By David J. Mahoney, WPPA President
Comments and letters can be sent to President Mahoney at WPPA, 340 Coyier Lane, Madison, WI 53713, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where did the summer go?
As this issue of the Wisconsin Police Journal reaches each of our members, we find ourselves entering a new fall season of changing colors, changing temperatures, and for many of our children, a change in schools. At WPPA, we are experiencing some changes as well. The Board of Directors, by its Personnel Committee, conducted interviews with four of the eight candidates who applied for the Executive Director’s position, and as a result, unanimously recommended to the WPPA Board of Directors that our Interim Director be offered the position.
On August 19, during a special meeting of the Association’s Board of Directors, a unanimous vote was cast to offer Tom Bahr the position of Executive Director, and I’m very pleased to report that he has accepted the position. Tom brings the experience of fourteen years as a police officer, and twelve years as a business agent with the WPPA to this position, and with his proven talent and leadership, our Association is moving financially back into the black and continues to grow with new locals and members.
The Personnel Committee also approved the hiring of two new business agents to service members. Mike Goetz, a twelve-year police officer with Evansville Police Department and a current City Counsel member of the City of Verona, will be servicing locals in central and western Wisconsin. Alan Bitz, a retired lieutenant with the Rice Lake Police Department, will be servicing locals in the north central and northwest regions of the state. In addition, the Association has a new accountant – Kristi Heinemann – who will be joining Judy, Julie, and Susan in the front office in Madison.
While your Board of Directors have been busy re-staffing the organization, our Legislative Representative Steve Werner and Chief Lobbyist Jim Palmer continue to work at the Capitol to secure programs which protect the safety of our members who wear a badge, staff the courthouses and jails, maintain the county roadways, and provide health care services in many of our communities. Jim and Steve have both made progress in protecting our members, but your help is needed. Educate yourself on the issues and support the candidates your state and local Political Action Committees have endorsed; but most important – VOTE! The job you save may be your own.
Tom Bahr and I attended the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO) convention in August, and because of the death of Rhinelander Police Officer Steve Martin, have asked NAPO to become a partner nationally in drafting federal legislation to protect our brother and sister officers like Steve who have been called to active duty military service. This proposed new legislation will ensure that those officers’ families will receive all the benefits and compensation to which they would be entitled if their loved one had been killed in the “line of duty” in their home jurisdictions. (See page 11, Resolution Concerning Maintenance of Benefits for Those Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the War on Terror.)
Additionally, Tom and I gathered information to allow WPPA to take a leadership role in establishing guidelines at the state level in preparation for the implementation of H.R. 218, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act.” (See page 11, Resolution on Concealed Carrying of Firearms.) This new federal law exempts qualified active and retired law enforcement officers from local and state prohibitions on the carrying of concealed firearms across state lines. (See page 9, H.R. 218, The Law Enforcement Officers’ Safety Act, Frequently Asked Questions.)
In closing, enjoy Wisconsin’s fall season and experience the changing colors and cooler weather, whether by motorcycle, bicycle, or just on foot alongside someone who loves you: a child, spouse, or partner for life.
Until we meet again, take care of those who take care of you. Be safe!