Around the State

Bexar deputy sheriffs association swears in new leadership team

President  Juan Contreras

President Juan Contreras

SAN ANTONIO – The Deputy Sheriffs Association of Bexar County swore in its new Board of Directors, Executive Board and new President Juan C. Contreras on Monday.

The swearing-in followed the elections held last month. Read More »

Posted by October 7, 2014

From the President’s Desk: TMPA’s spa-day makeover delivers only confusion

By Todd Harrison
CLEAT President

toddRemember about a year ago when the Texas Municipal Police Association announced with so much chest-beating that it was going to “unite” all of the law enforcement labor groups?

They called their new baby the Texas Law Enforcement Council, or TLEC for short. But truth be told, it was a vehicle to remake their image as an organization that will do or say anything to gain attention. TLEC is run by TMPA, check the charter.

But all that happy talk about “unity” was soon drowned out by a thundering stampede of mixed messages, false starts and turf wars. And some of it happened in the high-profile Republican primary for Texas Attorney General. Read More »

Posted by October 7, 2014

Anti-union Del Rio police chief is fired after gutting department

A photo of the cartoon from the Del Rio News-Herald

A photo of the cartoon from the Del Rio News-Herald

More than a year after CLEAT began calling for the firing of Del Rio Police Chief James Von Debrow III, the city manager on Monday sent the chief packing.

“Good riddance!” said CLEAT Executive Director Charley Wilkison. “He belongs on the no-hire list for Texas police chiefs.”

Since taking office, Debrow has slashed the size of his department to dangerously low levels and fired two local police association presidents.

CLEAT has long believed that the citizens of Del Rio deserve better. The job of Chief of Police is serious and demands someone with sober judgment who is not abusing, disrespecting and punishing the hard working men and women of the Del Rio Police Department.

“This is a good move for us,” said Mark A. Guerra, President of the Del Rio Police Officers Association.

Sgt. Mark Guerra

Detective Mark Guerra

“We are very happy and thankful. It took a good city manager and a good city council to get this done. And this needed to get done.  It’s time to rebuild the morale of our brothers and sisters, and bring the community back together.”

Before Debrow’s firing on Monday, the Del Rio News-Herald reported that a local resident had organized a protest of the chief at City Hall.

Last spring, CLEAT’s outspoken opposition to Debrow drew wide attention from local news media, and provided some inspiration for the local newspaper’s editorial cartoonist.

The single-panel drawing by freelance artist Dale Neseman in the Del Rio News-Herald shows Von Debrow face-down on the ground with what appears to be Wilkison’s bootprint on his butt.


Posted by October 6, 2014

Election ballots will be mailed out Nov. 10-14

voteBallots for this year’s CLEAT elections will be mailed out during the week of Nov. 10-14, Ron Martin of the Executive Board’s Ethics Committee said in a memo this week.

Members in Regions 1B, 3B, 5, 7 and 9, which are up for election this year, must return the filled-out ballots with a postmark not later than Dec. 12. The deadline to file was Aug. 1 and only Regions 5 and 9 are contested.

Reminder to CLEAT staff: Do not get involved in Executive Board elections.

Posted by October 1, 2014

Planning under way for 2015 POMF memorial service

Planning the 2015 POMF memorial

Planning the 2015 POMF memorial

The board that organizes the memorial service for the Police Officers Memorial Foundation began the planning effort for the 2015 event on Tuesday at CLEAT Headquarters.

Next year’s memorial events will be held May 3-4 at the Texas Capitol. Events include the Candlelight Vigil, the Ride for the Fallen and the memorial ceremony when the names of the officers killed in the line of duty over the past 12 months are read aloud before they are added to the Monument just northwest of the Capitol building.

APD Senior Sgt. Tim Kresta

APD Senior Sgt. Tim Kresta

The board, chaired by Senior Sgt. Tim Kresta of the Austin Police Department, began laying the groundwork for the behind-the-scenes but vital preparations to ensure a smooth and respectful event. Those preparations include securing permission to close off streets affected by the event, arranging for barricades, making suring hotel space is reserved and providing water for attendees.

More planning meetings will take place in the coming months and details will be posted online as they develop. But it’s not too soon to save the May 3-4 dates to take part in the formal paying of respects for our fallen officers.

Photos from past memorial events

Posted by September 30, 2014

The obituary for Travis County Deputy Jessica Hollis

deputy hollis

Senior Deputy Jessica Hollis

Jessica grew up in San Antonio, Texas, graduated from Churchill High School in 1997 where she was a varsity cheerleader. She attended Texas A&M in Corpus Christi and Southwest Texas State studying Marine Biology.

Jessica met her future husband, Ricky Hollis while they were serving as EMTs in San Antonio. They then served together as Paramedics for Calhoun County for 5 years. The couple moved to Austin after being accepted into the Austin Police Academy, and had the distinction of being the 2nd married couple to ever graduate from the Austin Police Academy. Read More »

Posted by September 22, 2014

A conversation with CLEAT General Counsel Mike Rickman

Long before Mick Rickman became the top lawyer for CLEAT, he was a member of CLEAT for seven years as a police officer in Mesquite.

“It was a important for me then, it’s important for officers now, and it will be important for officers in the future,” Rickman says.

Rickman, who used his law enforcement experience as a springboard to a legal career, says that every police officer stands in the path of a legal complaint every day on the job. And when someone files a complaint, no matter how trivial it might seem, the officer better have immediate access to top-flight legal representation.

And that’s exactly what every CLEAT member has.

“The bottom line is, the difference between an outside attorney and a CLEAT attorney is that the CLEAT attorney deals with (law enforcement issues) 24/7,” Rickman says.

Click on the video below to hear Mike explain the mission of CLEAT Legal Services in detail. This is one in an occasional series of conversations with the some of the people who make the CLEAT the largest and best labor law enforcement organization in Texas.

Posted by September 22, 2014

Bob Leonard promoted to Assistant General Counsel

Bob Leonard and Charley Wikison

Bob Leonard and Charley Wilkison

Staff Attorney Bob Leonard, who has been with CLEAT for nine years,  has been promoted to Assistant General Counsel by Executive Director Charley Wilkison.

Leonard, a New York native, joined CLEAT in 2005 and works in the San Antonio office. He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in History at the University of New York, Stony Brook, and his law degree from Brooklyn Law School.

In 1983, Robert joined the U.S. Army and was a military police officer. In 1985, he joined the Army National Guard and served for 15 years.

CLEAT General Counsel Michael Rickman, who has been working from the San Antonio, is now setting up shop in the State Headquarters in Austin. He will be able to travel more in the field but will continue with a presence in San Antonio when needed, Wilkison said.

Posted by September 17, 2014

There’s still time to get T-shirts from the POMF BBQ Cook-off

bbq tIf you missed last weekend’s BBQ Cook-off in San Antonio to benefit the Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation but still want to help, you can buy an official T-shirt from the event.

The sizes go from medium to XXXL and the price is $12, plus $5 for shipping. Here’s the link to place your order online

All proceeds benefit the Texas Peace Officers Memorial, which is privately funded and located on the State Capitol grounds, about two blocks from CLEAT’s state headquarters.

The mission of the Peace Officers’ Memorial Foundation is to perpetuate the memory of law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the citizens of Texas.

The cook-off was last weekend i San Antonio.

The cook-off was last weekend i San Antonio.

Posted by September 17, 2014

CLEAT helps clear Austin officers who used deadly force on armed suspect

Nadia Stewart

Nadia Stewart

Austin police officers who were forced to open fire on a man who leveled a shotgun at them in April 2013 were cleared this week by a grand jury.

CLEAT Staff Attorney Nadia Stewart represented Officers Matthew Henion, Nicholas Moore and Donovan Hunter in the incident that was described by APD Chief Art Acevedo as “suicide by cop.” A fourth officer in the incident had separate representation.

Stewart said the evidence was overwhelming that the man, who later was found to have quit taking medications to treat a mental disorder, represented a grave threat to the officers and anyone else in the area on the night of the shooting. He had barricaded himself in shed behind his home and was armed with the shotgun and a handgun. Read More »

Posted by September 17, 2014