We look forward to achieving great things in the coming year
PRESIDENT’S REPORT – By MARK DIAZ
On behalf of the Detroit Polices Officers Association Union leadership, we wish all of our members, our friends, families and the many supporters of our great law enforcement family a safe and wonderful 2017.
This past year was not without its challenges as we made changes within the organization that were long overdue. If we proved anything, it is that where there might be comfort in the status quo, all too often the status quo is not the very best for our members. We must continue to explore ways to improve the services our Union provides for our members. The DPOA leadership is always open to ideas that will better serve our members. If there’s one thing we’ve all seen in the past is some people only have ideas to improve the OUR Union when they’re campaigning. We are Union brothers and sisters together. Improving our Union benefits us all and sharing ideas to improve our Union is an exercise in unity.
We look forward to achieving great things this year on behalf of our membership. We started off on a great note already as I was seated, through legislation, on the MCOLES Board. This prestigious seat was lost by the DPOA in 2011 but through solid lobbying, our seat has been restored. Being the largest Police Department in the State of Michigan, it is imperative we are represented and preserve our position on the MCOLES Board.
The New Year has started off wonderfully with our citizens speaking out in a very loud voice that they support us. The Wayne County Prosecutor’s attacks on the law enforcement community have been answered by our citizens, who declared in that one loud voice that Police Officers Charles Lynem and Chancellor Searcy are NOT criminals!
Not to be outdone, the Honorable Qiana Lillard, in a separate case, declared a mistrial for Officer John McKee and Officer Steve Fultz who the Wayne County Prosecutor was yet again trying to portray as criminals. Let’s not forget though, in Wayne County it isn’t considered an act of terrorism to spray paint on walls messages to kill police officers, nor is it an act of terrorism to post to social media messages directing people to kill all white cops. I believe the response from the Wayne County Prosecutors office was something to the point of it isn’t a crime if it they were in a different area code or something like that. Thank God for Attorney General Bill Schuette, who heard us and picked up where we were failed. Thank God for the jurors, who rendered a decision of NOT GUILTY for Lynem and Searcy in less than a half hour of deliberating. Thank God for Judge Lillard, who immediately identified the inappropriate prosecution of McKee and Fultz and declared a mistrial. Yes, 2017 is looking better already.
We are anxiously waiting the final costing on the request for pricing from the City of Detroit for active member health insurance. As discussed with the Mayor’s Office, when we get a better plan the City will host a sp ecial open enrollment for Public Safety. We sincerely appreciate Mayor Duggan meeting with the DPOA leadership and agreeing to a pay raise inside of the bankruptcy contract but the cost for health insurance in 2017 has not only absorbed that raise we received in January of 2016 but costs more.
With people leaving the Department at a steady pace to seek employment anywhere else that pays their employees properly and provides adequate benefits, I’m afraid the war on attrition is rapidly approaching a point where services to our citizens are being greatly diminished. The solution is simple. Detroit has to start paying more than other police departments and living up to promises to take care of our retirees in their golden years. If not, all of the hard work and investments in the City of Detroit is going to be all for not and in 10 years Detroit will look like it did in the 1990s.
Though last year had its good times, I can’t help but think of the attacks on Police Officers. With the senseless killing of Ken Steil and Myron Jarrett while people throughout our nation protested against police officers accusing us of being criminals, I am hopeful 2017 will find us going in a new and better direction. I am hopeful 2017 will find us going in a direction that does not entail the Wayne County Prosecutors Office waging war on our peacekeepers. I am hopeful 2017 does not find us going in a direction of legislators attacking what’s left of our benefits after bankruptcy stripped so much away. I am hopeful 2017 will find our brothers and sisters coming together and putting radicals and their divisive rhetoric behind us.
Most important, I am hopeful 2017 will be the year all of our brothers and sisters come home safely at the end of their shifts.