Vest Carriers

Exterior Vest Carrier

Due to the pending summer heat, the following exterior vest has been approved by the Chief for immediate use. Note this is not the same vest that has uniform pockets and buttons. It is a plain blue exterior vest that matches ouruniform and has the same pocket configuration as the previously approved vest.

Wills For Heroes

The MPA facilitated Will for Heroes visiting Mesa PD. They will be here Saturday, April 28, 2007 to provide wills, living wills, health care and financial power of attorney for Officers and spouses. Appointments generally run for an hour. Members are encouraged to take advantage of these services. For more information, contact Cheryl Coon X3835 or anyone from the Media Relations Office.

Search & Seizure Training

At our request, the Chief has approved use of the Mesa Police training facilities for search and seizure training provided by Dale Anderson. The MPA will schedule his appearance sometime in June. We hope this will help and better protect our membership by brushing up on search and seizure issues. Ultimately, this will help us all do our job better. If you have a specific search and seizure issues you wish addressed, please forward them to us in time for inclusion. Knowledge is the key to better protection in this area. Please, take advantage of it when the announcements are made. Details tofollow.

Junior Badges

The MPA has ordered Mesa Police junior badges for members to distribute to the children of Mesa. When they become available, we will distribute them to members. This is a great time to do some positive PR in the community. Children love the badge stickers and we love providing them. These badges will feature the new department’s 125 year badge. They will be coming soon.

Percentage Based Dues

The membership voted to switch to a percentage based due structure. This percentage is based on the topped out pay rate of an officer, which is a fixed amount. This also allows for changes to dues to take effect immediately, instead of the old method that required every member to fill out a new form any time there was a change. The old way was labor intensive and took months to accomplish. The new percentage based dues allow the change to take effect right away.

It is anticipated dues may be increased to cover rising costs of legal representation and for a full time release position. This means a full time Officer devoted to ensuring you are represented and get the benefits and pay your deserve. As of this date, dues have not increased and are still only $15.00 per check. Any changes still need to be approved by membership. The only change at this time is switching to percentage based due rate, which will be equivalent to $15.00. Membership decided to cap the maximum amount that dues can ever go up to about $21.00. However, any change requires a vote and again, due are currently only $15.00.

Police Gun Carry Bill Becoming Arizona Law

The Arizona Police Association (APA), which MPA is a part of, had two issues that were resolved with the recent adoption of HB2457. Off-duty Officers will no longer be prohibited from carrying weapons in Glendale Arena. Secondly, MCC can prohibit its AZ POST certified Officers from being armed, while they carry out their Peace Officer duties. Currently, they are unarmed. In light of the recent Virginia Tech tragedy, they should be armed and now with this new law they will be.

The law will be signed by the Governor and become effective in 90 days. It prohibits state, city, county, towns and their political subdivisions from prohibiting AZ POST qualified Officers from carrying firearms. There are reasonable exceptions. For more information, look at the bill at the Arizona Legislature website. Great work from the APA on be- half of certified Police Officers from MCC, who are also a member of the APA.

In speaking with these Officers, they are hoping to reach the point where they can respond and handle all law enforcement calls on their campus. This would alleviate Dobson Station Officers from having to take numerous vehicle burglaries and other bookstore related thefts on their campus. This frees our Officers to fight crime elsewhere or supplement campus police patrols, when problems arise. It is a great example of how the APA is helping Mesa Officers by getting good legislation passed. Kudos to the APA.

Legal Issues

The MPA raised legal issues regarding how the department determines what to forward to MCAO regarding Brady issues, procedure for release of internal affairs files and who represents Officers regarding those requests. The Police Department has hired a new Legal Advisor (Nancy Sorensen formally from Detroit). The MPA will work with the new Advisor on these issues to ensure your interests are represented.

Form IV Fiasco

The Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court recently issued an order to change all form IV’s immediately, but no later than May 7, 2007. The changes are meant to comply with proposition 100 (deny bail for illegal aliens for certain offenses). The question that will be added is “Has the person entered or remained in the United States illegally?” The answers possible are yes or no. The Officer is then expected to list the “probable cause”. Here are some issues that this presents.

The suspect may think they are here illegally, but may be eligible for amnesty, exclusion, exemption, or asylum under any of the previous numerous immigration acts, treaties or federal statutes. The last immigration act alone was over 700 pages long. Federally, persons are entitled to removal hearings before a federal court. Relief from removal can come in the form of exemptions like battered spouses or children, seven year law, ten year law, NACARA Relief, asylum or persecution under INA 241(b)(3). Mesa cops have no trained in this. The suspect doesn’t have to know if they are illegal; Officers do as this pertains to the probable cause determination. What you put in the form IV is going to be used to hold the suspect in jail for days until a hearing can be held. The Arizona & Federal constitutions grant person the rights to bail. It’s not difficult to see that any civil rights violation claim will be filed against the cops, not the judges or the authors of proposition 100. The judges have made clear it is the Executive Branch’s responsibility to provide them with accurate information.

If the suspect has already invoked his right to an attorney before giving any statement that can be used against him, can you even ask him if he has entered or remained illegally in the U.S. (a crime)? Our current policy prohibits any questioning once the person asks for an attorney.

These issues were presented to the Chief. At this stage it is too early to tell how this will be resolved. Due to our lack of training, I don’t know how anyone can honestly answer yes to the question without being as knowledgeable and trained as an ICE Agent. It is hoped the courts or department can provide proper direction before this negatively impacts us on the street level. Stay tuned.

Salary & Benefits News

The MPA met with Mesa City Management to discuss our proposals this year. City Manager Chris Brady has agreed to include a 3% COLA for all city employees effective July 1, 2007 in his proposed budget to the City Council. He has also agreed to include a market salary adjustment to help Mesa remain competitive with the market. This equates to a 5% salary adjustment for Police Officers effective July 1, 2007, subject to City Council approval of the budget.

These two MPA proposals were our main focus this year in discussions with the city. Additionally, a tuition reimbursement increase to $2800 was requested by MPA and Fire has been placed in the budget pending Council approval.

The MPA solely requested reimbursement for training classes not covered by tuition reimbursement guidelines. In agreement with the Chief, these classes should generally be eligible for AZ POST credit. The city will adjust the department’s training budget to cover some of these expenses. More training opportunities for our troops are always a good thing.

The MPA proposed the elimination of the mandatory 16 hour sick leave usage by employees when involved in an industrial injury. We discussed this policy’s negative effects on morale, particularly when the employee is simply doing their job, doesn’t want to be injured, has no control over the circumstances and is simply attacked while doing their job. The MPA is working with management to refine definitions and come up with a better solution than currently exists. We are encouraging the Council to support coverage without penalty for any on-duty related injury. We will keep you posted.

Career enhancement pay is on life support. The MPA will be meeting with Council this week to convey the importance of at least having some pay of CEP, even if only at pay level 1. The city advised they were not opposed to the program, but funding is the hurdle. If we can educate Council on the importance of this program, perhaps level 1 pay will be possible. We will also keep you posted on this.

We agreed to table the MPA’s proposal to increase vacation accrual rates until next year. This is a matter of timing and budget concerns.

The MPA stood in support of Fire’s proposal for vacation salary instead of vacation time during the last 3 years of service. This is a benefit Phoenix, Tempe and Chandler currently enjoys, some also include their sick time. The MPA asked previous administrations for this benefit, which went hand and hand with several retirement/health care plans we proposed. The city did not feel comfortable offering this to Mesa employees at that time. The MPA is also supporting fire’s implementation of a 401A plan. This still needs some work, but Fire is heading down the right road. This benefit is also enjoyed by Phoenix. We will assist and support fire as needed to get these benefits passed. The MPA will keep you updated as developments occur on these most important of issues. As always, stay safe and wear your vest!