We often get asked the question “What exactly does PLEA do for us?” Another question often asked is “I never get in trouble, so why do I need PLEA?” First, if you never get into any trouble or have any issues with the Department, good for you! I hope you can continue this streak. Many of your brothers and sisters on the Department aren’t so fortunate. I would like to point out that even if you don’t get into any issues with the Department, you are still benefiting from all that PLEA does for our membership behind the scenes.
The saying holds true: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.
This year alone, PLEA has attended over 472 meetings for the membership. We are making it clear in these meetings what our members’ needs are. The saying holds true: “If you don’t have a seat at the table, you’re probably on the menu.” These meetings are with various areas of the City that include:
- City labor management
- Police labor management
- Various citywide workgroups
- City manager meetings
- City Council meetings
- Health care task force meetings
- DCP/PEHP board meetings
- PSPRS local board meetings
- DOJ meetings
- City of Phoenix Coalition of Unions meetings
- Department staffing meetings
- Assistant chief meetings
- Human Resources meetings
Some of the issues covered in these meetings are officer rights, pay, leave benefits, light duty issues, health care and retirement issues. Our meetings with the Fourth Floor cover topics related to discipline issues, transfer issues, supervisor issues and staffing issues. This year has been exceptionally busy, as we also dealt with Human Resources regarding the comp and class study and the retention bonus. In addition, we also hold our membership and Board meetings monthly; meet with our public relations firm, Camelback Strategies; and attend meetings with community leaders. All these meetings have one goal in common: to benefit the membership. PLEA is constantly advocating for its members, which means we are always fighting for you in all aspects of your employment with the City of Phoenix.
Unfortunately, sometimes you need PLEA when discipline matters occur. This is one item near and dear to me, and I am confident in saying it is an area that PLEA excels in. It is paramount that our representatives have current and relevant training regarding Garrity, Weingarten, Brady and discipline investigations. This year, PLEA representatives have taken over 340 hours of advanced training to ensure we are providing the best representation for our members. We have assisted members in over 200 discipline investigations this year alone, and have attended the following discipline meetings:
- IRP (Investigative Review Process): 30
- Use of Force, Response to Resistance boards: 20
- Grievance meetings: 5
- Loudermill hearings: 8
- Callout to officer-involved shootings: 20
- DRB (Discipline Review Board): 6
Our reps have been successful in mitigating discipline for our members by supporting and walking officers through the discipline process. Because of PLEA’s vigorous and robust representation, many cases end in a better outcome than expected by our members. We have also saved several officers’ careers through the relationships we have built with the executive staff and City management. When we don’t get the desired decision we seek, we have fought in civil service and AZPOST hearings with the assistance of our outstanding legal team.
I would be remiss if I did not mention the hundreds of hours our Board members and reps have spent on the phone with officers, assisting in answering questions and concerns. I hope that after reviewing all that PLEA does behind the scenes, you are confident that we are a benefit to you and your career as a Phoenix police officer. I encourage members to call the office if you have any questions or concerns we can address.