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Clinton Township Police Chief Fred Posavetz (center) with his sons, LEEP Award recipient Eric Posavetz (left) and Clinton Township Police Officer Ryan Posavetz.
– By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Macomb Police Academy graduate Eric Posavetz is following in his family’s footsteps. The Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Award winner graduated alongside his brother, Ryan on May 20, 2019.
Ryan, 27, was hired by Clinton Township Police Department right after graduation. The brothers’ father, Fred Posavetz, is Clinton Township Police Chief. Their uncle, Jim Watson, is a retired Detroit Police Officer.
“It was always law enforcement that made me excited,” said Eric Posavetz. “I like the idea of keeping our community safe. Dad being a K9 handler and having the K9s at the house, I always loved the stories about protecting people. He’s always been my role model since I was a little kid. If I could be half the man that he was, I will have a very good career in law enforcement.”
LEEP Award winner Eric Posavetz (left) graduated Macomb Police Academy with his brother Ryan, who was hired by Clinton Township Police.
Posavetz, 25, also knew he didn’t want an 8-hour a day desk job and he would enjoy the variety that comes with law enforcement. “I don’t know how some people do the same things day in and day out. I like that every day is a different challenge,” he said. “I like the idea you can make a difference in your community.”
He earned a General Studies associates degree from Macomb Community College, which will become a Criminal Justice degree once he completes one final law enforcement course.
In late August, Posavetz got the word he would be hired full-time to work with his dad and brother at Clinton Township Police Department. The co-owner of Size Up Supplement, a Novi vitamin store, continues to run his business. “I kind of get the best of both worlds. I own my own store. At the same time, I really wanted to go into Criminal Justice,” Posavetz said. “I will be working at a department with 12-hour shifts. If it gets to the point where it’s too overwhelming, I can sell my share of the store.”
During the 11-hour days at the academy, he had someone else run the store. “I was getting a paycheck for managing, but when I started academy, I stopped working,” he said, adding a lot of his income was invested in the store. “It’s a really new store, so (the LEEP Award) definitely helped me out tremendously paying my bills.”
Posavetz was one of 24 original pre-service cadets in the class of 44. Macomb Academy Director Ray Macksoud was impressed with his work ethic, maturity, determination and character. “He kept up to the physical standards. He did well academically,” Macksoud said. “Everything he did, he put forward the effort while still maintaining his business and (training at) the academy.”
“When he’s talking to you, he’s serious and presents himself well,” Macksoud said. “I think the best trait I can say is he combined hard work with maturity and he was focused on a goal.”
Alleging that Attorney General Dana Nessel is trying to “usurp the lawmaking power of her office,” some members of the Michigan Legislature are asking to intervene in Enbridge’s lawsuit against her. A lawsuit was filed by Enbridge in June, seeking to enforce its Line 5 Tunnel agreement with the state; Nessel has filed suit against the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, joining more than a dozen states charging a new rule denying green cards to legal immigrants who use public assistance, or might use it, is unconstitutional; House Bills 4824 and 4825, if passed and signed into law, would create a sales tax holiday for parents and teachers who wouldn’t pay the 6 percent sales tax on back-to-school pens, glue sticks, clothing and computers under $1,000 on the third Saturday in August; In recent comments on WJR, Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) said there will be no government shutdown because “there is no reason for it.” Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had suggested that a continuation budget be prepared in case budget negotiations go beyond Oct. 1–the start of the next fiscal year, but Shirkey said legislative leaders are making “good progress on the budget and some creative ways to address roads.”; and over a dozen Republicans have filed suit in U.S. District Court’s Western Division against Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson seeking to stop the state’s new citizen redistricting commission and invalidate Proposal 2. For more information on these and other legislative issues, please click on the August 2019 Karoub Report below.
From now until Oct. 6, 2019 National Law Enforcement Museum visitors – including law enforcement officers – will have a chance to put their crime-solving skills to the test. Those who solve the case have a chance to win $25,000.
“We’d love to see law enforcement participate – maybe even have police departments challenge each other to see who can crack the case first,” said Robyn Small, National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) Senior Director of Communications. “It’s a great team activity!”
Upon entering the Museum, visitors will be given a “case file” about the Queen of Diamonds, a criminal whose anonymous crew can only be identified by solving a series of puzzles embedded throughout the Museum’s exhibits. Using critical thinking and detective’s intuition, audiences will seek to uncover the true identities of the Queen and her crew. If a visitor succeeds in identifying all five members of the gang, they’ll be entered in a drawing for the chance to win $25,000, which will be awarded to one detective.
“Crimes (Un)Cased gives us an opportunity to introduce visitors to our Museum’s collection of artifacts in a unique and immersive way,” said NLEOMF CEO Lori Sharpe Day. “It’s a great activity to do with a team of friends or family members, and of course who wouldn’t want the chance to win $25,000?”
The Crimes (Un)Cased immersive experience was developed by the Museum’s marketing agency, U.Group, in conjunction with the Museum’s curatorial team. “It is part of bringing the Museum’s mission to life and enriching the relationship between law enforcement and the community through a fun and engaging experience,” said Chris Lester, Chief Creative Officer, U.Group. “Visitors become detectives themselves, and while immersed in the experience they’ll get to know the amazing stories associated with the artifacts in the Museum.”
Museum visitors are invited to play Crimes (Un)Cased free as a part of regular Museum admission. Once they have completed the activity, they enter their answers in a kiosk.
The Museum hopes to launch new cases for visitors to crack throughout 2020. For more details or to buy tickets to the Museum visit the new website for this immersive experience at www.CrimesUnCased.com.
The Sgt. Collin Rose Memorial Highway sign was erected in July along M-10 Lodge Freeway.
By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Courtney Gewirtz’s efforts to permanently memorialize fallen Wayne State Police Sgt. Collin Rose by designating a portion of M-10 in his honor hit several roadblocks along the way. Rose’s highway memorial sign was finally erected in late July.
“I started this almost immediately after he passed away. It’s been a really time consuming, complex process,” however, Gewirtz said in June, “The 2-1/2 years I’ve been working on the highway memorial sign will be worth it.”
Gewirtz and her husband, Fred Gewirtz, were good friends of Sgt. Rose, having gone to Ferris State University with him. Fred and Collin were Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity brothers. They were roommates in college and again in Eastpointe right after college. “I spent a lot of time with Collin and really got to know the passion for his work and what he was doing,” Courtney Gewirtz said. “He would talk about his work or the people he would run into everyday in the line of duty. We were at a wedding a few weeks before he passed away and all he would talk about is how much he loved his job and was looking forward to his upcoming wedding to his fiancée Nikki Salgot.”
Rose, a Richland native, was mortally wounded during a street investigation Nov. 22, 2016. He died the following evening. Raymond Durham was later arrested and charged with his murder. He was found incompetent to stand trial several times. In December 2018, a district court judge dismissed all charges against Durham because he couldn’t be returned to competency. He remains in the Center for Forensic Psychiatry for criminal defendants adjudicated incompetent to stand trial or acquitted by not guilty by reason of insanity.
“I just knew that after he passed away, we needed to find some way to memorialize Collin,” Gewirtz said. “I reached out to Collin’s fiancée to ask what stretch of the highway she wanted. We nailed down the stretch of highway by Wayne State University where people would make the connection of Collin … because Collin worked in that space and lived over there. I wanted something that would be visual for anybody driving past it to always see Collin’s name in that stretch of highway for that area he was protecting. I think about him every single day.”
While lawyers were arguing for the criminal case to proceed, legislators pushed the highway naming legislation through the lame duck session Dec. 20, 2018. Gov. Rick Snyder signed it into law six days later designating a portion of M-10 from 94 to Grand River Avenue as “Sgt. Collin Rose Memorial Highway.”
Despite the legislative approval, supporters of the sign were unaware of the financial element of highway naming legislation. The state quoted a placement cost of $12,000. Gewirtz and WSU Police Officer Chris Powell, a close friend of Rose’s, negotiated with the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) and were able to place the sign for $3,000.
“It’s on a busy highway,” she said. “It needs to be supported by sturdy beams and large enough for drivers to safely read.”
Additional fundraising was necessary to make up the cost difference, so Gewirtz turned again to the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation, spearheaded by Powell and Rose’s coworkers. Since his death, several memorial fundraisers have been held in Rose’s honor. The Foundation honors Rose through various activities supporting K9s and fallen officers.
Rose’s hometown of Richland and Wayne State University also erected flag pole memorials in Collin’s honor. “We moved into our new station 11 years ago and didn’t have a flag pole until now. It’s pretty great to see the flag flying out there and associate it with Collin,” Powell said. Rose Dog Park was also named in his honor in the Woodbridge neighborhood where he patrolled.
Powell and Rose’s family continue to monitor Durham’s case, checking in with the district court every 90 days to ensure Durham is not released. “It’s not the day in court we were hoping for, but we’re still optimistic he will be held accountable for Collin’s death,” Powell said.
Sgt. Collin Rose made a lasting impression on those who knew him and they’re making sure he will not be forgotten. “I wanted people to remember him and know that he gave up his life for the campus and surrounding neighborhoods he was protecting,” Gewirtz said.
Click here for more information about the Officer Collin Rose Memorial Foundation.
– By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Lansing Township Police Department may be a small, especially in comparison to the much larger city department, but they shouldn’t lack attention from their Union simply because of size.
That’s a key component of the business model Police Officers Labor Council (POLC) is known for and the reason why the Township department decided to leave Capital City Labor Program, Inc. and become POLC members Nov. 30, 2018. A month later their contract expired and the POLC went into negotiations for them.
“POLC has been great. The members are very happy about it. We feel like we’re represented for the first time in quite a while,” said local union President Pat Herson. “We just weren’t getting the sense of mattering with our old unit. We’re not a big bargaining unit so we just always didn’t get the attention.”
Some Lansing Township Officers knew POLC Labor Rep. John Stidham from having worked with him. They also heard about the POLC through representation of neighboring departments. “I personally belonged to an agency that belongs to POLC and POLC used to represent Lansing Township (Command),” Herson said, speaking of his time with the Barry County Sheriff’s Department, a POLC unit.
Stidham said the two-person Lansing Township Command Unit was represented by POLC in 2010 when he became a POLC Labor Rep. “They were already discussing going with Capital City and promised me it was not because of POLC or its’ service but wanted to be whole with the department and in unison with the road patrol unit,” Stidham said. “They left POLC, so I was never able to work with them on a contract. Those members have now retired.”
“John’s always been an upfront individual,” Herson said. “He also represented a couple other groups I knew of. I had some questions and they weren’t being answered by our people and so I called John and he was really quick to help us.”
When Stidham recently took a short medical leave, fellow POLC Labor Rep. Greg Huggett stepped in to work on contract talks while he was off.
“It was one of those feelings where even though we’re a 14-man unit, they made us feel like we’re a 150-man unit,” Herson said.
NAPO is sharing the results of a new study by faculty researchers at the Departments of Psychology at the University of Maryland and Michigan State University about the influence of race in fatal officer involved shootings.
The study examines both the race of the officer and the race of the offender. The authors were looking to evaluate objectively whether racial bias on the part of officers comes into play in the decision to use deadly force.
The authors state: “We find no evidence of anti-Black or anti-Hispanic disparities across shootings, and White officers are not more likely to shoot minority civilians than non-White officers.”
The demographic characteristics of the jurisdictions being policed, and from which officers are hired, explain far more about differences in the uses of force, wrote NAPO Executive Director Bill Johnson in an email to members. The article is very densely written, but it provides solid academic resources for our NAPO member groups to use in defending their officers, Johnson wrote.
– Excerpted from National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund
Law Enforcement Officer line of duty mid-year 2019 deaths are down 35 percent compared to the same time period last year.
The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund issued a new 2019 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report with preliminary data through June 30, 2019. According to the report, 60 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty by mid-year 2019. In 2018, there were 92 line of duty deaths by mid-year.
Of the 60 officers, 27 were killed in firearms-related incidents, 21 in traffic-related incidents, and 12 died due to other causes, including job-related illnesses.
“While we’re encouraged to see a 35 percent decrease in the number of line-of-duty deaths thus far, it’s important to remember that even one fallen officer is one too many,” said Memorial Fund Interim CEO Lori Sharpe Day. “The Memorial Fund’s mission is to honor these brave men and women who have given their lives to keep all of us safe. We hope with a continued emphasis on training as well as programs that focus on officer safety and wellness, we will continue to see a decrease in officer fatalities.”
Although firearms-related fatalities were the leading cause of law enforcement deaths for the first half of this year, they decreased 13 percent compared to 31 deaths in the same period in 2018. Of the 31, four deaths occurred while officers were responding to a robbery call, four officers were ambushed and three were killed responding to domestic disturbance calls. The remaining causes are listed in the 2019 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.
Traffic-related fatalities are also down with 21 compared to 28 last year. Five of these fatalities were from crashes with another vehicle or fixed object; four officers were killed in single-vehicle crashes and 11 officers were struck outside of their vehicles in the first half of this year.
The remaining causes for officer line of duty deaths by mid-year 2019 decreased 64 percent. Twelve officers died from other causes compared to 33 officers during the first half of 2018.
The states which experienced the greatest number of losses in the first half of 2019 include: Texas with six line of duty deaths; Illinois lost five officers; and Alabama lost four officers. Three officers died in the states of California, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and Tennessee. Three federal officers, two territorial and two tribal officers also died the line of duty as of June 30, 2019.
The National Law Enforcement Museum at the Motorola Solutions Foundation Building, a project of the Memorial Fund, opened Oct. 13, 2018, in Washington, DC across from the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The Museum’s Hall of Remembrance provides a reflective space for visitors to remember those officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice.
Please click on the link below to view the full “2019 Mid-Year Law Enforcement Officer Fatalities Report.”
President Donald Trump signed the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act into law on July 29. NAPO members and elected officers were on hand for the ceremony, and as 9/11 first responders, were invited by the President to join him on stage to witness the signing of this vital legislation into law; On July 17, the House overwhelmingly passed the Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act (H.R. 748) by a vote of 419-6. This is an incredible step forward for our efforts to repeal the 40 percent excise tax (“Cadillac Tax”) on employer-sponsored health plans. However, the repeal of the “Cadillac Tax” has a $193 billion 10-year price tag attached to it that will make its passage an uphill battle in the Senate. NAPO believes this number is highly inaccurate as studies have shown that a majority of employers planning to reduce their plan values have indicated they most likely would not provide a corresponding wage increase; On July 24, the House passed the NAPO-endorsed H.R. 397, the Rehabilitation for Multiemployer Pensions Act by a vote of 234-195. This bill would help our fellow workers in the private sector who are facing the nightmare of having their hard-earned pensions possibly taken from them. Nearly 300 multiemployer plans across the country are in danger of failing, which would impact millions of American workers and retirees who have worked their entire lives earning their pensions; The COPS Office announced it will soon be opening applications for both the 2018 and 2019 COPS Hiring Program (CHP) and the Community Policing Development Microgrant Initiative. On July 12, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of the Department of Justice (DOJ) in the City of Los Angeles v. William P. Barr, Attorney General, case lifting the nationwide injunction on CHP and the Microgrants; On July 25, Attorney General Barr directed the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to adopt a new execution protocol, clearing the way for the DOJ to resume the death penalty after a nearly 20-year relapse. He also directed the Acting Director of the BOP, Hugh Hurwitz, to schedule the execution of five death row inmates convicted of murdering, and in some cases torturing and raping, women and children for December and January. The new protocol would kill the inmates with an injection of a single lethal drug called pentobarbital. For more about these and other legistlative issues, please click on the July 29, 2019 Washington Report below.
Photo courtesy of LERTA
Police Officers Labor Council Executive Committee member Collin Birnie presents LERTA graduate Kyle Applebee with a $1,000 LEEP Award at his graduation.
– By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor
Kyle Applebee has a history of serving his country, but the Law Enforcement Regional Training Academy (LERTA) graduate needed a little help himself when it came to paying for his police academy training.
Applebee, who graduated with a 94.5% average, was awarded a $1,000 Law Enforcement Education Program (LEEP) Award for being the highest scoring, non-sponsored recruit overall at the Mott Community College academy. He was one of 11 pre-service cadets in the academy’s graduating class of 19 recruits May 2, 2019.
“It’s always great to be recognized for something like that,” Applebee said. “It bridges the gap post-academy and being unemployed. It helps take care of some necessary things, like bills. It would be a little more difficult without having this award.”
The 27-year-old former U.S. Marine Reserve enlisted in the Michigan National Guard in April 2018 after serving 6-1/2 years in the Marines and completing his Criminal Justice bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University.
“I did attend my National Guard drill weekends throughout this academy, so that helped as well because I did receive some money for that,” he said. “Also, I took out financial aid, so this award helps me pay that back.”
Applebee was hired as a full-time Flint Township Police Officer shortly after graduation. He felt the academy structure prepared him well as every cadet takes on different roles, including leadership positions.
“To be given this award means a lot to me,” he said. “I couldn’t have really done it without the help of the academy staff and instructors. They just do a stellar job. The instruction they gave in the 16 weeks was some of the best I’ve had.”
In a major victory for NAPO and the 9/11 first responder community, the Senate passed the Never Forget the Heroes: James Zadroga, Ray Pfeifer, and Luis Alvarez Permanent Reauthorization of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund Act (H.R. 1327) by a near unanimous vote of 97-2 on July 23. The House passed the bill on July 12 by a similarly overwhelming vote of 402-12. H.R. 1327 now makes it way to the President, who will sign it into law.
Please click on the link below for the special Washington Report, which includes a link to the full press conference.