IN A CONVERSATION BETWEEN UNION MEMBERS LAST MONTH one member suggested that the Union doesn’t provide enough benefits. The second member said that flat wasn’t so and provided the proverbial “bullets” to prove the point. The Badge & Gun took the following notes.
The Houston Police Officers Union provides:
- Legal representation from the scene until, in most cases, final legal disposition.
- Close affiliation with Assist the Officer in case of financial strain resulting from accident or illness.
- Police Trust for prompt service for insurance claims.
- Insurance benefits that go far beyond city insurance coverage.
- An annual scholarship program benefiting the college freshman sons and daughters of members.
- Co-sponsorship of all annual Police Week activities, including the Heroes Luncheon and Friday night Police Memorial service.
- Sponsorship of trips to Austin and Washington, D.C. for the surviving families of HPD line-of-duty-death victims.
- Frequent sponsorships of golf tournaments, races and other events benefiting charities or other non-profits.
- Recognition of the outstanding work of HPD officers with its monthly Patrol Officer and Investigator of the Month honors.
- Operates a store that provides HPD and HPOU attire and supplies at a very low cost.
- Carries on full-time lobbying efforts in the Legislature to ensure that HPD officers and their families are not victimized by legislation harmful to law enforcement in general and their benefits in particular.
- Sponsors a highly successful and truly effect Political Action Committee (PAC) that has ensured that HPOU can count on its friends and supporters on the Houston City Council and the Harris County Delegation in the Legislature.
- Sponsors cookouts at each and every HPD station.
- Promotes the Christmas Day and Thanksgiving Day turkey dinners at the Union for on-duty officers and their families.
- Opens its meeting room facilities for special fundraisers for HPD officers in need of extra money to cover the high cost of medical bills.
- Founded and provides a peer counseling program available to all members 24/7. It is known as HOPA.
- Believes in close family ties, an ideal manifested in the annual HPOU Family Picnic held in October or November.
- Constantly aims to help its members save money. One example: financial planning seminars that would cost each member $500 if sought from the private sector.
- Sponsors and helps to promote community events conducted by individual stations or divisions that are geared to enhance HPD’s relationships with Houston’s diverse communities. Examples: the shoe program and the Thanksgiving Food Program.
- Honors long-standing traditions such as the Livestock Show & Rodeo’s Calf Scramble that help maintain a positive HPD officer imager in Houston.
- Provides assistance with medical benefits and related medical issues.
- Provides assistance with all payroll issues.
- Provides assistance with workman’s comp issues.
- Provides instant back-up support to officers involved in news-worthy events, presenting the officer’s side of the story to all members of the news media.
- Provides the “taxi cab” program for officers who are off-duty but may have had one too many.
- Provides a state-of-the-art Internet identity protection program
- Provides membership in the Fraternal Order of Police.
- Provides access to HPOU’s free mobile app.
This list was recorded in no particular order of importance. We very likely have left out one benefit or another and can assure HPOU members that their number of benefits will surely increase as the year goes on.
Oh, yes, there is another that just came to mind: If you need help with any issue, an HPOU Union rep is available 24/7, starting with your president, Joe Gamaldi, whose cell phone number and email address can be found many places, including – yes! – in another benefit, the HPOU pocket calendar book.