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.