Around the State
Harris County board members Ben Leal, Joe Lasseter and Felicia Jordan with CLEAT’s Bob Thomas, center, and Janet Cole, right.
HOUSTON — When the sun goes down, we all go home. Right?
Wrong. Last Friday night, CLEAT Staff Attorney Bob Thomas and Organizer Janet Cole along with Sheriff’s Employee Organization of Harris County board members, Ben Leal, Joe Lasater and Felicia Jordan, met officers in the parking lot after their shift ended.
Thomas has been assisting members with disciplinary cases and he and Cole have worked together with administration on employment issues. They handed out clear tote bags that have been approved by Administration for members to use to carry their lunch or dinner into work with them.
And they signed up 16 new members to both CLEAT and the Harris County association, which is one of CLEAT’s fastest-growing locals.
CLEAT: “Organizing After Dark”
As a former police officer, Dwight Tiller brings a greater depth of understanding of the rank-and-file’s needs and concerns to his role as CLEAT’s Director of Field Services.
“I have a better understanding of what the members want, why they want certain things,” Tiller says.
Tiller, who served for 17 years, leads a the team of organizers in all regions of the state who work with local affiliates providing assistance with contract and expertise in political action efforts.
“We are the thread in the fabric out in the field for the organization,” he says.
Click on the video below to hear Dwight explain Field Service’s mission 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.
Left to right: Midland Sgt. Jimmy Young, CLEAT President Todd Harrison, Midland POA President Loren Frost and Midland Officer Eric Zarate.
CLEAT President Todd Harrison was in Midland for the recent Midland Municipal POA and CLEAT cookout.
He and the POA President Loren Frost grilled some 300 burgers for the member during the all-day event.
Fort Worth Chief Jeff Halstead, left, CLEAT’s Charley Wilkison and FWPOA President Rick Van Houten, right, with D.D. Willingham and family and friends.
The effort by the Fort Worth Police Officers Association to buy forward a full retirement package for Officer D.D. Willingham has succeeded.
The long-serving officer who had been placed on permanent leave per city policy because of a serious illness. That could have left Willingham without her retirement benefits — and her much-needed health coverage — even though she was only months away from he qualifying date.
The association-led fund drive bring in the necessary $32,000-plus to purchase Willingham’s retirement credits. And this month, the association also purchased the officer’s service weapon for her to keep, and a local business, Thomas Rubber Stamp, donated to Willingham her retirement badge.
“This is something that we wanted to do for D.D.,” said Rick Van Houten, FWPOA president. “We definitely did not want to see her go without health care, and we wanted her to have her badge and gun. She was in a tough position because her illness was not work-related, which meant she was going to be pushed out.”
Officer D.D. Willingham
Willingham joined the FWPD in 1990.
Van Houten and the association are working with Fort Worth city leaders to develop a new policy so that future officers who fall ill so close to retirement are not in danger of losing everything they’ve worked for.
CLEAT Staff Attorney Nadia Stewart, center, with Domingo Botello, VP Travis County Sheriff Officers Association, and James Hodge, association President.
CLEAT has been working with the Travis County Sheriff’s Association and had meetings with administration to address some significant issues as the county goes through the budget process for next year.
The Association has been attending the budget meetings to address the baseline number of paid Certified Peace Officers positions and to fix the Peace Officers Pay Scale.
They have not had a step increase since 2010 and that has caused a compression of salaries. Read More »
Nueces County Deputy Constable Richard Morrisey has his job back, thanks to CLEAT Staff Attorney Celeste Robertson.
Despite the fact that Deputy Morrisey suffers from a serious medical condition, he was fired because the constable said he failed to call in sick an hour before his shift.
This so-called policy was issued by the constable even though it is in direct conflict with the Nueces County Civil Service Rules.
Therefore, Deputy Morrisey was reinstated and is thankful he had CLEAT behind him.
An effort by El Paso County Sheriff Richard Wiles to radically alter the state-required correctional officer-to-inmate ratio was unanimously rejected by the Texas Commission on Jail Standards after CLEAT strenuously objected.
“You’ll put everyone’s life at risk if you do this — both the sheriff’s officers and the inmates,” CLEAT Executive Charley Wilkison told the commission during Thursday’s meeting.
Wiles and the El Paso County Commissioners Court were seeking the panel’s permission to abandon the long-held ratio of 48 to one in favor of 61 to one.
Both Wilkison and Jose Marrufo, President of the El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers Association, laid out a strong case showing how unwise and dangerous such a change would be. Among their points were: Read More »
CLEAT Field services organizer Tracy Chance was in Plainview this week for Officer Appreciation Day.
While there, he signed up several new members.
The Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas has endorsed its longtime ally Libby Willis of Fort Worth for State Senate District 10.
“Libby Willis has been like a family member to Texas law enforcement officers for many years,” said CLEAT President Todd Harrison, a sergeant in the Austin Police Department. “Her views toward the work we do and the issues vital to us have deep roots in our family tree.”
Willis is the wife of former Judge and Assistant Attorney General Doyle Willis Jr., and the daughter-in-law of the late Doyle Willis Sr., who spent 43 years in the Texas Legislature fighting on behalf of law enforcement officers statewide.
“In the upcoming legislative session, we are going to need lawmakers whose support for the tough job we do every day in an increasingly dangerous environment is unquestioned,” Harrison said. “And we know that we can count on Libby Willis to have our backs in the Texas Senate.
“She strongly supports an anti-crime agenda and will make sure officers have the tools they need to do their job,” Harrison added.
From left: LPOA Vice President Chris Clayton, longtime LPOA/CLEAT supporter Jacky Hiles, James Mathis and Charley Wilkison
James Mathis retired last month after a more than three decades with the Longview Police Department, but his career in public service will continue.
Mathis, who spent 18 years as a board member of the Longview Police Officers Association, won the Democratic nomination for a Justice of the Peace seat in Gregg County this spring and has no Republican opponent in November. Read More »