The Union’s level 4 vest acquisition partnership with the Houston Police Foundation is off to a good start and will certainly continue

After the assassination of five Dallas police officers in July, HPOU 2nd Vice President Joe Gamaldi began working to get outer vests well capable of stopping a high-powered rifle round.

We made an arrangement with the Houston Police Foundation to seek tax-deductible donations to be used to buy the vests for Houston officers.

The HPOU and The Texas Police Trust each made the first $15,000 donations.  Those contributions were immediately followed by generous $2,500 donations from HPOU’s Deferred Comp Provider, Public Safety Financial Group, as well as a $2,000 gift from the Shane Detwiler Foundation.

KTRH’s Matt Patrick had Joe on his show promoting the campaign and additional donations quickly came forth. Joe spoke with Charlene Floyd, executive director of the Houston Police Foundation, and advised her of these significant amounts. Charlene contacted Tillman Fertitta, foundation chairman, who readily agreed to move forward to purchase the first round of level 4 vests even though all funds needed had not yet been received.

The HPOU is most appreciative of the foundation’s assistance and especially appreciative of Assistant Chief Vazquez and Acting Chief of Police Montalvo for moving quickly to allow the vests to be worn.

While each officer will not be issued a vest, this special new equipment may be checked out from the radio room when an officer gets the keys to his or her shop.  As more funds are received, we will purchase more vests.

This process could not have been done so quickly were it not for the persons mentioned above and several in SWAT, including Officer Marco Lopez, Sgt. Thomas Calabro and Lt. Thomas Hardin, who assisted in selecting the best vest for the money.

If any of you encounter citizens or business owners wishing to make a contribution for additional vests, please have them make the check payable to the Houston Police Foundation with “Vests” in the memo.  Those checks may be mailed or delivered to the HPOU. Remember to point out that these contributions are tax-deductible.

Health Assessments/Wellness

It’s that time of the year again.  Health assessments for employees and spouses must be completed between now and Dec. 5 in order to be eligible for the cheaper insurance rates in May 2017.

Visit your doctor in order to obtain you biometric numbers for the assessment.  All employees and spouses must also complete a wellness engagement option beginning Nov. 1. HOWEVER, failure to complete the health assessment by this coming Dec. 5 will not permit you to receive the cheaper insurance rates even if you complete a wellness engagement option.

Follow these three steps and you will receive the cheaper insurance rates beginning May 1, 2017.

Step 1:  Employee and spouse get your biometric numbers from your doctor or at an onsite biometric screening event. (Schedules will be posted soon at houstonwellnessconnection.org).

Step 2:  Employee and spouse complete separate health assessments at mycigna.com by Dec. 5. (Spouses must create their own myCigna.com account to complete the health assessment.)

Step 3:  Employee and spouse complete one wellness option each by March 10, 2017.  Preventive Care Activities must be completed by Jan. 31, 2017.  For more information about wellness options, visit houstonwellnessconnection.org and click on “Win for Life.”

These groups are exempt from participating in the wellness program:

  1. Employees on FMLA (August 1-December 5, 2016)
  2. Employees out on Workers Compensation (August 1-December 5, 2016)
  3. Employees out on Military Leave (August 1 – December 5, 2016)
  4. Employees on Phase Down
  5. Spouses who are identified as being pregnant (Information provided by Cigna)
  6. Employees whose medical benefits begin on or after September 1, 2016

Intercessors of Houston Prayer Altar

Several months ago, HPD Officer Barry Curtis introduced me to a Christian group, Intercessors of Houston, who was wanting to start a prayer altar at the HPOU.

The HPOU Board agreed to allow this group space on the first floor of 1602 State Street.  The goal is for there to be ministers from the Houston area in that room 24 hours a day, seven days a week to pray for our officers, our leaders and our city.

So far, the staffing has been primarily done 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday-Friday, but the leader, John Moore, is working to move to a 24/7 altar.  Feel free to stop by and visit, leave a prayer request, or just check out the room.

If any of you would like to refer someone to Mr. Moore, you may contact him through Doug Griffith or myself.