1 THE TEXAS POLICE STAR A PUBLICATION OF THE COMBINED LAW ENFORCEMENT ASSOCIATIONS OF TEXAS Proudly Serving Texas Finest Volume 14, Issue 4 December 2011 Jerry Bryan Wants You to Know That TMPA Came Out Publicly and Opposed His Association s Police Manpower Election in Temple TEMPLE-Officer Jerry Bryan s head is shaved smoother n a baby s butt and he s the kind of cop that focuses his blue eyes straight on you when he talks. He admits his Irishman blood has been stirred up lately. The veteran officer knew he was going up against the bigwigs at city hall, but he never expected to wake up one morning during a local police manpower election to see a statewide police union, the Texas Municipal Police Association (TMPA) issue a news release against the local officers and take the city s side. TMPA worked with the city bosses to hurt working cops in Temple. It was a sneak attack during early voting. TMPA sabotaged our local campaign for more officers on the street. They confused the local voters and it worked. TMPA can take credit for every single police family that has to be without a dad or mom at family gatherings or youth sporting events in the future. I hope they re proud, he said. Your Retirement is Under Attack, Get Ready to Fight! By John Burpo, Executive Director When Jerry Bryan was elected President of the Temple Police Association last year his members asked him to try to do something about the lack of police staffing. Officers are stretched way too thin, it s dangerous out here on the street where priority 1 calls are holding way too long. The public s safety is not priority number one, he said. High profile crimes like bank robberies, home invasions and shootings brought a surging focus on crime and police manpower on the street. (Temple Manpower continued on Page 4) There is an attack underway in Texas on law enforcement retirements that would be your retirement. If CLEAT, our leaders at the state and local level, and our members stick our collective heads in the sand, then law enforcement retirements once again, that would be your retirement, will be gone, baby, gone. CLEAT wants every member to understand the absolute seriousness of this issue. A little background is in order. From the 1960 s to just a few years ago, law enforcement pensions were improved significantly and then maintained. Law enforcement officers and their unions advanced and state legislators pushed the proposition that policing is a tough, dangerous job that deserves decent retirement benefits greater than other public employees. Unfortunately, private sector unions have declined significantly over the last 20 years, and with that decline there has been an attendant decline in private sector defined pension benefits. The majority of private sector employees no longer have retirement plans they are now fortunate to even have a 401(k) and a meager contribution by the employer. Sadly, most folks in the law enforcement world did not pay attention to this development because it was their problem, not ours. In the past 2 years public sector pension plans have come under attack, including law enforcement retirements. These attacks have taken place in other states so once again, it was their problem and Texas law enforcement officers didn t worry. But it is definitely now our problem as antiretirement forces are on the march right here in Texas. A cabal of anti-union, anti-public employee businessmen out of Houston are leading the charge to take away your long held and much deserved retirement rights. This cabal doesn t care that each one of you lays your life on the line every day; or that the Memorial Wall on the State Capitol grounds is filled with the names of heroic law enforcement officers who have sacrificed their lives protecting Texas citizens. CLEAT will lead the fight to take on these Forces of Darkness. We have a battle plan that is eloquently outlined in Todd Harrison s article on page 2 of this edition of The Police Star. Please take the time to read this important article so that you understand what we will be doing over the course of the next 2 years. Finally, I call on every association leader and every member to join this fight: understand the CLEAT message in this ongoing campaign, deliver this message to your legislators, and contribute to CLEAT PAC. Contribute to CLEAT PAC https://members.cleat.org/about_pac_donate.aspx Page 1
2 Developing a Battle Plan to Save Your Retirement By Todd Harrison, President At the CLEAT E-Board meeting in Fort Worth this Summer, at the CLEAT Convention in Corpus Christi and at the retirement strategy meeting conducted by the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) in Orlando we have been in non-stop conversations about how to develop a battle plan to counter the evil political schemes to end decent law enforcement retirements. Some folks have warned us that the retirement/pension battle is coming to Texas and I always ask where they ve been? This year, in the 82nd Legislative Session, saw a full scale attack on your pensions that has been escalating with every session since We have been successful in killing all of the bad legislation and this session we had to fight in order to pass a piece of agreed-to legislation for the Austin Pension System. Next, there are voices who tell us there is no hope and that we just have to give up, accept and appease those who are the enemy in hopes that they will show mercy. Then there are those who want us to hide behind and mingle in with the other pension systems and hope our enemies will forget we exist and somehow won t notice us. In all of these meetings our goal has been to help arm law enforcement labor leaders with THE TRUTH and prepare our local unions and PAC s for war. As this battle intensifies I d like for us to remember that we are the only qualified organization that continues to fight for police retirements. Others may want in the game, others may want our money and hard won political connections but we are the only standing army that is battle tested and ready to fight. If you think about the whole of this war, you will likely panic. As a policeman I appreciate that our Public Affairs staff are breaking this battle down into components. On the street, I often encountered situations that required me to fall back on the things I knew, things I trusted. This battle is one of those times. For example, our lobbyist points to using this time to gather information, raise money for CLEAT PAC and wait until after the candidate filing deadlines before meeting to endorse political candidates. As President I have developed a 5 point plan to help get us started. As this battle intensifies, I d like for us to remember that we are the only qualified organization that continues to fight for police retirements. Others may want in the game, others may want our money and hard won political connections, but we are the only standing army that is battle tested and ready to fight. 1. I ve directed our staff to organize and plan a coordinated campaign effort between all CLEAT Defined Benefit Local Associations as well as the Dallas Police Association and the Houston Police Officers Union. I asked for a meeting early next year to go over the list of viable candidates, those we might be able to support, as well as those we should be planning to oppose during the primary campaign season. This effort is already underway between CLEAT s Charley Wilkison and representatives of all the major law enforcement groups in the state. 2. CLEAT is developing a Police Retirement Truth Squad to interface with CLEAT Public Affairs in a all-out rapid response effort when we see or hear our retirement plans misstated in the media. I d like one person from each local that has a Defined Benefit system to be a part of this alternating committee. 3. I ve come to agree that polling of public attitudes is an integral part of this war. My plan is to use various polling companies to keep us abreast of what Texans really believe and how they are coming to their conclusions. I want these scientific instruments to assist our members in communicating our positions with the public and I want our elected officials to be able to utilize this information as they prepare to make decisions. We will be able to use non-pac dollars, regular union monies for these polls. 4. This war will be expensive. We need candidates and elected officials to hear from us during the coming months. Fundraising for CLEAT PAC should be increased a thousand fold. Our local members stand to lose their future income, retirees will lose big if retirement systems are completely collapsed and those individuals who do business with our pension funds need to know that the war is due, in part, by greedy financial managers attempting to get their hands on the money. 5. We need constant communication between all of our leaders so that our coordinated message remains intact and our local unions stay connected to our plan. Thinking along those lines I m planning an organization wide conference call with our entire board of directors on the first Monday of every month until the legislative session is finished in I want to begin these conference calls next February and each local President and E- board member will be able to join the call and ask questions or report information from across the state. Now, folks, no matter how good our intentions are they will not matter unless we execute our plan. And the first step of the journey begins now. The thousands of police families and the future of Texas law enforcement are depending on what we do next. Let s build our local PACs, stay united in political endorsements and stay in constant communication with one another. Remember our motto: Strength, Justice and Unity. Page 2
3 We fought for you, even when THEY thought it wasn t cool... Contribute to CLEAT PAC https://members.cleat.org/about_pac_donate.aspx
4 In His Father s Name Henry Nava III Claims His Legacy By Charley Wilkison According to Henry Nava III, he is getting taller every day. He says this with authority, then he pauses, grins and then quickly looks over to check with his mom, Teresa Nava Salazar to see if he s way out of line. She smiles at him, he grins back and reaffirms that it s official, he is getting taller. Then he adds a caveat, Well maybe not every single day, but I am getting taller. When Henry speaks of his father, Henry Nava II, E-O-W , his voice softens and he briefly looks away. He was only four but he has definite memories of the man the rest of the Fort Worth police Department called Hank. He mentions fun things he remembers doing with his father. Hank took him to play golf where he let him drive the cart while sitting on his lap, then onward to Taco Bell where he had to add extra sauce to everything. A few seconds later he tells something funny about his dad, something he did, something he used to say and begins laughing. Henry has an easy way with people, listens to others, and laughs at himself. A natural gift that allows him to seem at ease and enjoy the moment. In some moments he seems a little older than ten. Like a lot of surviving family members, he seems to possess a core knowledge about the world that saddens the rest of us. But today, Henry is in the North Texas CLEAT Office in Fort Worth and he can have all the pizza he wants and can say whatever he wants. He consistently makes everyone laugh, including his mother. George Lopez rubbed my head, he laughs and rubs his hand across the top of his head as he recalls meeting the famous comedian at the Colonial Golf Tournament in Fort Worth. Last month, Henry was a good looking kid named Justin. He had a crew cut and a big smile as he stood before a district court in Tarrant County and had his name officially changed to Henry Nava III. (See Henry Nava on page 12) (Temple Manpower Election, continued from Page 1) The Temple Police Association originally thought that city management might work with them to solve the problem. But the TPA soon found out that city management felt threatened by any suggestion from the rank and file and threw up a major defensive position against them. We were disappointed by the city s position. After all, we weren t asking for a raise in pay, better retirement or some other benefit. They could have worked with us on this but they didn t care and they wouldn t listen, says Bryan, The city ignored a huge human component to this whole discussion. Officers are working harder, longer and often go without days off and some aren t able to use their earned vacation to decompress or spend time with their families. After a series of inquiries at City Hall where Jerry was rebuffed on the idea of adding a few new positions he began meeting with business owners, community groups and regular citizens. Everyone we spoke to reiterated that they wanted more cops on the street. They wanted their homes and businesses protected at all times and they didn t want anyone in the community to wait for police officers to respond to priority 1 calls, he said. Knowing economic times were tough and tax dollars don t grow on trees, the officers began thinking of a compromise. They came up with what they saw as a fool-proof plan: add a few positions each year until the Temple Police Department reached full strength. When this idea was shot down as well they began working with like minded citizens who formed a group called Citizens for a Safer Temple. This group collected voter signatures that called for a police staffing charter amendment election that would add only 36 officers over several years by tracking the population and number of police officers recommended by the FBI at 2.5 officers per thousand population. The city and the police department immediately set out to destroy his association s efforts. They were threatened with arrest for gathering signatures outside the legal marker of an election site last year. An Assistant Chief of Police went to the polling place and pulled out a measuring tape and tried to intimidate those collecting signatures, even though everything they were doing was absolutely legal. The mayor, the city bosses and the rich folks who have always run our town knew they could beat us in the end because they held all the cards --but they didn t even want us to participate in the democratic process, states Bryan. After several shenanigans by the heavy hands of the city officials they finally were forced to follow the law and allow the issue on the ballot. Immediately the mayor, city manager and police chief began a campaign against the issue. While small business owners and regular citizens favored the issue, the local chamber of commerce and some area big business interests put up billboards decrying union takeover of local government. The TMPA Conflict While the much smaller and far outgunned citizen and police group put up a valiant fight on behalf of the public s safety, Jerry believes the tide turned when TMPA blasted his position. The Austin based police union issued a news release that came down squarely on the side of the city and the big business groups opposing the manpower election. It appears that TMPA merely copied the language and position of the opposition. We lost the election for more officers in Temple because of TMPA. Our campaign was killed by guns that should have been on our side. I ve never heard of CLEAT opposing any local TMPA group s local campaign, regardless of whether they believed it was a good idea, well timed or whatever the reason. I don t believe a state union should ever behave in such a dishonorable or unscrupulous way. Local campaigns for rights, benefits or local issues should be sacred, he said. I guess TMPA is owned by the government. They are funded by state grants and they have to remain on the side of the politicians to keep funding their union. It s kind of sad, really. I guess they have no choice. Since they are owned by the politicians, they dare not step out of line or they will lose their big salaries and their big office building in Austin and their plush little jobs, he said. As for the future, Bryan says his Irishman blood tells him things are looking up. He s uncovered some evidence that he believes may prove that the city used taxpayer resources in the campaign against their own citizens. Some citizens were told they could not vote for the manpower election because the polling place didn t have those ballots. Other minority voters were openly intimidated and spoken to inside the polling place and told to vote against the manpower issue. If true, all of this is illegal and could prove there could have been wide spread voter fraud and election law violations. In Temple, Irish eyes are smiling. Page 4
5 Marc Staff Trusted TMPA Legal and They Let Him Down By Chris Jones Last year, Colorado County Deputy Sheriff Marc Staff was called to the office and given a termination notice. In the notice, three incidents were listed as reasons for the discharge. The allegations related Deputy Mark Staff to interaction with citizens who did not formally complain in writing. Instead, the Sheriff s Office dug up the complaints as the basis for the termination. Deputy Staff was not given a copy of the written complaints prior to termination as required by law. Deputy Staff was a TMPA member so he contacted them for help. Staff was assigned a TMPA lawyer to review his case, but was told that the TMPA board would have to approve funding in order to file an appeal of the termination in court. Staff had been a TMPA member for 10 years and said that it came as a shock to him that he had to have approval for representation. On top of that, the TMPA board didn t meet until four months later, so he had to wait to see if they would take his case. At the board meeting, the TMPA board tabled his case so that further information could be obtained which meant he had to wait until the next board meeting. At the next meeting, the TMPA board voted NOT to provide funding for the case. TMPA s lawyer told Staff he wasn t given a reason why the board declined representation. However, it is very interesting that TMPA s Deputy Executive Director at the time held a reserve commission issued by the Colorado County sheriff. Did that influence the board s decision? Who knows, but there should have never been the chance that it would. By picking and choosing the cases that are funded, TMPA s plan will always be open to political influence. TMPA s lawyer offered to represent Staff for a fee and Staff was told that he had a good legal case with an 80% chance of winning based on the law. The law the lawyer was referring to, is Subchapter B, Chapter 614, Government Code, which is a statute that CLEAT drafted and passed as H.B. 639 in Note, TMPA didn t even support this bill when it was first considered in the House committee by the legislature. See House Research Organization Report online: Second Request Denied It was clear that the facts in Staff s case would fall under the precedent established in the Treadway case. After learning of the Supreme Court decision, Staff again requested that TMPA reconsider funding his appeal. TMPA s lawyer went back to the board and again they turned him down. So Staff was left no choice but to write a check and hire a lawyer to take his case, even though he had been paying dues to TMPA for 10 years. Again, did politics affect this decision? Why would TMPA refuse to take on a winnable case? This would not have happened in CLEAT. CLEAT provides automatic representation to members who are disciplined in violation of Chapter 614 or any other due process statute. We not only defend the member, but we defend the law that we worked so hard to pass. If the laws are not defended, then the courts are at liberty to erode and weaken them. The process of changing the law, passing a bill, and obtaining a new right or benefit is such an arduous task, we have to stand up and defend what we have obtained over the years. You would think that TMPA would understand this, but evidently they are more concerned about political ramifications or saving a few dollars than defending a member from an unjust termination. This is a very important example WHY law enforcement officers should join CLEAT instead of other organizations such as TMPA. State of the Law Subchapter B, Chapter 614, Government Code, provides that law enforcement officers can only be terminated based on a complaint if they are provided with a copy of the written complaint, the complaint is investigated, and there is evidence to prove the allegation of misconduct. This section even applies to officers who are at will employees. And it applies to complaints received from citizens and complaints generated internally by the department or department supervisors. The courts decided this in the following case. Cristina Treadway, a 12 year veteran of the Comal County Sheriff s Office was fired in February 2006 based on an internal complaint related to her performance as a supervisor. The complaint was investigated by Treadway s supervisor and she was ultimately fired by the sheriff. However, at no point during the investigation was she given a copy of the written complaint or allegations against her or told the reason for her termination. After her termination, CLEAT filed a lawsuit alleging that Treadway had been discharged in violation of Chapter 614. The trial court dismissed the case on the premise that Chapter 614 didn t apply to internal complaints. CLEAT appealed the trial court s decision and the 3rd Court of Appeals reversed the case and issued an opinion that Chapter 614 does in fact apply to all complaints, including department generated complaints. The case was further appealed to the Texas Supreme Court, but on March 11, 2011, the court denied the appeal thus upholding the decision of the Court of Appeals. References: asp?opinionid= CLEAT was founded on the premise that members be able to obtain legal representation without political influence. CLEAT founders split off from the Texas Municipal Police Association and formed CLEAT because they were frustrated with a system where members had to beg for representation and the leaders of TMPA picked and chose which cases to take. CLEAT developed a system where members automatically are represented. We don t have to like you or your chances of winning for us to represent you. If you are a member and your case falls within our written legal plan document, then you get a lawyer to represent you. Amazingly, TMPA is still the Texas May I, Please Association. Instead of having lawyers on staff ready to take your case, TMPA funds cases with lawyers on a case by case basis. Each case has to go to their board and members have to request that their case get funding for it to proceed. Illinois Leader Talks of Retirement War at Home Left to right: Sean Smoot, Executive Director of IL PBA and CLEAT President Todd Harrison Sean Smoot, Executive Director of the Illinois Police Benefit Association, was one of the retirement strategy speakers at the CLEAT convention in Corpus Christi. He warned officers to be on the outlook for organizations that are secretly funded by the infamous, right-wing Koch Brothers, who have funded efforts to destroy officer rights, earned retirement benefits etc. The American Legislative Exchange is one of those such organizations. Smoot pointed out that Senator Kel Seliger R-Amarillo is the Chair in Texas. Page 5
6 Lamar County Hosts Fuzz Festival Golf Tournament News From Across the State Sweetwater Helps One of Their Own Lamar County Deputy Sheriff Jimmy Hodges, Lamar County Pct 5 Constable Michael Woodson, Paris Jr. College PD Eric Gibbs, CLEAT s Dwight Tiller, Reno Police Jeff W Sugg. Lamar County Deputy Jimmy Hodges shot a hole in one on hole 13, a 205 yard drive, at the 18 hole Pine Ridge Golf Course located outside of Paris. Lamar County law enforcement conducted their 9th annual Fuzz Festival golf tournament. CLEAT sponsor s this annual event and is the largest sponsorship courtesy of CLEAT Region 9 director Roger Barringer. CLEAT Field Services Director Dwight Tiller attended this event again this year. Several CLEAT members from Paris Junior College PD, Paris PD, Reno PD and Lamar County Sheriff s Office played in this year s tournament and worked together to organize the event. The citizens of Sweetwater, Texas came out in force to help the Sweetwater PPA and the Elks Lodge raise money for Snyder Officer Darrell Campbell. Officer Campbell who was severely wounded by an assailant who was then shot and killed by Snyder Officer Lee Ortiz. Officer Campbell miraculously survived and was treated in Lubbock where he is still undergoing rehabilitation. The Sweetwater PPA along with the Elks Lodge hosted a brisket dinner and silent auction that raised around $10,000. Jeremy Bohall, President of the Sweetwater PPA said, Darrell was one of our own before he moved onto Snyder and the community here remembers him and his family and just wanted to help out. Melinda Moncada a Sweetwater Detective who put the function together said, When one of our brothers or sisters needs help, then that is what we do, we help. We are all a family of law enforcement and we take care of our own. Officer Campbell along with his wife Amber attended the CLEAT Convention in Corpus Christi where he and Officer Ortiz were honored with an award. Vidor Police Association Negotiates New Contract San Angelo Officer Receives Lifetime Achievement Award San Angelo President Korby Kennedy presented Officer Mike Campbell with a Badge for his lifetime achievement service within the San Angelo Coalition of Police. The Vidor Police Association had negotiated a three year contract that provided the officers with a 5% wage increase in Fiscal Year 2009, a me-too clause in Fiscal Year 2010 in which the city did not give any wage increases to city employees, and a wage re opener for Fiscal Year CLEAT Special Counsel Ron DeLord and Staff Representative Tom Barbee assisted the Association in the wage re opener. After one formal session the Association and the City agreed upon a 3% wage increase for all officers effective October 1, The top pay for a patrol officer with 9 years of service and a Master Peace Officer Certificate or B.A. degree will be $50,194 annually. Sergeants and Lieutenants with a MPO certificate or B.A. degree will be $53,022 and $56,620 respectively. Sergeant David Vandagriff, President of the Vidor Police Association, stated he felt the city was making an effort in difficult economic times to keep Vidor officers from falling further behind their local counterparts. The Association hopes to add new pay steps and increase education and certification pay when they negotiate a new contract next year. Page 6
7 News From Across the State Law Enforcement Leaders Gather for Pension Talks The National Police Associations of Police Organizations, or NAPO, hosted a nationwide gathering of leaders recently in Orlando, Florida to discuss the attack on retirement benefits for law enforcement officers. Whether the attacks are coming from the thinly disguised front groups funded by the Koch Brothers or just local political opportunists using the current economic climate as an excuse to try to hurt officers and their families the result is the same, said CLEAT President Todd Harrison who also serves as Vice President of NAPO. As each state shared stories of political attacks at the local level and in the state legislatures, the mood could best be described as determined and defiant. The discussions ranged from complete disdain for those inside the police labor movement who have adopted the cut and run philosophy and who have advised that nothing can be done to stop the gutting of earned law enforcement retirements. Nationally renowned speakers such as NAPO President Thomas Nee, President of the Boston Patrolman s Association, shared their vision of educating local members, enriching local PACs, and working to turn the political tide with national public relations campaigns and working to defeat and elect those who openly oppose a decent retirement for officers. We learned that CLEAT once again was leading the nation in strategy and in proactive politics. We were one of the few state groups who had already conducted polling, already had a war plan in place and had already begun interweaving our local and statewide Political Action Committees, said Harrison. One of the more disturbing stories we heard were from local and statewide unions who had joined in large statewide campaign efforts with various kinds of public worker groups and had given tons of officer s dollars with absolutely no input or ability to develop a separate message, said Harrison. In Texas we are going to take a different approach. We are going to carry our cause directly to the decision makers whether in the general public or in the Capitol. We are not going to join some feel good army and depend on others to fight our war. Also attending from Texas were Austin Police Association President Wayne Vincent, San Antonio Police Officers Association President Michael Helle, SAPOA Vice President Dean Fisher, San Antonio Police Pension Board President Shaun Ury, and former SAPOA President Jerry Clancy (retired); Fort Worth Police Officers Association President Rick Van Houten; Dallas Police Officers Association President Glenn White, and DPA Vice President Ron Hinkle; Houston Police Officers Union Executive Director Mark Clark and Houston Police Pension Board member Ray Hunt; and CLEAT s Charley Wilkison, Director of Public Affairs. SAVE YOUR RETIREMENT, CONTRIBUTE TO CLEAT PAC La Marque Police Association President Forrest Gandy signs the negotiated contract with the city of La Marque Page 7 La Marque Signs Contract Despite Difficult Challenges Elsewhere in the state and across the nation, contract negotiations have become difficult and are facing enormous pressure from all sides of the political spectrum. La Marque has even topped some of these issues in a hostile and unstable political environment. This year s negotiations were short and painful due to budget revenues and political instability in the City. During this year s process, the City Manager was very aggressive until he decided to resign and go to work in real estate. Recall elections and division in the City Council also made this contract a mine field. The La Marque Police Association grasped early on the hostile climate and decided to prevent public fights over bad budgets and worse politicians. President Forrest Gandy and the membership adopted a one year extension of the current agreement. Once it made it to Council for ratification, it was discovered that there had been changes made to the negotiated agreement, to include modification of the salary scales, removal of benefits and language added that was never discussed. The negotiations went back to the table to protect the integrity of the agreement and a strong warning to the City about its obligation to bargain in good faith. Even if there are no monetary changes to an agreement, an Association still can t let down its guard.
8 Beaumont Signs Three Year Contract Rent-A-Center Donates to POMF The City of Beaumont and the Beaumont Police Officers Association started negotiations on June 7 and concluded after 10 sessions in October. The city s chief negotiator was Robert Hambright of the law firm of Orgain, Bell and Tucker and the association s chief negotiator was CLEAT Special Counsel Ron Beaumont s chief negotiator Robert Hambright and DeLord. The BPOA team consisted of President Mike Mills, Jason BPOA President Mike Mills Plunkett, Bobby Anderson, Roger Ross and Bryan Baker. The negotiations were difficult and trying at times but eventually the parties fashioned a 3-year agreement that would be beneficial to both the city and association. CLEAT Attorney Honored by Daughter s Third Grade Class on Veteran s Day Daniel Pavloschi, store manager, and CLEAT Region 1B Director Randle Meadows at the grand opening of the Rent-A-Center in Watuaga, TX Thursday, November 16. Rent-A-Center donated $1000 to the Texas Peace Officer Memorial Foundation. Socorro Elects New President On Veterans Day, Fort Worth CLEAT Attorney Craig Driskell attended an event at his daughter s school that honored parents who are veterans. The veterans spoke to the students about their military service. The kids were so patriotic it left me feeling really good about the future of America, said Driskell. McAllen Governance The newly elected board of the McAllen Professional Law Enforcement Association saw some potential flaws in their governance document. When they did, they contacted CLEAT s field service staff for assistance. Our staff immediately went to work analyzing the existing document and making recommended changes that both benefit the organization and potentially keeping the association out of legal trouble. To many, this may seem like a small step. But to CLEAT, building up our locals is a top priority. This is just another way that demonstrates why we are the premier law enforcement labor union in the state. Page 8 The Socorro POA held elections for their Executive Board this month. Past President Refugio Orta, who decided not to run for the office, said, Helping this group get organized and running was one of the most rewarding things I ever did. Once CLEAT came on board and helped us, it was a great merger as we never had any assistance from TMPA who we were part of before joining CLEAT. I know that I am leaving the POA in good hands with the new board, and I know CLEAT will be there to help them. Newly elected President Bobby Correa said, I want to carry on what we have been doing and want to expand our relationship out to the community and city leaders even more. We have a great bunch of officers here in Socorro and I know that we will accomplish whatever it is we undertake. The new board will serve two years and they are; Vice- President James Purdue, Secretary Ismael Delgado, 2nd Secretary Corina Verdein, Treasurer Johnny Harrelson, and Sgt. at Arms Elijah Silas.
9 Amarillo E-Board The Amarillo Executive Board is dedicated to its membership and is always up to the task of tackling tough challenges. From left to right: Tim Williams, Steve Mitchell, Jimmy Johnson, Michael Rolan, Angela Perkins, and Norm Fisher. Members of the San Angelo Coalition of Police delivered Thanksgiving meal packets to 12 local families. The program helps local families with the assistance by providing the family with a Thanksgiving meal. This program would not have been possible without the assistance from the H.E.B staff and the local community. Thanksgiving Meal on Wheels El Paso Holds Critical Incident Training Recently, the El Paso Municipal Police Officers Association hosted a Critical Incident Training Seminar for law enforcement groups within Region 4. Board members from the El Paso Sheriffs Officers Association, the Socorro POA, the Horizon POA, and members of the National Council for the Border Patrol received instruction from CLEAT Attorneys Jim Jopling and Benjamin Brock on how they can protect and assist their members who are involved in a shooting or other critical incidents. The seminar was well attended by thirty-four members all of whom are board members of the various associations within Region 4. New Hidalgo Board Has Strategic Planning Session On October 1st, the Hidalgo County Law Enforcement Officers Associations newly elected leaders took office. Not only does the organization have new officers, with the assistance of CLEAT s Field Service Representatives, they now have an amended governance document that gives equal representation to both detention and law enforcement officers. County Sheriff s Offices have an extra dynamic, compared to municipal police departments, that must be resolved before the association can become a strong political force; finding a way to give equal representation to all employees. CLEAT is committed to providing equal representation to all of our members; not just those who work in the field as our competition does. Immediately after taking office, CLEAT field staff conducted a strategic planning meeting with the new board. The focus of the strategic planning session addresses several areas such as finance, organizing potential members, building a strong political organization, developing a strong public image and managing the day-to-day affairs of the association. This is a service CLEAT provides to all of its locals and this is another reason why we are the union of choice for so many police associations. Strengthening our locals is a priority for CLEAT and is just one more facet of unionism where our competition falls short. THE TEXAS POLICE STAR CLEAT EXECUTIVE BOARD PRESIDENT Todd Harrison VICE PRESIDENTS Ervey Banda, Adrian Pina, Jamie Crabtree DIRECTORS Rick Van Houten, Fort Worth; Randle Meadows, Arlington; Mark Guerra, Del Rio; Pete Elizalde, San Antonio; David Leal, Corpus Christi; Joel Janssen, Bexar County; Ron Martin, El Paso; Marvin Ryals, El Paso County; Aaron Smith, Midland; Matthew Novosad, La Porte; Steve Flores, Port Arthur; Andrew Pietrowski, Austin; James Hodge, Travis County; Roger Barringer, Mesquite The Texas Police Star is published periodically by the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas Inc. (CLEAT), a professional non-profit association comprised of Texas peace officers, corrections officers and public safety personnel. The Texas Police Star is distributed to all members of the association, as well as government officials and business th`roughout the state. Subscriptions are available only to members of CLEAT as part of paid membership dues and to donors of $250 or more to the Peace Officers Memorial foundation, Inc. The office publication is located at CLEAT, Texas Police Star, 400 W. 14th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX The publication of advertising, commercial or political, does not represent an endorsement of products or services by CLEAT. CLEAT does on assume responsibility for statements of fact or opinion made by contributors. The entire contents of The Texas Police Star are copyrighted (c) by CLEAT, Inc. and may not be reproduced in any manner, either whole or in part, without written permission. All rights are reserved. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to CLEAT, Texas Police Star, 400 W. 14th Street, Suite 200, Austin, TX Printed in the U.S.A. Page 9
10 Justice for Small Town Survivors Deputy Jacob Rene Rayos, Reeves County Sheriff s Office Page 10 This is a story where the complexities of life and the inadequacies of the law allowed another family of survivors to slip through the cracks of red tape and bureaucracy after the tragic death of an officer. It has yet to be seen whether five surviving children will receive the benefits they deserve, but one thing is for sure, they have a far better chance now due to the diligence of CLEAT and the Peace Officers Memorial Foundation. In this case, Reeves County Deputy Sheriff Jacob Rene Rayos, who was not a CLEAT member, was working the midnight shift when on the early morning hours of April 11, 2010, he started to pursue a speeding vehicle. Deputy Angel Gonzalez was with Rayos at the City of Pecos Civic Center when a fast moving truck passed them. Rayos took after the truck, which turned west on Interstate 20. Rayos attempted to catch the truck and shortly thereafter, was involved in a one vehicle rollover accident that claimed his life. A tragedy for sure, but the series of events that occurred after the death, has compounded the tragedy for his family. Deputy Rayos was sent to El Paso for an autopsy which was conducted by El Paso Medical Examiner Juan Contin, MD. Blood was taken and was sent to a lab for processing. The resulting toxicology report showed that Deputy Rayos had 5.2 ng/ml of THC in his system at the time of death. However, When Dr. Contin submitted the autopsy report, the report indicated that Deputy Rayos had 5.2 mg/ml in his system, MILIGRAMS, not NANOGRAMS. The autopsy report showed that Rayos had 100 times the amount of THC in his system than he actually did. Of course, this sent all kinds of red flags up with the officers employer. Reeves County, based on the autopsy report, denied workers compensation benefits for the family and the Sheriff s Office failed to file survivor death benefits under Chapter 615, Government Code. Under Chapter 615, survivors are entitled to a $250,000 death benefit. In this case, that money would go to Rayos five children since he wasn t married at the time of his death. The children would also be entitled to monthly income benefits and free college tuition. In addition, the family is entitled to a federal death benefit of $323, But when the family inquired about benefits, they were told they would not be eligible because of the autopsy results. The problem with this was that Reeves County was basically making a decision about state and federal benefits by refusing to file a claim when these decisions are supposed to be made by the Employee Retirement System of Texas (ERS) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA). There was a quirk in Texas law that failed to clearly place the responsibility on the agency for filing the claim. ERS can t consider a claim until it is filed so unless someone steps in, such as CLEAT, these claims can go unfiled and the survivors are left out in the cold. CLEAT was first contacted about this case during the 2011 legislative session. We had already been working on addressing the case of a Harris County deputy whose family failed to receive death benefits because the county failed to file a claim. CLEAT was successful in amending the law to clearly require agencies to file the death benefits claims with ERS. ERS would then determine eligibility for benefits under the law. However, the new requirement did not apply to cases such as the Rayos case, which had occurred before the law passed. The Rayos case was forwarded to CLEAT s Chris Jones who had worked on helping a number of survivors to obtain benefits that had been previously denied. The Sheriff s Office initially was not being cooperative and failed to respond to s or phone calls. Jones while reviewing the autopsy and toxicology reports, caught the discrepancy between the toxicological results and those reported in the autopsy report. Jones also realized that the amount of THC was a very small amount. Jones noticed that the reporting limit used by the lab was 5.0 ng/ml. This means if the test had resulted in 2/10ths less of a nanogram, it would not have even been reported as a positive finding. Additional research reflected that the small amounts reported could be in someone system for a number of reasons, such as inhalation of second hand smoke. Based on this, Jones spoke with CLEAT s Chris McGill who was from El Paso. McGill had worked with Dr. Contin while he was on the PD. McGill contacted Dr. Contin and pointed out the problem with the report. Dr. Contin looked at the case again and corrected the autopsy report in a memo dated October 13, Dr. Contin also pointed out in the amended report that the type of THC found in Deputy Rayos system was an inactive metabolite of THC. Dr. Contin further reported that based of these corrections, Mr. Rayos was NOT under the influence at the time of death. Jones forwarded the amended report to Reeves County Sheriff Andy Gomez and at this point the Sheriff s Office began to discuss the case with CLEAT. In s, they agreed to follow up with filing the death benefit claim with ERS. In order to file a claim, affidavits have to be obtained on behalf of each child and/or their natural parent or guardian. In addition, ERS requires copies of a number of documents, including the accident report, the death certificate, birth certificates for the children, applications for benefits, and witness statements all of which have to be certified or notarized. The agency also has to file a statement that the officer was killed in the line of duty due to a personal injury sustained while performing duties related to his position. After a month of waiting, the claim had still not been filed, and the agency was complaining that they were not able to locate all of the surviving children and their mothers. Reymundo Rayos, Deputy Rayos father has visited his son s grave every day of the week since the funeral. Frustrated, Jones got in his truck and drove 5 hours to Pecos, Texas. Once there, he met with Deputy Rayos family members. Jones obtained the required affidavits and documents, and then met with Sheriff Gomez and Deputy Gonzalez who were both very helpful. Jones obtained the statement required by ERS from the sheriff that Rayos was killed in the line of duty, and returned from West Texas with the documents and submitted them to ERS. In addition, CLEAT has contacted the Division of Workers Compensation and the Office of Injured Employee Counsel (OEIC) on behalf of the family in an effort to overturn the decision denying the family workers compensation benefits. CLEAT, through the POMF, has become the watchdog for surviving families who lose a loved one in the line of duty. Far too many cases exist where families have failed to receive the benefits they are entitled to either because of the bureaucracy involved in the claims process or because the benefits were unjustly denied.
11 2011 CLEAT Convention Held in Corpus Christi Officer Darrell Campbell receives the medal of valor for his bravery during a shooting in which he was injured in the line of duty. With the defense of public retirement benefits on the minds of most in attendance, members travelled to Corpus Christi for the 35th annual CLEAT convention October 20-22nd. CLEAT pollster Todd M. Smith and political consultant Nancy Fisher addressed CLEAT leaders at a retirement seminar on Thursday in which the focus was the recent attacks on public pensions. Smith relayed that public attitudes on defined benefit retirements are not as negative as national pundits would have you believe. When those polled learn the facts, such as most public safety employees do not participate in social security and contribute 6 to 14% of their income to their own pension, then polling results were found to be favorable. For example, in the poll commissioned by CLEAT, 95% of those polled believe that police officers deserve a descent retirement and 69% believe it should be higher than those in the private sector. Nancy Fisher was called in to help during the 2011 legislative session when local agreed to pension legislation for Austin Police and Fire came under attack. Opponents attacked the bills with misinformation and the key was educating legislators on the truth. She praised CLEAT for efforts made within the internal political process to overcome the opposition and move the legislation forward. In the general session on Friday, President Todd Harrison addressed the membership on the state of CLEAT. He reminded members that CLEAT was formed by regular cops 35 years ago to bring rights like civil service, collective bargaining, and arbitration to the rank and file. They did it by organizing and meeting in hotel rooms across the state, including a hotel room in Corpus Christi not far from the current convention hotel. Since then, the membership has grown to over 18,500. Despite tough economic times, CLEAT s growth and finances are strong, he said. He also reminded members that CLEAT s books are open records to anyone interested in how CLEAT has invested or spent the members money or if you are a CLEAT Page 11 member with a question, our staff is ready to assist you. Sean Smoot, of the Illinois Police Benevolent Protective Association addressed the membership. Smoot outlined the fight to defend police pensions and benefits in Illinois. Smoot discussed the PBPA We are One campaign and the importance of educating both the public and legislators as to the truth. He explained that organized opposition in all of the national attacks on pension benefits is coordinated through the use of a process known as astroturfing which is a form political advocacy that is designed to give the appearance of a grassroots movement when in fact the attack is orchestrated by a political group or entity with a predetermined agenda. He pointed out that millionaires like the Koch brothers are behind a lot of these astroturf campaigns. Also, on Friday, members heard from Brent Hatch from the Texas Division of Workers Compensation. Mr. Hatch discussed the new changes to the Texas Workers Comp system for first responders. These changes were a result of legislation developed and passed by CLEAT during the last legislative session. On Saturday, members honored those who Lt. Governor David Dewhurst was the keynote speaker at the 2011 CLEAT Convention in Corpus Christi have made great sacrifices protecting the public the past year. In an emotional presentation, members remembered 20 officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the last 12 months. Medals of Valor were also awarded to Sergeant Patricia Lenoir (Sweetwater), Officer Lee Ortiz (Snyder), and Corporal Darrell Campbell (Snyder). Lt. Governor David Dewhurst addressed the membership and thanked CLEAT for the support shown over the years. Dewhurst outlined important legislation supported by CLEAT that he we was able to help through the legislative The Honor Guard from the Corpus Christi Police Department presents the colors at the opening of the convention process as the president of the Texas Senate. Dewhurst also addressed the retirement issue and committed to ensuring that officers pensions are secure in the future. CLEAT also honored the following award winners, Corpus Christi Police Officers Association CLEAT Local Association of the Year, Brownsville Police Officers Association CLEAT Organizing Award, Wayne Vincent (Austin) Ludwig Bruno Award, Jose Marrufo (El Paso County) Douglas Ward Award, Michael Helle (San Antonio) Reuben Cisneros Award, Edward Garces (Brownsville) Lifetime Achievement Award, Ron Martin (El Paso) Brass Balls Award, Edward Martin (Jefferson County) Legislative Steward Award. CLEAT s Regional Directors also awarded Officer of the Year awards to a members from their regions. CLEAT congratulates the following winners: Sergeant Antonio Molina, Jr. (Region 1B), Deputy Cynthia Hooper (Region 2), Detective Michael Helle (Region 3A), Deputy Loudes Najara (Region 3B), Deputy Luis Alva (Region 3C), Officer Henry Rivera (Region 4A), Detention Officer Jean-Claude Drouin (Region 4B), Officer Lee Ortiz (Region 5), Sergeant Landis Cravens (Region 6), Detective Edward Martin (Region 7), Lieutenant Gary Rosch (Region 8A), Sergeant Sam Stock (Region 8B), and Sergeant Brad Meyer (Region 9). In new business, a number of proposed constitutional amendments were tabled. President Todd Harrison announced that a two-day constitutional convention would be called next year to develop constitutional changes that can be supported by all groups in CLEAT. Pictures from the convention can be found online at
12 PRESRT STD US Postage PAID Permit No. 1 Austin, Texas 400 W. 14th Street, Suite 200 Austin, TX Change Service Requested CLEAT Mourns the Loss of Attorney, Friend, Valued Employee CLEAT is sad for the loss of beloved friend and CLEAT attorney, Richard Aman. Richard s death is a terrible blow to all of the staff. Staff members who have had the privilege of working with Richard throughout his 16 years at CLEAT recognize and appreciate his professionalism, loyalty to CLEAT, and decency. CLEAT asks for prayer for the comfort of his wife Pam, daughter Katie, and his terrific secretary Maria Merheb. The days beyond will be very difficult for all of them. Richard Aman was the senior staff attorney assigned to the Houston Office. He had been associated with CLEAT since He worked as staff attorney for the former Houston Police Officers Association (now known as the Houston Police Officers Union) before joining CLEAT. Richard handled numerous disciplinary arbitrations and employee litigation issues for CLEAT. He was admitted to the State Bar of Texas in 1979 and was admitted to practice in all courts in the state and the US District Court for the Southern District of Texas. He held a Doctor of Jurisprudence Degree from the University of Toledo, a MA in Journalism from Ohio State University (Columbus) and a BS in Journalism from Ohio State University (Athens). (Henry Nava continued from Page 4) Teresa Nava-Salazar said at first she thought her son might just be going through a phase but as his requests became more frequent, every day, she relented. I didn t know how serious he really was at first but over time I came to see how important this was to him, she says his father wanted this name for him in the beginning but I thought our son should have his own name so we agreed on the name Justin. If I had known what the future held her voice trails off as she smiles at Henry. He s just been grinning ear to ear since last Thursday. He s just so proud and happy to have his daddy s name. When asked how his classmates, friends and family have handled the change. Henry grins and says everyone is making the switch. I don t want them to call me Justin, now it s Henry, he adds Mom and my sister Kay- Leigh have more name issues than anybody else. They sometimes forget. One cousin wants to shorten it to Tres since its Henry III. Henry breaks into James Brown s I feel good and twists back and forth in his chair when he describes how the name change has affected him. He plans to celebrate the name change every year like an extra birthday. He Left to right: Henry Nava, CLEAT Attorney Richard Carter and Teresa Nava Salazar raises his eyebrows in anticipation. I ll call it Happy Henry Day. Mom has already agreed. Teresa believes this is part of the Dear Judge, My name is Justin Henry Nava. I would like to change my name to Henry Nava III. The reason is because my daddy wanted that to always be my name, and my daddy died on in the line of duty. And it would be my honor to have his name. Thank you, Justin. healing process. Henry s older sister KayLeigh went to see the man who murdered their father, looked him in the eye and spent three hours asking him questions that he d agreed to answer. She points out that each child has handled the grief differently. She says her son wants to visit his father s grave while his daughter doesn t want to. The name change is Henry s way to honor his father. It s been his decision and I ve come to support it. He is the last male member of his father s family. He wants to carry on that name, she says. Hank left a legacy, Henry is part of that. People come up to us in the grocery store to tell us how Hank helped them in some way, influenced them in some way, did something positive in the community that we never even knew about. He was an extremely giving person, he was like that in his personal life, he was like that in his professional life. He was just that kind of cop and that kind of person. CLEAT Senior Attorney Richard Carter handled the case pro-bono and the members of the Fort Worth Police Officers Association insisted on paying the legal and court costs for Henry s big decision. Upon being thanked, Richard Carter assures the Nava family that he would have paid just to stand in the courtroom that day. Even the judge was excited by this case. The officers who were there were personal friends of Hank s and part of his SWAT team. I was super proud to play some small part in making this kid s dream come true. It goes to the heart of what CLEAT is all about, said Carter. As for young Henry, he is at peace with his decision. I thought about it for a year. My dad is always in my heart, he says placing his hand against his chest. Now I carry on the Henry name. Page 12