The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A)
The Ohio Patrolmen's Benevolent Association (O.P.B.A) represents police departments and law enforcement agencies throughout Ohio including ranking officers and chiefs.Membership in the O.P.B.A is limited to duly appointed, sworn police and law enforcement officers, correction officers and dispatchers of governmental or quasi-governmental police departments or police agencies or such retired officers, or dispatchers, located within the State of Ohio. This association exists to provide aid and protection to its members, for the education of its members, for the general welfare of its members and their families and for the betterment of police and people of their communities.
Message from the Executive Director
The OPBA has successfully defended the rights afforded to every public sector employee in the State to continue to engage in the collective bargaining process. The case involved the City of Munroe Falls which had originally contested the ability of 1 sergeant being able to be a bargaining unit. Once in court, however, the City argued that the entire collective bargaining law was unconstitutional. Our staff attorneys worked for 3 years on this case. Attorney Joe Hegedus and Counsel to the Board, Andy Douglas, collaborated on the Appellate and Supreme Court appeal processes. It was a great effort by our entire staff of attorneys and our Counsel to the Board to protect not only our member’s rights from Munroe Falls but the rights of every member of a labor organization employed in the public sector. Please take the time to read Attorney Hegedus’ article on the case in this issue.
The voters of Norton were asked on August 6, 2013 to vote on an initiative to change their charter that was brought to the ballot by the Citizens4Norton. This amendment, if passed, would have eliminated any current sewer assessment, eliminated any future assessments or tie in fees along with limiting sewer and water bills to $35. In addition to the limited $35 charge any future increases would be limited to 2% per year only with a majority vote of Council. The OPBA joined with the City of Norton to oppose this ballot initiative which would have had disastrous consequences to the City of Norton. This initiative would have meant that the cost to pay for these changes would have to come from the General Fund of the City of Norton. That in turn would mean that significant cuts would have to be made in other services, especially to our membership.
Justice Douglas, Executive Secretary Tom Austin, and OPBA Attorney Max Rieker along with our Directors from Norton PD met with the Mayor and the City Administrator on Friday, July 19th. The City of Norton was presented with our official letter of opposition and a donation was made to fight to ballot initiative. The combined efforts of the OPBA, our members and the City of Norton proved successful with the amendment being defeated 1,812 to 1,695 a difference of 117 votes. Voter turnout for this special election was 43%.
There were two Right to Work bills that were introduced in the House, one for the private sector and one for the public sector. Senator Faber had commented after the bills’ introduction that the Senate would not take up the bills if they were to make it through the House after the members the Senate were polled. Chairman Schuring of the House Manufacturing Workplace Development Committee stated after the first hearing that the members of the panel unanimously agreed to not continue deliberations on the proposals. Chairman Schuring stated in an interview that in the 20 years in the legislature that he never had one union shop, owner of company of a union shop or Executive from a company of union shop had come and asked for this type legislation. Even though these bills have been tabled for the time being the OPBA will continue to monitor the ever changing political climate.
This fall being an odd year is an election year for departmental directors. The applicable provisions from our By-laws for the election process that each department should follow are:
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Section 2 (a). Members of the Board of Directors shall be elected at large by the membership of their respective departments for terms of two years.
(b). Elections for Director shall be by secret ballot.
(c). Nominations for the office of Director shall take place at a member department not later than October 31, of odd numbered years. Elections for Director shall take place in member departments not later than November 21 and results certified to the Executive Director not later than November 25th of said odd-numbered years.
(d). In the election of Directors of member departments where more than one is to be elected, the candidates equal in number to the places to be filled, who receive the highest number of votes at such election shall be declared elected.
In the event there is an equal number of votes cast for two or more candidates with the highest number of votes, a run-off election shall be held within fifteen days. Each duly elected Director shall appoint and certify in writing the name of his alternate within five days after his election.
Section 4. Each duly elected Director shall appoint an alternate Director. If the duly elected Director is unable to attend a properly convened Board of Directors meeting, the alternate Director may attend in his stead and said alternate shall possess the power to vote.
On July 11, 2013, Justice Douglas and I attended the Ohio Retirement Study Council (ORSC) meeting. There were several items of interest that were on the agenda. One item on the agenda concerned Long Term Care Insurance. Each of the retirement systems were required to offer (not pay) for group long term care insurance to its members. As of the meeting there were no responses to any of the systems’ requests for proposals moving forward by any insurance carrier. The systems asked for relief from the legal requirement to offer a plan since no insurance carrier will provide quotes. There was supposed to be an update on the OP & F Rule 742-3-05, “Disability benefits procedure”. However, the presentation was delayed to a later meeting. The ORSC also presented information of the effects of the State Budget on the pension systems. The information provided by the ORSC on the effects of the budgets on OP &f and OPERS are on our website.
School will just be starting by the arrival of this issue and I wanted to inform you of a change in a criminal statute. On July 11, 2013 Governor Kasich signed SB 64 which changed the elements of Child Enticement 2905.05 that now states in subsection (C) No person, for any unlawful purpose other than, or in addition to, that proscribed by division (A) of this section, shall engage in any activity described in division (A) of this section. A full text of the law should be reviewed and it can be found on the Ohio legislative website www.legislature.state.oh.us . Once there you can look it up under Senate bill 64.
The OPBA Family Days for 2013 were well attended by our members from 100 of our departments. The Cleveland Indians Family day was attended by members from 75 departments. Attendees were treated with a win by the Indians and a fireworks display after the game. The Dayton Dragons Family Day was attended by members from 25 departments. Attendees were also treated with a win. We hope that everyone who had an opportunity to attend enjoyed themselves.
The OPBA has been posting the Ohio Attorney General’s monthly Law Enforcement Bulletins on our website. They contain general information from his office but more importantly summaries of court decisions and where to locate the entire opinions.
NAPO sent a letter to the editor of the Rolling Stone Magazine for their portrayal of the Boston bombing suspect and also contacted advertisers in that edition. The August 1, 2013 Washington Report from NAPO discusses the response to date from that letter and the status of the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Grant Program.
Letter of Appreciation
August 12, 2013
Valued Supporters of the OPBA Charitable Foundation
Allotta and Farley
American Income Life Insurance
Jeff Pedicino, Executive Director
Argie, D’Amico and Vitantonio
Ciuni & Panichi
Independent Insurance Agency
Retired Irish Police Society
Friends of Tom Patton
Thank you again for your generous donations.
Which 457 Deferred Compensation Plan is Right for You?
Life used to be simple. Your community’s 457 deferred compensation plan probably offered only one option. Now, however, many communities have adopted several options that are represented by various private financial firms, along with the state-run plan. Each plan may have different features and investment options, along with a range of fees. Some plans provide active management and will choose the funds on your behalf, making adjustments based on market conditions--while others require you to make the decisions yourself. You may find yourself wondering which plan or plans are most suitable for your situation and how to know if you’ve picked the right one.
With the pension reform that took place last year, and more potential changes on the horizon, your deferred compensation assets are going to become even more important in your retirement planning strategy. We encourage all employees to at least contribute something to a 457 plan, even if it’s a small amount to start. Your contributions go into your plan pre-tax, thus lowering your taxable income for the year. They potentially grow tax deferred throughout your career, and then will be taxable as earned income when you take distributions in retirement. This compounding effect can really help you save money over your career as a Police Officer or Firefighter. 457 plans also allow for high contribution rates. If you are under the age of 50, you can contribute up to $17,500 this year. If you are age 50 or older, you can contribute an additional $5,500 for a total of $23,000! Some employees are also eligible for a “special catch-up contribution,” which could allow you to contribute up to $35,000 per year for up to three years prior to your retirement (restrictions may apply). The bottom line is that whatever amount you can spare to save, you will want to make sure it is managed properly and you are making the best use of these funds.
Our company currently services numerous municipalities in the Greater Cleveland area as a deferred compensation provider. We are constantly fielding questions on how all the different plans work and their advantages and disadvantages. To help you through this process, we felt it would be important to arm you with some questions you can ask your provider(s) to ensure you know how your deferred compensation plan works and to help you decide if it matches your goals and objectives.
Here are some questions to get you started:
At Lineweaver Financial Group, we feel knowledge is important, and an informed client often results in a happy client. Retirement planning can be a very stressful process-- and in some cases, you may not get a second chance. Having a properly structured deferred compensation plan can be critical to the success of your plan. If you have further questions or would like a complimentary analysis of your plan versus your other available options, feel free to give us a call. We would be happy to assist you.
Lineweaver Financial Group
9035 Sweet Valley Drive
Valley View, OH 44125
Securities offered through Sigma Financial Corporation. Member FINRA/SIPC
Lineweaver Financial Group is independently owned and operated.
This is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as tax, legal, or financial advice. Please consult your tax, legal or financial advisor.
Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of the following OPBA members who have recently passed away:
Richard Haverlack, Retired Member
Maurice Lamar, Cuyahoga County Sheriff’s Office
A Picture is Worth… A Guilty Verdict
A few years ago, one of our prosecutors was trying a drug possession case. The drugs in question were found in the defendant’s car, under the center console of the vehicle. The defendant denied the drugs belonged to him, and even tried to blame a passenger for placing the drugs there just before the police pulled him over. The only exhibit presented at trial? A photograph of the drugs under the console, exactly as they were found by the investigating officer. After deliberating for a little less than an hour, the jury came back with a guilty verdict. They later told the prosecutor that the photograph was the deciding factor in their verdict. As the photograph depicted, it was unlikely a passenger could have placed the drugs where they were found.
This is just one of the many examples of the impact a photograph can have on a jury. Just one photograph can take a jury back to the scene of a crime, letting them see the scene for themselves. Trials often occur months or even years after the crime is committed. Despite a prosecutor’s best efforts, it is often difficult to re-create a crime scene exactly as it was at the time.
Most police departments have a dedicated crime scene unit or designated officers to process a crime scene, which includes taking photographs. While this is helpful in prosecuting serious cases, these units and officers are not often used in less serious cases like drug possession, simple assaults, domestic violence or property crimes. Such cases may be less serious than homicides, but in order to be successfully prosecuted, the evidence must still prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. As noted in the example above, sometimes a single picture can be a key piece of evidence.
Some police departments provide cameras for their patrol officers to use, while others may not. Regardless, just about everyone today has a phone that can take pictures, which can be quickly emailed to a work account and filed with the police report. Taking a quick shot of a victim’s injuries, where drugs are found, property damage, how a suspect looked or simply the area surrounding a crime scene can really make a difference in how the case is handled in court. Moreover, a picture can often corroborate a victim’s version of events or bolster a police officer’s testimony under cross-examination.
Being a police officer, especially on patrol, can be a stressful and demanding job. No patrol officer wants to make arrests and then later have the case tossed out of court for a lack of convincing evidence. And while evidence can come in many forms, including witness testimony, DNA and fingerprints, the saying still stands true; a picture can be worth a thousand words. So the next time you are out on patrol, remember that sometimes the nearest camera can be the most effective crime-fighting tool of all.
This article is not to be considered legal advice. Please consult your police legal advisor regarding any legal issue.
Sherri Bevan Walsh
Summit County Prosecuting Attorney