues with your use of force.

A date is then set for arbitration. A few days prior, David Roger meets with your sergeant, as they are our witness, and speaks with them about the case. In this meeting, the sergeant, unbeknownst to you, starts to change their tune a little about the use of force and how maybe you could have done something different, but generally, the use of force was within policy.

The day of the arbitration comes and the sergeant is now on the stand ready to testify. Now, the sergeant’s story changes quite a bit and appears to the arbitrator that they feel your use of force was not within policy and you should have done something different. The case now becomes an absolute loss, and you, the officer, are stuck with a three-year reminder in your file that the sergeant who said they had your back turned out to have no backbone and refused to do what was right under threat or perceived fear of retaliation against them, leaving you standing alone with the minor suspension.

Now this is not the case for every supervisor. There are some who have no issue standing up for what is right when they need to. But for the ones who have the great aspirations of rising through the ranks of LVMPD, they will bend to the Department’s wishes, or, as we have had before, call us a day or two before an arbitration and ask to bow out of testifying.

I hope that this, like many things, changes back to the way it used to be where supervisors cared more about what is right as opposed to doing what is best for them and their career. Time will tell.

The Realities of Recruitment and Retention

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

With last year in our rearview mirror, 2022 is a chance to reset and start fresh after 2021 had many of us limping to the finish line. It’s no secret that the past year was a whirlwind for law enforcement around the country. COVID-19 — and the vaccines, variants and deaths that have come with it — continues to take a toll on our personal and professional lives.

Violence against officers has also reached an all-time high in 2021. It was reported (tinyurl.com/4uh9487j) that over 300 officers were shot in the line of duty as of December 1, including 95 ambush-style attacks — a 126% increase compared to 2020.

Attacks against law enforcement have always been an issue, but the violence is at a level I’ve never seen in my 23 years here at LVMPD.

When you add in the lack of support we receive from some of our politicians and the slap on the wrist many criminals receive for their abhorrent actions, it’s no wonder we’re seeing officers leaving the profession in droves. A recent survey (tinyurl.com/2p983s4j) of nearly 200 departments by the Police Executive Research Forum, a nonprofit think tank, shows a staggering 45% increase in the retirement rate and a nearly 20% increase in resignations in 2020–21 compared to the year prior.

All the keyboard warriors and Monday morning quarterbacks have never had to strap on a bulletproof vest and risk their own personal safety for someone they have never met.

Despite what the media claims, law enforcement is still one of the most honorable professions out there. All the keyboard warriors and Monday morning quarterbacks have never had to strap on a bulletproof vest and risk their own personal safety for someone they have never met. Let those people run their mouths in the media because when push comes to shove, real heroes wear a badge. They aren’t actors or journalists or sports figures. The real heroes are the everyday first responders who do a dangerous job to keep our community safe.

As your LVPPA president, I see firsthand all the retirements and resignations, and it gives me some concern that we are losing so many officers so rapidly. The Department, along with the City and the County, should be thinking of ways to incentivize police work even more than they already have. Bringing back longevity would be a great start in that direction, a topic that both sheriff’s candidates have stated they would be willing to support in future contract negotiations. But I am also grateful that every officer who was able to retire on their own has made it safely through this dangerous profession and can now spend their days doing things they have always dreamed about doing.

To all our retirees this year, have a wonderful retirement. You have most certainly earned it.

There’s no doubt we’ve been through a tough year, but we will walk into the new year with a renewed sense of who we are as a profession and why we do what we do. As always, thank you all for your continued membership and trust in the PPA. Have a great year, and please be safe.

End to Another Year

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

I hope this last article of 2021 finds all our members healthy and happy. This has been a tough year for law enforcement, especially for the LVMPD. We lost three of our officers and one sergeant to COVID. I never thought in my 23 years here at LVMPD that we would be losing officers to a deadly disease. As officers, we prepare for dangerous and violent encounters all year long. But this COVID sickness has become a deadly encounter that, in some people, you can not prepare for. We do not know how many more people COVID will take from us, but I am hopeful we can come through this point in our lives in a positive way.

The PPA has been able to start rolling out our usual events for our members and their families with the restrictions easing up on gatherings. We look forward to our first-ever partnership with Opportunity Village for our Santa Day event. Look for the flyer for this event (see page 15), as it will be one of a kind for our membership. We are also happy to roll out our response to New Year’s Eve. Last year, 50% of the Executive Board was quarantined with COVID, and we were unable to do our normal New Year’s Eve experience. This year, health permitting, we will have our normal three stations of food and hot beverages rolled out to support your efforts on the Strip and downtown.

We had several retirements this past year as well. I am always happy to attend our officers’ retirement events, as it means one more officer was able to make it through this career safely and is allowed to enjoy their time free of law enforcement. Congratulations to all of those officers who are successfully navigating waking up when you want and not needing to report to a work shift.

Make 2022 the year of trying the things that scare you the most, whether it’s testing to promote or testing for that specialized unit.

One retirement that is especially important to our membership, as well as to me, is the retirement of Brian Grammas. Brian is my older brother and a person who I have always looked up to in my life. He came to the Executive Board of the PPA in 2017 and has spent the last four years working on our Health Trust, working as our treasurer and assisting members in their IAB interviews, as well as being our expert on the Citizen Review Board. I know he has enjoyed his time here at the PPA, helping members and bringing his sense of humor to the Executive Board, which made coming to work every day enjoyable. Brian will be missed by all of us, but probably no one more than me. Being able to work with my brother has really been an honor for me. We served together in Narcotics, and we serve together now as he closes out his career after 25 years in law enforcement. Please, shoot BG a text or email congratulating him on his retirement coming up December 28. Love you, brother. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season. I hope you all continue to strive for greatness in everything you do. Make 2022 the year of trying the things that scare you the most, whether it’s testing to promote or testing for that specialized unit. Make this the year you go for it. There was a movie quote where someone said, “You regret 100% of the chances you didn’t take.” Take a chance in 2022! Thank you all for your membership and continued support of the LVPPA.

The Free College Basics

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

I wanted to focus this article on the application process for the free college benefit program that the LVPPA has secured through a partnership with Washington National. Many of our officers have taken advantage of the program, and hopefully many more will do the same.

To start, our officers need to go to the LVPPA website at LVPPA.com (via a desktop computer, not a phone) and select Members > Free College Benefit. From there, you will be prompted to click on the “Learn More” button, which takes you to the LVPPA Benefits Supersite (mybensite.com/lvppa). This is where the process starts. This page provides a lot of information on the program. It has two links, one for the associate degree program and one for the bachelor’s degree program. For the associate program, you will be directed to Eastern Gateway Community College, where I currently attend. (Go Edugators!) The bachelor’s program will run through the same Eastern Gateway Community College page, but you will instead select Bachelor’s Degree on the top of the home page.

To apply to the associate program or the bachelor’s program, you will be required to first complete some registration information. The next step is filling out the FAFSA form at FAFSA.ed.gov. This is federal financial aid, which odds are no LVPPA member will qualify for due to our income. However, if by some chance you do, the aid money would go to the school. This is the trade-off for free college education through the schools.

Now that the FAFSA form is done and submitted, you will eventually get an email from the school informing you that you can enroll in classes. First, if you want an associate degree that credits your Academy time and/or your instructor development class, contact LVMPD training to get an email copy of your Academy courses as well as your instructor development certificate. These two documents could give you between 30 to 33 credits toward your associate degree in criminal justice. The associate in criminal justice with police academy credit is the only degree program where Academy time can be applied. You may still get an associate degree in anything that the school offers, but you won’t get all of the free Academy credits. You will then email the school your high school transcript or GED. You may also send over other college credits to have them applied.

Once this is done, you can start picking out your classes for the coming semester. You have the choice, through the school’s website, to control what and how many classes you want to take. You must maintain a C average to get your degree.

As I am currently doing the associate program myself, I can say it is time consuming. Some classes are easier than others. Since each semester is accelerated, the school packs 16 weeks’ worth of classes into eight weeks. There is no live instruction; instead, each week/module has reading material, videos and examples. During the week, you will typically need to participate in one or two discussion topics and respond to one or two classmates’ posts. This is how “attendance” is taken. There will also usually be a quiz, test or written assignment due every week. If you take statistics, let me warn you, it sucks! I am kidding. The class was very tough and took up most of my free time during the week, but a lot of good information was obtained.

Hopefully, some of this information has been useful. This does not cover every aspect of the process or experience; rather, it should give you some good guidance on how to maneuver in the online college space. I am entering my third semester. So far, I am very glad I have gone back to school. It is rewarding to me personally, and it is rewarding to my kids, who see me, their dad, at my age, with my busy job and family, still attending college.

Getting an education is something no one can take away from you. I told one officer that while the journey may seem long, time is going to go by regardless of how you feel. In that time, what we put into it is what is important. If it takes six years to get a degree at whatever pace you are working at, six years is going to pass anyway. What you put into those six years is what will count. Give college a try. Maybe it will work for you, or maybe it won’t. However, there are many benefits to getting that college degree, especially as it relates to promoting on our agency.

We’re Still Standing Despite a Brutal 2020

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

I hope this issue’s presidential message finds all of our members and their families safe, happy and healthy. So much has happened in the past year. We have dealt with riots, COVID-19, attacks on our profession from politicians and even the injury and loss of some of our own.

During the riots of 2020, our officers were working more hours than they could count. They were handling nightly protests that often erupted in violence and chaos. Officers’ families sat home every night praying for the safety of their loved ones. Officers were finishing their shifts with cuts, bruises, injuries and a level of fatigue they had never experienced before. They dealt with people screaming in their faces, cursing at them and holding signs degrading their profession. And through it all, our officers maintained a level of professionalism that goes unmatched.

COVID-19 was also in full swing, as well as the rollout of the vaccine. Our officers were some of the only employees in the state who continued to be on the frontlines of the pandemic, working every day and putting themselves at high risk of exposure to the virus. Police work is one of those jobs that cannot sit on the sidelines and wait for a disease to go away. Many of our officers were exposed, and many contracted the virus. To this day, we are still dealing with grievances and negotiations over being forced to quarantine and use your own time, along with other issues related to COVID-19. I am asked often about whether officers should get the vaccine. My answer is the same every time: It is the officer’s choice, plain and simple. The same politicians who say “my body, my choice” believe you should be forced to take a vaccine. I call that being a hypocrite. If you want to take the vaccine, take it. If you do not, then don’t.

Following the George Floyd case, we began to see many politicians across the country, as well as in our own state, attack our police profession. Politicians who have never put their life on the line, or who have never stepped foot in a patrol car for a shift, began saying that police work needed to change. They claimed officers were targeting people of color and had no regard for our minority communities. These same politicians, who have been in office for many years, saying that police needed to be reformed or defunded were the same ones who passed laws to strengthen police rights only a year earlier. These politicians cared not for George Floyd, rather they only care about re-election. I stand by this position, because if police have always needed reform, why wasn’t it addressed in the 2019 session? In our state, why pass the best legislation for police officer rights that we have ever had during the 2019 session? I had conversations with politicians who supported our rights in 2019 call me saying, “Steve, my party is making me do this. I may not agree with it, but I have to.” These people are spineless and have no character. The answer is because they are disingenuous politicians who will do or say anything for a vote. We still have some amazing folks in government who support our police. The 2022 election cycle, known as the midterm elections, will be important to our profession. We must elect folks who support law and order. We need a legislative body that will support the police force in this state. And we need a governor who will stand up for what is right when it comes to our police and not just pander to a vocal minority. I pledge to our members that we will actively attack these folks when they are up for re-election.

Finally, we as a state suffered the loss and injury of two of our own. Lieutenant Erik Lloyd contracted COVID-19 and lost his fight to the disease. I knew Lloyd for many years, whether it be from Narcotics or when he was the FIT lieutenant. Lloyd was a good man, a friend and a solid leader. His loss will forever impact our community. We also saw, during the riots, our own Officer Shay Mikalonis take a bullet from a piece of garbage who had no regard for human life. I was there at the hospital the night he was shot. I was with his partners as we sat outside on the curb. I saw the impact on our heroes who helped save Mikalonis’ life. Mikalonis and his family had their lives forever changed that evening, as did our profession. Today, Mikalonis continues his fight, recovering from that incident. He will always be a police officer, no matter where he is or what he is doing. We love both of our brothers who have been impacted as a result of this profession.

My hope for 2021–2022 is that we see no more loss or injury to our officers. I hope we continue to protect our community and serve our citizens. I hope those politicians come to their senses and commend and recognize the hard work and sacrifice our officers put forth. I hope every officer stays safe and healthy and has a long career.

God bless all of you and our profession.

The Importance of Training

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

About two years ago, I started training with Chad Lyman. Most of our early training focused on cardio work and some stand-up striking. I remember thinking to myself on the first day, “Damn! This is hard.” Eventually, the cardio and workouts became a little easier. Let me say, Chad is a great teacher. This guy really knows how to coach and uplift you when you feel like you have no more to give.

After about six months, Chad invited me to go to Xtreme Couture to do jiu-jitsu. I had done some jiu-jitsu when I was younger but suffered an injury that made me a little apprehensive about going back. Despite that, I took Chad up on the offer.

The first class I took was a whirlwind! My cardio sucked for jiu-jitsu, and I was super lost. Chad was the lead instructor. Even in a class full of amazing grapplers, he still taught with the same energy, passion and slow, methodical approach he usually took with me. I can tell you, as a 40-year-old guy who has been strong and athletic P# 7781 his whole life, I had my butt kicked by young men, teenagers, old guys and young ladies. One class turned into two, then two into three, and now, for the last year and a half, I have been training consistently every week, getting better and better.

I don’t tell this story of my training without having a point. As confident, strong and athletic as I was when I was first hired on the Department back in 1998, I truly believe that now I would put a whooping on my younger self if we ever met.

Why is this important? I should not be in the best shape for defending myself when I am in the twilight of my career, no longer out in the field where real danger is waiting on every car stop or person stop or call for service. I should have been preparing myself way back when I started on the agency and was dealing with all the shady folks we encountered. Even more so, nowadays, MMA gyms are full of people and are everywhere in this town. The odds of an officer coming upon a suspect they intend to arrest who has some level of training is far higher now than ever before. Las Vegas is the fight capital of the world. If you think what you learned in the academy and some late DT classes or training is enough to handle a well-trained or even poorly trained suspect, you are lying to yourself.

It is not enough to be big and strong and a good “barroom brawler.” On the contrary, officers should be building their toolbox with more technique to be better able to subdue a violent or resistant attacker. I am not saying size and strength are not good. I am saying that those alone, against a fairly well-trained individual, may not be enough.

What we see today in policing, as it relates to uses of force, is a change in how the public wants to see their police force. Long gone are the days of wanting to see tough officers who can knock someone out with one punch. What they want to see is officers using what appears to be a minimal amount of force on suspects to gain compliance. I can tell you, from my training, learning to better handle and control a suspect will add longevity to your career in several ways: fewer injuries to you and the suspect, fewer documented use-of-force cases and the ability to end a close-quarter, potentially deadly force scenario without having to use deadly force.

I hope this article does not come across as “preaching”; rather, I hope it comes across as a call to action to our officers to go out and join a gym. Start training yourself and sharpening the tools in your toolbox. Several departments are actually led by chiefs and sheriffs who support a jiu-jitsu-based curriculum and even offer pay incentives for people who train. The cost to train officers in combatives and jiu-jitsu could far outweigh the cost of a lawsuit against their agency. I think we will see this more and more in the future, as young officers who train will begin to promote and take leadership spots on agencies. Those new leaders will understand the benefits of training in this world and will likely promote it. There is currently a police department in Arizona that plans to have its officers train for one hour every day, not their lunch hour, to get proficient in control techniques.

This needs to be the new norm. As long as the media and politicians see uses of force that look ugly to them, regardless if we are able to justify it or not, they will continue to attack our profession. But if we start making these encounters about control and custody in better ways because we take the time to train, it will make that narrative a little smaller.

A quote from my friend, mentor and trainer: “Go out and train a little, a lot.”

P.S. If any officer wants some time with me and Chad at the PPA, let us know and drop in. We are here to help.

If the President Fails, the Country Fails

Steven Grammas
Steven Grammas

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

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

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.