Tags: Law Enforcement | police unions | protected

4 Reasons Police Unions Should Be Protected

By    |   Monday, 29 June 2015 06:01 PM

New York police officers banded together as they silently turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio, who they felt neglected to support officers during the controversy surrounding the shooting death of Eric Garner in late 2014. With police tensions at their peak in the United States, police have more incentive than ever to unionize and protect their rights.

When police forces, such as those in New York, do not feel they can rely on government to protect their rights, police unions are a viable option that can provide numerous benefits.

Here are some of the main reasons police unions are worth protecting.

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1. Health Benefits
“We don’t really prepare people for coming in and seeing a traumatic situation that is going on,” Ken Allen, President of the Atlanta Police Union told WGCL-TV in 2014 when he was pushing for legislation that would help fund PTSD treatment for affected officers. Police officers have a physically and mentally taxing job that often makes extra health benefits, such as PTSD treatment, necessary. Unions help police obtain such benefits.

2. Community Relations
Contrary to the belief that police unions worsen relations between police forces and their communities, the Cleveland Police Patrolman’s Association (CPPA), an Ohio union, published a letter in May 2015 outlining ways in which the group hopes to improve relations with the community. The CPPA suggested regular meetings with religious leaders, community policing oriented policies and increased communication with the public, reported WKYC-TV.

3. Workplace Benefits
In 1986, the International Union of Police Associations (IUPA) lobbied for the passage of several amendments to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which established a national minimum wage, employment standards and regulations for all industries. These amendments helped ensure police officers worked fair hours, received overtime pay and had a voice in the legal system. Like unions in other industries, police unions help law enforcement workers obtain the rights to which they are entitled.

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4. Safety Standards
Working with other law enforcement agencies, the Fraternal Order of Police helped make the use of body armor and seat belts in police vehicles mandatory. Traffic-related incidents are a leading cause of death among police officers and the union-promoted policies are expected to make policing safer.

"There is a greater realization among all of us that in auto crashes and shootings, officers who are wearing seat belts and vests have a better chance of survival than those who are not,'' James Pasco, Fraternal Order of Police union executive director told USA Today in 2014.

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With police tensions at their peak in the United States, police have more incentive than ever to unionize and protect their rights.
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