This month, PPOA will mark its 70th year of service, and although it may not feel like a time to celebrate this milestone, we must never forget our incredible organization’s honorable and fervent commitment to continuing a tradition of success — yesterday, today and tomorrow.
In 1951, a handful of members from the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office and Marshal’s Department met in the Coroner’s inquest room at the Hall of Records to form the Los Angeles County Peace Officers Protective Association (POPA). Motivated by a 1952 proposal to abolish all public employee retirement systems, our founding fathers wanted to get a pay raise from their monthly salary of $319. POPA’s monthly salary increased by more than 61% in five years, and the pension abolition proposal was defeated. POPA was growing in membership and stature in Los Angeles County. In 1978, the official name of POPA and its acronym changed to the Los Angeles County Professional Peace Officers Association (PPOA), but the original pronunciation has remained.
Now, PPOA enters its 70th year of never wavering from promoting the professional interests of its membership by enhancing their individual and collective rights. The last 10 months have presented the most difficult health, economic, political and social issues to our 9,000 members, our Board of Directors and our staff that we have ever faced in PPOA’s amazing 70-year public safety journey. All of us are truly living and working in unprecedented and historic times, and despite the many battles we are engaged in, PPOA continues confidently, like our predecessors, in committing to continuing a tradition of success.
As PPOA begins its seventh decade of professional service, your union’s effectiveness will continue to thrive as you, the members, continue to elect leaders to the Board of Directors who genuinely care about you and your loved ones’ well-being. The real worry that public safety families have of not knowing if their hero will return from work safely has been exponentially compounded, as every minute of their shift now involves possible exposures to the deadly COVID-19 virus that is prevalent in our jails, communities, courts, hospitals and other work locations. Coming home safely now takes on a whole new stress never before experienced by PPOA members who retired or left County service before March 2020. Your Board of Directors have made it their number one priority to ensure that the Sheriff’s Department, District Attorney’s Office and Department of Medical Examiner do everything in their respective powers to keep you healthy and safe as you discharge your unsung heroic duties as essential workers for the County of Los Angeles.
PPOA will continue its collaborative efforts with the Board of Supervisors, the County CEO and the three department heads to ensure that their workforce is equitably compensated in regard to their wages, hours and working conditions. In December 2020, PPOA extended its current Bargaining Unit 612 Memorandum of Understanding (expires January 31, 2021) for one year with no takeaways or contract language changes. PPOA has been a member organization of the Coalition of County Unions (CCU) since 2019, and we will harness the negotiating power of 13 other unions as we collectively negotiate the Fringe Benefits contract, which expires June 30, 2021. PPOA President Tab Rhodes and your Board of Directors are committed to no takeaways at any of the other bargaining unit wage tables as well as the Fringe Benefits table. PPOA is proud of our past and present track record of negotiating fair and equitable contracts for our members when times are good, bad or uncertain. The successes PPOA has negotiated through collective bargaining are the result of our unified belief that a well-compensated workforce attracts and retains the best professional peace officers and public safety officers from a pool of qualified personnel that is becoming more and more scarce.
PPOA will continue its professional tradition of robust lobbying at the State Capitol. Unfortunately, like last year, we will be forced to take on ill-conceived police reform legislation that is short on facts, emotionally driven and without input from and collaboration by public safety associations.
For the past 70 years, PPOA has been a proactive and imaginative organization that is highly respected by public safety unions as well as elected officials at the local level, statewide and in Washington, D.C. You can rest assured that any opportunities or obstacles that PPOA faces will be met with the same professional and successful resolve that began seven decades ago, continues today and will carry on into our collective future as a unified membership. Happy birthday, PPOA!