- The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act which allows concealed off-duty carry by current or retired law enforcement
- New body armor standards from the National Institute of Justice
- Mandatory sentencing for cop killers.
And a lot more issues and concerns, oftentimes at odds with local politicians and department brass, the FOP has a loud legislative voice in D.C. to protect law enforcement labor rights and safety issues.
Local lodges throughout the country have increased officer safety and survival throughout the years including:
- Ensuring that their member’s rights are protecting in use of deadly force and non-deadly force incident investigations.
- Providing legal counsel in use of deadly force investigations.
- Providing representation in the advent of an internal affairs investigation including those unmeritorious and vindictive I.A. cases.
- Body armor provided by the agencies instead of paid for by the officer. *Rich Davis, the inventor of modern concealed body armor, would travel and demo his vests at police union lodges throughout the country.
- Transitions to semi-auto pistols nationwide was promoted by state trooper, police and sheriff union lodges after too many LEO’s were killed in shoot-outs.
- Staffing issues such as ensuring that a sufficient number of police officers or sheriff’s deputies were on-duty to provide back-up for each other and handle emergencies.
- Hosting officer survival programs such as the Calibre Press Street Survival program.
Thanks to police defense attorneys such as Michael Stone, Laura Scarry, Mike Brave, Randy Means, Missy O’Lynn and many more who have worked on retainer for police unions and have held agencies, cities, counties, and states throughout this land accountable for their actions. Thanks to the union defense attorneys we now have clearer use of force policies, training and a better understanding of when officers can and to what extent – use force.
Recently when police and fire unions and collective bargaining came under attack, it was the F.O.P. and other police and fire unions which entered into the fray providing funding and legislative manpower to stop what was clearly a devastating bit of legislation for police officers. I wrote letters to every state representative and senator who supported the bill outlining how devastating it would be on officer safety. Their response, “Oh, your local and county government will take care of you.” Do they really think this is true? If so, they apparently haven’t been paying attention all these years?
Is this a condemnation of all high-law and police supervision? No. There are still leaders within the ranks who look out for and take care of the troops, which is and should be their primary mission. Every once in a while you read about or hear of such a chief on the news – the ones who stand up and publicly support and defend their officers, despite the possible fall-out or adverse effects to their careers. Such men and women are leaders and heroes and have earned every penny of their pay. They can sleep soundly in their beds as night knowing they’ve done the right thing for the right reason.
Wouldn’t it be better if police chiefs and sheriffs worked together with the police unions to improve working conditions and safety for officers on the job? By working with police unions, chiefs and sheriffs could accomplish what should be the main mission of both, to have the safest and most professional, highly trained and well outfitted officers on the streets of their jurisdiction taking care of the citizens and enforcing the law.
The question then becomes if it is that simple, why is there such an adversarial relationship between police unions and department bosses? I know as a member of labor, that’s what we want and what my union works for. Shouldn’t police management as well?
When it comes to officer safety, training, equipment and adequate manpower – we should not compromise. To do so only exposes our officers to risk. I will stand with my Brother and Sisters in Blue, my fellow union members, against these cuts, compromises and expedient solutions to very serious matters and concerns for all of us. Together we are strong and our voices will be heard and together we will look out for each other!