Vice President’s Message: The Time is Now to be Involved!

Rick Perine

Rick Perine

September 11th, 2001 – A date engrained in the minds of all of us and especially in the minds of the men and women of law enforcement.

We saw the best in our brothers and sisters of the badge facing a foe so massive that the odds were clearly stacked against them. While people attempted to flee from the burning towers for their lives, a small group armed with bravery went in to hell to get as many fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, husbands, and wives out as they could. Police officers from all over the country, brave officers, offered to help in any way they could.

Unselfish acts of bravery in the face of unbeatable odds.

Shortly after those tragic events in New York City, I can remember people, many strangers, thanking me for my service as a police officer. I relished it. In a job where you sometimes feel you are unappreciated by the general public, during those dark days we had a feeling that now the public recognizes what it is that we police officers go through, because you never truly know, unless you take the oath.

Fast forward ten years later – September 11th, 2011

It’s been ten years since that fateful day. A myriad of things have happened – wars, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, a recession, George Gascon and so forth. You would think, that given the severity of those tragic events that our profession would see a sort of renaissance, and for a short time it did. Yet there are those people, elected officials or running for office, blaming public safety pensions for the debts accrued by our cities and probably even for the recession itself. It is as if elected officials have forgotten in ten years how some of us are willing face tragedy and confront grave circumstances head on.  Currently we are experiencing haste actions mostly by those who profess to support law enforcement.  Over the years, these individuals or groups wanted our organization to support a candidate, legislation or even for a ball park.  In return, the MPA asked for their continued support for our frontline officers and their families.  However, these same individuals have turned their back on you and want to diminish your benefits for the sake of popularity and votes.

Currently there is a push, countrywide, to get rid of our “lucrative” pensions. I am sorry, but I got into this profession realizing I would probably not get rich doing it. However, I did get into it believing that my family and I would have a decent retirement package at the end of my career. I thought, when I got sworn in, that my family and I had won the lottery because I was one of few people in the world able to qualify for a noble profession, with a promised benefits and retirement package. Well the profession is still noble, but as far as the other two are concerned, it remains to be seen. I think great is starting to (or already has) slide down to good or barely existent.

I see young officers, with young families, who have not had any merit increases in years. I have seen friends who have had to walk away from their homes because they can no longer afford them. I have seen veteran officers, who are at the twilight of their careers, being asked to do more with less. Actually, we are ALL being told to do more with less: less money, less benefits, and less people. There is more to less though; such as more money being forked over for gas, more being taken out of our wages to pay for our pension, and our health insurance, etc., etc.  This has to STOP.

You would think that as time went by in our careers that maybe pay or benefits would get better, but they have not. You would think our pensions are safe, but they are not.  I have the same fears and frustrations as the rest of you, but I am trying to keep our salaries and benefits from falling further, and hoping to even try to make things better. I cannot do it alone. No one can do it alone. The MPA will need you and your family’s help. I encourage you to send me ideas and your opinions. I alone am not the MPA, but we are and I think together we can make great strides in making what we have successful for us and our families.  Collectively, we can make a difference.

Thank you and be safe.

Rick Perine

Vice President – Mesa Police Association