- Ohio Attorney General's Law Enforcement Bulletin (April Edition)
- COPS Hiring Program Briefing
- Dont Miss the Boat!
- Ohio Attorney's General Law Enforcement Bulletin (March Edition)
- OPBA Night At Fifth Third Field June 22nd
- OPBA Family Day at Progressive Field June14th Sold Out!
- Market Volatility as The New Norm
- H.R. 218 (The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act) and the New York State Firearms Law
- Heros Behind The Badge
- Receiving Stolen Property: Possession is Not Enough
- Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund
- Collective Bargaining Health Care in 2013
- Mayfield Hts Police Win New Motorcycle!
- Bargaining Outlook
- The Last Chance Agreement and The Union's Rights
- Know Your Rights Concerning Union Representation
- Florence v. Board of Chosen Freeholders
- 2013 Cops Ride June 30
- NAPO ENDORSES NATIONAL "BLUE ALERT" ACT OF 2013
- H.R. 218 (The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act) and the New York State Firearms Law
- Top Cops Nomination Form
- Retirement Rules of Thumb
- Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays...whatever it is you may celebrate.
- Questions Answered
The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A)
OPBA Night At Fifth Third Field June 22nd
At Fifth Third Field,
Saturday, June 22nd, 7:00pm
Dayton Dragons Vs. Lake County Captains
Enjoy a Night Out with Friends and Family in our Group Seats!
Seat in our Group Seats just past 3rd Base
Entry into a group raffle, where one member will receive a Dragons gift item!
2 FREE Tickets to OPBA members in good standing on a first come, first serve basis. ½ Price tickets available -- $13.00 each for additional tickets while supplies last. These prices and tickets are only available through the OPBA. You cannot purchase or pick up tickets at the gate.
Limited tickets available -- CALL today to reserve your tickets. Please call (440) 237-6346 ext 121 or (800) 457-4190. The voicemail box will be monitored weekdays, several times a day. Please be sure to leave your name, department you work for, home address, how many tickets you are requesting and a phone number just in case we need to reach you. Those ordering additional tickets will have two weeks to mail a check or money order to OPBA, Attn: Baseball Tickets, PO Box 338003, North Royalton, OH 44133. If we do not receive payment we will automatically put the tickets back into circulation.
Receiving Stolen Property: Possession is Not Enough
While on patrol, you run a car’s license plate. The car comes back stolen, so you initiate a traffic stop. Should you arrest the driver for Receiving Stolen Property?
That depends. Simply being in possession of stolen property is not enough to warrant a charge of Receiving Stolen Property.
According to the Ohio Revised Code, there are two elements that must be met to prove a charge of Receiving Stolen Property. The first is possessing stolen property. The second is “knowing or having reasonable cause to believe that the property has been obtained through the commission of a theft offense.”
In the above example, the driver is clearly in possession of stolen property. But does he know or have reason to believe that car is stolen? Without proof beyond a reasonable doubt in the affirmative, we cannot obtain a conviction for Receiving Stolen Property.
Why does the law require us to prove a knowledge or reasonable belief of the property being stolen? There are many reasons someone may unwittingly have possession of stolen property. For example, a woman may receive stolen jewelry as a gift. A man could purchase stolen electronics at a pawn shop or second-hand store. In some neighborhoods, it is not uncommon to borrow a car from a friend or even a stranger for a brief amount of time in exchange for money.
So how can you prove that second element? First, take a good look at the property. When was it stolen? The longer the amount of time it was reported stolen, the harder it is to prove that the possessor knows or should know the property is stolen, much less is the person who stole it. Does the suspect have anything that would lead that person to believe he was legally in possession of the property? For example, are the keys in the car? On the flip side, is there anything indicating that the property is stolen, such as a punched ignition or a broken window?
Second, interview the suspect and document all answers in your police report. Get the suspect to talk as much as possible about the property. How did he get the property? How long has he had it? Where did he get it? What does he know about it? If a suspect refuses to say where he received the property or is vague about how he got it, it is easier to prove he knew or should have known the property was stolen.
Prosecutors often use Receiving Stolen Property as an alternative to a Theft charge when we can prove the defendant knew the property was stolen but lack the evidence to prove he actually stole it. We may have some evidence that points to the defendant as the person who stole the property. However, we must still meet the threshold of proving beyond a reasonable doubt that the defendant not only possessed stolen property and knew it was stolen, but that he also actually stole it in order to prosecute the suspect for theft.
Consider someone trying to sell jewelry at a pawn shop. The jewelry matches the description of items stolen during a recent rash of burglaries. The seller claims he received the jewelry when his grandma passed away. An investigation reveals that the seller’s grandma is still living and never owned the jewelry in question. Obviously the seller was in possession of stolen property. And that he lied about the property’s origins proves he had reason to believe the property was stolen. However, there is no evidence other than the stolen jewelry to connect the seller to any of the burglaries. In this case, although we believe he was involved in the burglaries, we can only charge him with Receiving Stolen Property.
Receiving Stolen Property is a good alternative charge to Theft because the thresholds are the same for both charges. Property valued at less than $1,000 is a misdemeanor. Property valued at $1,000 to $7,500 is felony of the fifth degree. Property valued from $7,501 to $150,000 is a felony of the fourth degree. Cars, guns, checks, credit cards and prescription drugs are all felonies of the fourth degree, regardless of their value.
Always remember that possessing stolen property in and of itself is not a crime. A suspect must meet the second element of either knowing or having reason to believe that the property is stolen in order to be charged with Receiving Stolen Property.
This article is not to be considered legal advice. Please consult your police legal advisor regarding any legal issue.
Heros Behind The Badge
Heroes Behind The Badge is a documentary that recounts the harrowing stories of law enforcement officers who were caught in the line of fire and survived, and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. The FBI Citizens Academy Foundation of Cleveland and Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society invites you to the movie screening:
Purchase tickets online at: www.clevelandcinemas.com/moviedetails.asp?id=4443
Ohio Police and Fire Pension Fund
As 2013 brings us the changes we needed to preserve The Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund, the work will still continue to make the fund stronger and stronger. The theme this year will be disability pensions. As we stand, we are one of the few in the country pension funds that offer partial off-duty disability awards. We are also one of the highest awarder of disability pensions in the country with approximately 34% of our retirees being disability grants. The Board of Trustees and the Ohio Retirement Study Council clearly understands that the benefits awarded need to be looked at.
Our process is one of the best in the country. What really becomes the issue is what benefits we pay and what injuries are included in the calculation. Additional factors which increase the benefit also need to be looked at. The Board has added special meetings so that we can timeline these issues and work diligently to make these changes before they are imposed upon us by the legislature. We assure the membership that the Trustees will continue to work toward improving this grant.
On the other end, it may be a little slow on the legislative side so we shouldn't have too much to worry about. We will continue to show the ORSC that we are attempting to make improvements where need be. Our health care stabilization fund is our focus to continue to offer reasonable cost health care for our members and their families. Currently, our health care stabilization fund is healthy and we are looking to keep it that way.
We have recently had a few changes to our administration, John Gallagher is our new Executive Director and Jennifer Harville is our Director of Member Services. John comes to us as the Executive Director of the Chicago Police Pension Fund and has a lot of experience which will help lead our fund moving forward. Jennifer has been with OP&F for some time and is experience in serving our members. Both are great additions to our executive/director staff.
Thank you for your support and please feel free to contact myself should the need arise.
Trustee - Ohio Police & Fire Pension Fund
H.R. 218 (The Law Enforcement Officers Safety Act) and the New York State Firearms Law
The State of New York last week passed sweeping new state level legislation that greatly restricts the ability to own or
Collective Bargaining Health Care in 2013
Collective bargaining in late 2012, early 2013 continues to be marked by uncertainty. In the fall the largest uncertainty was the presidential race. At stake was the means for addressing the economy as well as the survival of the Affordable Healthcare Act, legislation that Mitt Romney vowed to repeal.
After the election the uncertainty regarding the economy persists but the health reform law’s survival was eliminated. Nevertheless, uncertainty about the implementation of the Act and its real impact on both private and public sector employers is still very present and very significant.
It is apparent to your OPBA negotiators that public sector employers are preparing for the law’s uncertainties by stepping up their efforts to shift health care costs away from them and on to you. One way that many are seeking to accomplish this is to gain some form of “spousal exclusion or restriction”.
Long before the Great Recession of 2008 the US economy was forever transformed by the rise of the household with two working spouses. Unlike the generation of your grandparents and maybe even your parents, households containing two working spouses is now the overwhelming norm.
It is also the norm for employers of all types to provide health care coverage to their employees. Health care is such an important benefit for workers that both federal and state lawmakers have passed laws that regulate both health care providers and employer coverages.
The laws that govern health care and pension plans prohibit employers from discriminating amongst its employees in regard to the provision and uniformity of coverage. This has ensured that both female and male employees must be offered the same types and levels of health insurance coverage.
As such, in most cases both spouses of a household have the ability to secure health care coverage from their employer. If this has not been the case, it will be now as the Affordable Care Act requires all employers (except tiny ones), beginning in 2014, to either provide health care coverage to all of its employees or face a costly surcharge.
With health care to be all but guaranteed to every worker, employers have found a new way in their never ending quest to attack rising health care costs. The new concept at our collective bargaining tables is “Spousal Exclusion” or “Spousal Carve-Out”.
Spousal policies and the proposals we get for it generally take one of three (3) forms:
Fortunately the third option is not common. This saves the working spouse whose employer has a clearly inferior and/or more costly (to employee) plan than the other spouse from having to take that plan in lieu of the spouse’s better plan. This sort of exclusion results in a considerable savings to the spouse’s employer, because there is one less body to cover.
The second option is more common and less harsh than complete exclusion. By requiring a spouse to enroll in his or her own plan, the other spouse’s employer saves money because it is only responsible for “secondary coverage” to the excluded spouse. Per this method the secondary employer derives its savings from the fact that it does not pay anything until the deductibles and out-of-pocket maximums are reached under its own (now secondary) plan.
The most common type of spousal exclusion is the system that at the outset excludes all working spouses who have coverage opportunities from their employer. Then it permits such excluded spouse to “buy” back into his or her spouse’s coverage by paying a monthly surcharge.
The size of the spousal surcharge will normally determine the effectiveness and amount of savings for the primary employer. To influence employee behavior such charges must be significant, but if too significant the employer runs the risk of alienating good employees who will not appreciate such charges and the ultimate erosion of income that such a concept entails.
Do working spouse provisions result in significant savings to employers? You bet they do. The only question is how much.
In a family plan the two bodies that will almost always cost the most are the husband and wife. They are now, or will become, of the age when they will incur the procedures and take the medication that are most costly to insurers.
While everyone thinks that children eat up health care costs, their multiple visits to the doctor’s office for the ear infection and their antibiotics are relatively cheap. Normally they are not hospitalized and they are not forced to take expensive maintenance prescriptions.
Eliminating one-half of the costly spouse factor will necessarily lower both the “claims” experience and “cost per employee” factors of insurance costs. While it may be difficult to identify the exact savings each employer will experience, it is easy to recognize that savings will occur.
The statistics show that spousal restrictions are a rapidly growing component of public sector health plans in Ohio. In every major type of jurisdiction reported by SERB, except counties, the percentage having spousal restrictions has increased significantly. According to SERB’s 2012 Health Care Survey, from 2011 to 2012 the percentage for cities in Ohio, the percentage jumped from 18.7% to 50%.
I believe that more and more of your employers will try to implement spousal exclusion provisions. If they are of the type that allows for a reasonably affordable buy-in they are difficult to argue against, although we still do!
The best response to this issue is to identify and quantity the value of savings afforded the employer and then seek to obtain and add as much of that value back to the revenue side, in the form of wages or lower or less health care costs for everyone else on the plan.
Spousal exclusion is not the only new concept that employers are proposing at current contract negotiations. More than ever we are seeing “wellness plans” that, through employee participation, can result in either higher or lower costs for the employee.
Most wellness plans require commitments, by the employee and sometimes the spouse, to complete certain metrics testing and/or conform to certain behavioral changes. Employees may be required to regularly measure their blood pressure or cholesterol levels. Some plans may require that employees engage in positive lifestyle behaviors like exercising or stopping smoking.
Employees who participate in wellness programs are normally provided some thing of value in exchange for their participation. Usually it is a break in their monthly employee health care contribution. This is called the “carrot” approach.
Some employers, though, insist to employ the opposite approach known as the “stick” method. The stick method raises costs for workers who refuse to participate, who do not take action to improve their measured metrics or who continue to engage in risky health behaviors such as smoking.
There really is not much of fight in regard to wellness plans. They generally fall into that rare event known as a “win-win” situation.
At this stage of history though, it sure seems that there is not much else we can “win” when it comes to health care.
Market Volatility as The New Norm
We are in a period of market volatility, and that is not going to change anytime soon. Be prepared.
Following the stock market's rough run in the aftermath of the debt ceiling drama last summer, we warned our clients to buckle up for another a roller coaster ride. These days, the stock market is much more volatile than it used to be--as measured by one barometer called the Volatility Index (VIX). The VIX tends to rise as stocks fall. Thus it is commonly referred to as the "fear gauge." In the 1990s, the VIX normally registered around 9 or 10. The VIX spiked in June to 25, settled back in the Fall around 15, and has since registered again in the mid-teens.
Many felt that after the 2012 Presidential election the market would be less volatile--but don’t hold your breath! The election erased some uncertainty, and that is good news; but the crystal ball will remain very cloudy for the foreseeable future because the economy is facing bigger headwinds--Europe's unresolved debt crisis, the slowdown in China, and the stalling U.S. economic recovery. The market will continue to worry about the aftermath of the “fiscal cliff” and the lack of consensus coming out of Washington necessary to resolve the country’s debt problems. Although we didn’t fall over the proverbial “cliff” at the end of 2012, there is still plenty of uncertainty in the marketplace, and we will continue to see volatility. Now we have the debt ceiling debate looming, and it sounds like this will be an ongoing problem; and lawmakers may continue to simply kick the can down the road.
What can you do?
The recent and ongoing turbulence in the market has investors questioning how they should strategize for the long term. Rather than reacting emotionally and panicking by running for the door, a better approach might be to think through what one's risk appetite might be and adjust your asset allocation gradually--probably to something more conservative, but not giving up any chance for some upside potential.
Now is a great time to revisit the “Rule of 100” and make sure you are not assuming too much risk with your retirement assets. We have long preached that our clients follow this rule. Take 100 and subtract your age, and the resulting number is the maximum percentage of your assets that should be at risk. When using this strategy it is important to incorporate all of your investment assets into the equation, not just your deferred compensation account.
In volatile times like these, a simple “buy-and-hold strategy” might not be the best course of action. What is necessary is to adjust asset allocation to adapt to changing market conditions—to have a dynamic instead of static asset allocation. Put another way, reduce your exposure to the stock market and get more defensive in recessions; increase your equity exposure in expanding economies; and do so in a disciplined approach to remove emotions from allocation changes. This type of approach is typically implemented with professional advice. Using a disciplined approach like this requires ongoing adjustments to the asset allocation and then a decision on which equity sectors will perform best moving forward. Timing doesn’t have to be exact; you are just trying to capture the general trend, and doing so can improve your returns. Lineweaver Financial Group has been helping many Police Officers and other city employees with their deferred compensation accounts by utilizing these exact strategies over the past few years. If you would like more information on how professional management of your deferred compensation account during these volatile times could help you, feel free to give us a call.
Lineweaver Financial Group w 9035 Sweet Valley Drive w Valley View, OH 44125 w 216.520.1711 w www.OhioRetire.com
Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corporation. Member FINRA/SIPC
Mayfield Hts Police Win New Motorcycle!
The Mayfield Heights Police Department wins a brand new 2013 police motorcycle. The motorcycle was won thru a raffle by The America's 9/11 Foundation. The Foundation sponsors a 3-day motorcycle ride each August to commemorate the attacks from September 11, 2001. To entice police departments to participate as an escorting officer, the foundation raffles off a police edition Electra Glide. "I've been attending this ride for 7 years", said Motor Officer Thomas Rovniak. "Each year I hoped that I would win this bike for my department, but I've always come home empty handed, until this year!" he said. The motorcycle, which is valued at $25,000 was delivered to Mayfield Heights last month.
This year's 9/11 Ride will begin on Thursday, August 15th, as the Cleveland Area Officers depart from Macedonia, Ohio. The ride is the major fundraiser for the Foundation, who gives 15 college scholarships each year to children of first responders. Any department who participates in this years ride will be entered into the raffle to win a 2014 Harley Davidson Electra Glide Police Motorcycle. The foundation limits the ride to 1,000 civilian motorcycles and 250 escorting officers each year. "Those are great odds", Rovniak said. "We sent two officers. That gave us better odds of winning!"
Some area departments who have participated as escorts have been: Mayfield Heights, Cleveland, Rocky River, Willoughby, Valley View, Mentor-On-The-Lake, Berea, Twinsburg and Eastlake Police Departments.