With all the negativity going around and the rumors of displeasure with how PLEA is handling some of the many issues we are all facing, I felt compelled to send you this note of remembrance and encouragement.
Let me take you back about 10 years, long before many of the vocal complainers were even on the department. I was part of a group known as PLEA 2001. This group came together under, what some would argue were, similar circumstances to the issues facing PLEA today. There was dissatisfaction with the way many things were being handled: management relations, internal investigations, political stances, etc. Several of us attended the meetings, voiced our opinions, did everything we could to enact the changes we felt were necessary. But change didn’t happen. Not because of our unwillingness to get involved but because of the leadership of PLEA. A leadership rife with upper-management connections and affiliations that were improper and detrimental to the membership of PLEA. Detrimental to us. When we took the proper steps to see these changes through, instead of addressing the issues, the leaders of PLEA went after the individuals trying to get make the changes. Phone calls were made, investigations were started, records were hidden, and favors were called in. We had enough. Everybody said, “if you don’t like the way things are being done, run for office.” So we did. And we lost. Most of it by landslide margins.
But did we actually lose? I would say no, we won a victory that has only blossomed to this day. Remember, we were after change, not political positions. I would argue that there was not a one of us who was part of that group that ever aspired to be anything more than good cops. One needs only look at the careers of those involved to see their level of dedication to this department. We had no goals other than to see the members of this department represented the way they should be; fairly and with no influences other than the rights and desires of the membership. I believe that we truly did win because the changes we were after were achieved. Perhaps not in the way that we envisioned but ultimately, we got what we wanted, what the membership deserved.
So to those that have issue with the way things are being done, I say two things. First, look at the past. You may not like the way every issue is addressed but I can assure you that the people in charge now are doing everything within their power to satisfy the needs of the members, not their own personal agendas. Secondly, if you don’t like things the way they are, change them. Attend the meetings, propose changes, and if all else fails, run for office. I did. And while the results at the time were not what I wanted, in the long run I won. You won. The changes that came about 10 years ago have benefited every person, member or not, on this department.
Mark, I commend you and the rest of the leaders at PLEA for your years of service. There wasn’t always a time in which “leaders” and “PLEA” could be used in the same sentence but I feel now, more than ever, the two go hand in hand. I don’t envy the task that all of you have taken on but I applaud you for what you have done. You have taken this organization to a level of respect that was absent for many years. Even I may not agree with every decision that is made but I appreciate the dedication of everyone at PLEA for their willingness to give the effort on behalf of the officers of the Phoenix Police Department.
On behalf of one of the most vocal of complainers, I now say, Thank You.
Officer/Pilot Brent Bundy
Phoenix Police Department
Air Support Unit