With the presidential election finally over, Thanksgiving almost here and the holiday season underway, it’s the right time to reflect on all that we are grateful for in our professional and personal lives.
Regardless of your feelings about the outcome of this year’s election, I think we can all agree that we are glad the tumultuous, divisive race has come to end! As we saw in the vast news coverage, fellow citizens living in formerly vibrant manufacturing and coal-producing areas of our country are suffering from the effects of joblessness and hopelessness. Let us be thankful that despite the challenges of our policing careers, we still have purposeful work and are able to provide for our families. LAXPD officers take seriously the responsibility of protecting travelers daily at LAX, ONT and VNY airports. Their security is paramount to us, and we are thankful for every safe passage through our cities within a city.
LAAPOA would like to remind all members of our many accomplishments this year, more reasons to be grateful. In late February, after six years of working without a contract, we completed our third round of contract mediations and a contract proposal headed to the mayor. In April, LAAPOA members voted to approve the contract, followed by the City Council’s unanimous approval in June. Among the achievements were salary increases and base-pay adjustments to ensure parity with the LAPD, something we have fought for years to accomplish. Not only did we achieve an increase in starting pay comparable with LAPD and Port Police officers, but active officers also received a 6.7% salary increase in June, with 2% increases scheduled for July 9, 2017, and January 7, 2018. While more needs to be done to attain retirement parity, these salary increases are a sign that city leaders understand and appreciate the level of service that specialized officers are providing at our airports.
Fortunately, there were no furloughs or layoffs this year, and LAAPOA will continue to push management to increase recruitment efforts and properly staff all shifts and locations. After years of LAAPOA pointing out the dilapidated and dangerous condition of our patrol car fleet, in September LAWA approved the purchase of 150 new vehicles; some have already started to be deployed in the field. Best of all, after years of pushing for an upgrade, talks of a new police station have begun with LAWA management, and planning for a new shooting range is underway.
Finally, LAAPOA continues to have an actively engaged membership, as demonstrated by our recent elections. We have an energized Board of Directors with some new faces joining our leadership going into 2017, and we are excited to hear their fresh ideas for the direction of our organization.
Tragically, we lost a lot of good officers in California and across the country this year, and their sacrifices continue to weigh heavily on all of our hearts. Please keep their families in your prayers. As you spend time with your loved ones tomorrow, remember to be grateful for all of the people and blessings in your life, and remember that our time on earth is a gift to be appreciated every day.
Thank you for the humbling honor of serving as your president for another term. May God continue to bless you and your family.
Marshall McClain, LAAPOA President