Breaking News
Police Shortage Hits Critical Mass         Troopers Accused in OT Scam         DROP Lawsuit: Judge Rules Against Cops         The Real Reason They’re After Your Pension? Money!         DROP Program Getting Negative Press         Millennials, White-collar Workers Bringing New Life to Unions         New Study Reveals Police Rarely Use Force         Fake Cop Badges are Everywhere         Best Path for a Trim, Healthy Body         Teachers Get 5% After Strike; Victory for Cops, Too!         When is Police “Use of Force” Justified?         Police Unions & the Video Craze         Scary Day for Police Unions         Night Tours Can Hurt Your Health         Stress Weakens Brain Power; Exercise Can Bring It Back         Police Association President Arrests Suspect—On His Street!         An Assault on Common Sense         NYPD Sergeant Acquitted On All Charges         Fingerprint Scanner to Track On-the-job Time         New Jersey Cops Fighting for Their Pensions         Police and Attorney Say “No Way” to Restrictive Use of Force Policy         Jury Is Out On This Police Review Board         A Police Union With Power!         Stressed-Out Officers: Gone After Eight Years         More Union Members in 2017         Police, Fire Lose Court Fight Over Pensions         Baltimore Discovers It Wants and Needs Its Police         VIDEO: Austin Cops Leaving in Droves         Off-Duty Jobs Scam Uncovered         Deputies Demand $500,000 In Back Pay         Stressed Out Officers, Gone After 8 Years         City Scrambles to Save Pensions         Police Boss Gets Jail Time, Rank and File Up In Arms         CONTRACT REJECTED! Younger Officers Upset With High Healthcare Costs         Police Pensions Protected (For Now)         Let’s Support Firefighters; Cops Will Be Next         Man With a Plan         FBI Will Not Investigate Detective’s Homicide         What About “Warning Shots?” The Debate Continues         Dallas 9-1-1 Back On Track         Hope for Pay Raises in St. Louis         VIDEO: NYC Hero Cop Speaks         New Policies on Deadly Force         ALADS Continues Legal Fight Over “Brady” List         Cops Forgo Raise to Keep 4-3 Schedule         One Cop’s Take On Colin Kaepernick         VIDEO: “We Brought Our Brother Home”         LISTEN: No Sleep? You’d Better Fix That!         VIDEO: What Really Happened         ACLU: Detective’s Right to Free Speech Was Violated         Time To Stop the Finger Pointing         If Things Go Bad, You Need a Plan         Dear Anthem Protesters: Police are Not the Enemy         Real Police Facing Private Takeover         Hard Work, Heartache, and a Lot of Love         VIDEO: Harvey’s Horrific Aftermath         VIDEO: Keeping World Leaders Safe         Bill Bratton On the Future of American Policing         Who Will Pay for New Contract?         VIDEO: Detectives Fight Plan to Cut Pensions         Taking Care of Others, Then Our Own         Public Support For Unions is Growing         Minneapolis Considering Residency Incentives         VIDEO: Cop Battling Cancer is Harvey Hero         VIDEO: Dancing With the Cops?         Cops Speak Out Against Use of “Thin Blue Line” by Hate Groups         What Is the Arnold Foundation Hiding?         Decision May Violate Officers’ Rights         Court Deems Evergreen Clause Constitutional         No Raises for Cops; $140M for Stadium         Philly Cops Win $8M O.T. Settlement         We Condemn Nazis and White Supremacists         Mounties Face Crisis, No Solution in Sight         Push to Oust Louisville PD Chief Intensifying         CSLEA is Newest Member of PubSecAlliance         Ford is Fixing the Problem         “It’s Been An Honor to Work With Chief Marshman”         Automatic Dues Collection Under Attack         Cops Use Video to Go for Pay Raise         Understaffed Leads to Rise In Crime         R.I.P. Deputy Haak         Ruling On Body Cams: Use Must Be Negotiated         Rochester Police Locust Club (NY) Joins PubSecAlliance         Officer Acquitted Of Negligent Homicide         Texas Cops Oppose Anti-Union Bill         Insults Divide, Decency Unites         FOP Prez Threatened, Police Investigate         VIDEO: Sergeant’s Indictment Prompts Outpouring of Support         VIDEO: Sounding the Alarm On a Manpower Crisis         VIDEO: Dramatic Body Cam Footage!         VIDEO: Police Union Advises Action Amid “Breaking Point”         VT First State to OK Compensation for PTSD         Officer Suicides: Agencies Must Do More         Outsiders Clamor for Police Contract Changes         Governor Furloughs Workers, Hits the Beach         Recruit the Best at U.S. Army Reserves         VIDEO: Sergeant Charged With Murder 2         R.I.P. Officer Korchak         More Officers Taking Own Lives         Pride in Honoring Our Own         A Tale of Two Chiefs         New Accountability System Gives Civilians More Power         Police Unions Call for “Rational Voice”         Texas Moves to Save Pensions         City Refuses to Pay Officer’s Legal Bills         Rank and File Question Dubious Hiring         The Mounties Have Never Had to Contend With a Union         Police Week: Anguish, Anger, Empathy         Rookies Sue for OT Pay During Academy Training         FLSA Pay Ruling: Use Cash, Not Benefits         Record Crowd Attends Annual Candlelight Vigil         Everyone Needs Sleep, Especially Cops         Questions Raised About New John Jay President         Hennepin County Sheriff Joins NYPD Shield Program         Big Surprise: Paper Misrepresents Contract Talks         County Budget Leaves Us Underfunded         VIDEO: Omaha Unions Say No to Gov         City Says “No Police Floats” In Parade         One-Minute Man         Is This the Solution to Cop Shootings?         Ingredients for Better LE Outcomes         Why the Police Need Unions         Mounties Demand a Union & Contract         Indebted to Some Very Brave People         We’ve Been Abandoned by Politicos, Command Staff         VIDEO: The Most Hated Man In Pensionland         Underfunded Pensions: a Disaster Waiting to Happen         Another Ambush Attack!         Today, It’s You; Tomorrow, It’s a Security Guard         VIDEO: NJ Police May Get Control of Unfunded Pensions         Thousands of Officers to Get BIG Bonuses         Improving Economy Hurts LE Recruitment         Another Fundraising Scam         Threats to Police Retirement Programs Escalate         Conflict Rises, Billboards Go Up         NJ Unilaterally Changing Police Contract         Pensions Slowly Being Reduced and Replaced         Baltimore Chief: “No More Plainclothes”         When Will All This Stop?         Top Police Union Leader Joins Protest         VIDEO: “Line of Duty” is HERE!         Chicago Cops Get Thanks They Deserve         Mayors Missing as Pension Fund Goes Down         Pension Bill Draws Protest         Deputies Association Hires High-Powered PR Exec         Finally, a Contract for NYPD Officers         Nebraska Corrections Officers Seek Out F.O.P.         Outrage Grows Over Pension Plans in Peril         Sanctuary Cities: Police vs. Mayor         Police Unions Seek to Overhaul Obama’s Reforms         Super Bowl Security         Look Hard at Your Pension Fund         Pension Mediation Talks Cease; Lawsuit Looms         How Much Would You Pay for Policing?         Hazardous Workplace         Officers Leaving in Droves         Technology, Police, and Privacy         Fake Guns Destroy Lives         War Against Unions Gaining Ground         Washington D.C. Police Union in Turmoil         Teamsters Face 20% Cut in Pension Benefits         Body Cam Screw-ups Lead to Mistrial         VIDEO: Body Cam Catches Shootout         Restraining Order for Black Lives Matter Leader         New Chief Has Fight On His Hands         Pension Panic Spreads         Carrots and Sticks         Another Agency May Fold         Community and Police Join in Prayer         VIDEO: We Are There For You!         Feds Seek Repeat of Disastrous Police Hiring Practices         VIDEO: Officer’s Gift of Kindness Keeps on Giving         Is Trump Going After Collective Bargaining Rights?         Police Union Not “App”y         Police Union Fights Back Against Budget Cuts         Police Union Reinstates Body Cam Program         Citizen Wants Officer Fired for FB Post         VIDEO: Use of Force Policy Fiasco         Attacks on Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Where Is the Outrage?         Millions May Lose Overtime Pay         Mayor Violates Officer’s Right to Due Process         VIDEO: Police Union Heals With Song         State Moves to Nix Benefits From Collective Bargaining         City, Officer Cleared in Wrongful Death Case         Trump Puts OT, Benefits On Chopping Block         VIDEO: A World Without Law Enforcement         VIDEO: Shake It Off         HUGE Refund for AZ Public-Safety Pensioners         Eloquent Goodbye         Cheerleader In Chief         The Trouble With Trauma         Shocking News About Local Gov Pension Funds         See You In Court!         One of the Good Guys         Chief Resigns After No-Confidence Vote         Zika Virus Hits Cops         Iowa Officers Ambushed         Policing the Police         For Real Community Policing, Let Officers Do Their Jobs        
By December 17, 2014 Read More →

Info Needed On Legal Assistance Requests From Members

Bill Owensby (left), former Lodge 86 president, with Rick Snyder, the newly elected president of the Indianapolis FOP.

Bill Owensby (left), former Lodge 86 president, with Rick Snyder, the newly elected president of the Indianapolis FOP.

My name is Jerry Piland, and I am the Sgt. at Arms with our FOP Lodge 86 in Indianapolis, Indiana. We are getting ready to do a line-by-line audit of our bylaws and update them to reflect current times. One of the issues we struggle with is legal assistance requests and whether they technically meet the bylaws. I will quote the legal assistance bylaws for you later. This is how our process works:

A member will come to the lodge and request assistance in person and in writing, where they must choose any or all of the following choices: criminal, administrative, or civil. The member must provide a detailed description of the events surrounding the assistance request, which could include a police report, IA statement, etc.

Our executive board meets monthly and all new cases are brought forward as new legal requests. The member has an opportunity to go before the board and ask or answer any questions. The board then votes. This vote is seen as a recommendation to the body of the lodge from the board. This request must then go before the body of the lodge at the next monthly meeting, where the recommendation of the board is put on record and then there is a vote by the members present at the meeting.

A member can also call the president in an emergency situation and be placed under “emergency assistance” for issues that come up where a recommendation and vote cannot wait. This situation will be then be heard at the next regular board and business meeting.

As you will read below in Section 1a, one of the minimum requirements for receiving legal assistance is “Provided that incident occurred while the member was acting in the scope of his or her authority as a police officer.” This seems pretty clear-cut as you read it. However, what happens when a controversial or borderline “meets the by-laws” case comes before the body of the lodge is that this sentence gets confused with on-duty or off-duty or the person petitioning for assistance packs the house with supporters, so a yea vote is gained for assistance.

I believe you get the idea of what we face here in Indy, from time to time, at our lodge. We are looking for some more concrete language or another way of writing this section, in order to prevent issues we have had in the past from coming up again. I am respectfully requesting the following from you:

1. What does your lodge or POA require from a member in order to get legal assistance?
2. What criteria has to be met before legal assistance is granted?
3. What do your by-laws say regarding legal assistance?
4. Does your lodge or POA have some of the same issues?

Thank you very much for your time in reading this email and taking time to reply to me with thoughts and suggestions. I can be reached at 317-430-1914 or

Jerry Piland

Below is the By-Law pertaining to legal assistance:


Benefits and Legal Aid Fund

SEC. 1a.  Active/Retired members of the lodge, in good standing, may petition for legal assistance for any incident that could result in departmental discipline, civil or criminal action provided that incident occurred while the member was acting in the scope of his or her authority as a police officer.
SEC. 1b.  A member requesting legal assistance shall be provided a request for legal assistance form that has been approved by the Executive Board.  All information required by the Board must be submitted by the member requesting assistance.  The member shall deliver the completed request, in person or by certified mail, to the President or his designee.

SEC. 1c.  The President may grant emergency legal assistance to any eligible member, with approval of a majority of the Executive Board, or if in his opinion approval of a majority of the Executive Board is not practical.  However, the member must submit the request in writing, as required, prior to the next regular business meeting.

SEC. 1d.  The President, or his designee, shall review all requests for legal assistance to insure all necessary information is provided and review requestor’s membership status.

SEC. 1e.  The President, or his designee, prior to the next regular executive board meeting, shall obtain any other information deemed necessary regarding a request for legal assistance and shall submit the request to the Executive Board for their consideration.  The Executive Board may summon any member who has requested legal assistance to appear before the Board to provide any additional information regarding the request.  The Board, after reviewing the matter, shall make its recommendation at the next regular business meeting.

SEC. 1f.  A member requesting legal assistance who fails to appear before the Executive Board, after being duly summoned to do so, except for reasons beyond his or her control, shall not be eligible to receive assistance.  The President shall report, at the next regular business meeting, any such occurrence.

SEC. 1g.  If a member is granted legal assistance by the lodge and a decision, deemed negative, is rendered by a court or disciplinary authority, the member may be entitled to appeal that decision to a higher authority, however, a new request for legal assistance must be presented in the same manner prescribed above and the request must be approved by the lodge.  The President shall direct the attorney to provide the Board with his opinion as to whether or not the appeal has merit.

SEC. 1h.  The President of the lodge shall be solely empowered to refer such legal matters of the lodge or of a qualified member to the law firm or attorney considered best qualified by the majority of the Executive Board.
SEC. 1i.  Any member granted legal assistance who fails to follow through with the lawsuit or matter, upon which the assistance was granted, without the consent of the lodge, will be responsible for all legal fees and costs connected therewith.

SEC. 1j.  The lodge shall not consider or grant legal assistance to any person who is not an active member in good standing at the time the incident occurred.

Posted in: Reaching Out

1 Comment on "Info Needed On Legal Assistance Requests From Members"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1. We had a similar issue 4 years ago. We had expanded in the course of your duties to mean whenever the department brought you up on charges. That went on for a while and we had to change the by laws to match the application and practice. We also wanted to prevent the idea members had to beg for legal aid when they felt it should be more automatic. We also wanted to keep board members or others from being compelled to testify to what an officer said at an admin hearing. We had the attorney’s function as gate keepers but we lost oversight of what was ongoing. To meet all of these challenges we created a claim form to track incidents. The member then submits bills monthly so they know what has been done in their case. The committee reviews and reports what has been spent. We require off duty criminal to be covered out of pocket to the member but we cover the admin. I will send you our By Laws.