By Marshall McClain
Thanksgiving is here, but for many, it’s hard to be in a festive mood. If this were a normal year, many of us would be gathering around the dinner table with a large group of family and friends (some of whom we only see during the holidays), having carefree conversations and, of course, eating to our heart’s content. But this isn’t a typical year. The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has reshaped every aspect of our lives, and the holidays are no different.
With many states on the verge of another round of shutdowns due to a drastic spike of COVID-19 cases nationwide, many people have made the difficult decision to have smaller gatherings than they’re used to or forgo them altogether, opting for Zoom dinners in lieu of traveling back home in an effort to protect themselves and their loved ones. The season will also be difficult for our members and the law enforcement community, who have to not only work the front lines, but also contend with anti-police rhetoric, calls for defunding and unwarranted attacks against them. Despite this challenging climate, peace officers will be sacrificing time away from their families to work long hours throughout the holiday season, as they’ve always done, to uphold their commitment to protect and serve.
Even though this year has been upended by numerous challenges, there have been, believe it or not, positive things that have happened for LAAPOA and our members. Since Thanksgiving is a time for us to reflect and show appreciation for the good in life, I’d like to take the opportunity to share with you, our members and supporters, what LAAPOA is most thankful for.
LAAPOA is first and foremost thankful for the unwavering support and hard work of our membership. The difficult work you do protecting the City of Los Angeles’ airports, parks and communities is oftentimes thankless, but I’m here to remind you that we’re grateful for you and that we recognize the risks you face every day to keep us safe. Your efforts have also not gone unnoticed and are appreciated by our supporters — our families, friends and colleagues — whom we are immensely thankful to have in our corner.
We are also thankful for witnessing the building of the new LAXPD Headquarters, which broke ground last year. LAAPOA was instrumental in pushing for this new, state-of-the-art building, which will house all airport policing operations in one location. The facility will provide a professional and technologically advanced environment to support the efforts of the Airport Police in a manner worthy of our brave men and women who work tirelessly 24/7 to safeguard the aviation community and the surrounding neighborhoods. To finally be able to see this coming to fruition has been so rewarding, and we can’t wait for headquarters to open and for us to move in next summer.
Speaking of new buildings, we are also thankful to be in a position to purchase a new office building to house LAAPOA Headquarters, a project that has been several years in the planning. At this writing, we’re hoping to close on an 8,700-square-foot property by Thanksgiving. The new space will add yet another benefit for our members, as it will include a membership lounge, in-house general counsel and uniform store, to name a few features. We will also have ample room to host our general membership meetings and other events at the space. We hope to move in after escrow closes and have a grand opening in 2021. The new headquarters will serve as a permanent legacy to LAAPOA members — past, present and future.
Lastly, in 2021, I will start my seventh consecutive two-year term after running uncontested during this year’s Board elections. In this challenging time filled with divisiveness, it was great to see the membership come together for the greater good. I am humbled by the confidence our members have in my ability to represent and advocate for their rights. I, along with our Board of Directors, look forward to further improving benefits and quality of life for our members and their families in 2021.
However you choose to celebrate the holiday, I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving with your family and loved ones. As always, may God keep you and yours safe and continue to bless us all.