CLEAT’s leaders lent themselves, their lives, and their futures in order to
build an organization that worked for all officers.
Many of CLEAT’s founding members were returning veterans of the Vietnam War era. When they returned home, many were unhappy with their statewide police association’s (TMPA) refusal to hire attorneys or represent members when they were disciplined, demoted, or terminated. Like our nation’s founders, these officers met with the leaders of TMPA and attempted to change the organization from within.
The officers aired their grievances about how things were being handled and after seeing zero change, year after year, these officers began asking one another why they couldn’t just form their own union that would actually represent street cops and get things done. Texas was now a state that no longer fit the mold of the largely rural, good ole boy, pro-management, statewide association that had failed them badly.
So in 1976, after a dramatic walkout of the annual convention, the officers banded together to create a real union for working officers and never looked back. At every milestone, the naysayers predicted CLEAT and its leaders would fail, but CLEAT leaders and members forged ahead.
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