Supporting Our Community
The Board Members and elected Officers of WSLEA understand the importance of taking an active role in communities all across the State of Washington and is proud to support the following:
Children’s Country Home
A Place Where Children Thrive
Children’s Country Home, serving medically fragile children, is nestled in a picturesque wooded neighborhood in Woodinville, Washington. Their loving, eight-bed home provides 24-hour skilled care to medically fragile and technology-dependent children from infancy through young adulthood. Services are available for children needing long-term, transitional, respite, and end-of-life care.
When a child has intense disabilities and complex medical needs, providing round-the-clock care can be exhausting and overwhelming. Since 1997, families have turned to Children’s Country Home. They serve as an extension to the child’s own family. Their dedicated staff and volunteers provide a loving, enriching environment for every child while parents receive support to understand their child’s complex medical needs.
Children’s Country Home supports the quality of life every child deserves and helps all to reach their full potential. Every child’s learning ability is identified and their educational needs are met through effective collaboration with the local school system. Social interaction is an integral component of the home environment. All children have the opportunity to participate in activities such as music, arts and crafts and field trips.
WSLEA is proud to support the Children’s Country Home. To learn more about Children’s Country home, visit www.childrenscountryhome.org.
Hearth Homes – Their Name is Changing, the Mission, Vision and Leadership Remains the Same
Housing Homeless & Healing Hearts Since 2003
Hearth Homes began in the home of Founder, Karen Fournier. It evolved to two residential homes in Spokane Valley providing safe housing to up to 9 families at a time. Hearth Homes is supported entirely by individual donations and private grants from the Spokane Valley community.
Hearth Homes strives to inspire transformation in the lives of young mothers by assisting in the development of essential life skills such as parenting, nutrition and independent living skills (finance, housekeeping, and responsible renting).
WSLEA was pleased to once again be able to support Hearth Homes’ 2019 fundraising event. Hearth Homes serves homeless women and children in the Spokane Valley. Already this school year, 380 children have been identified as experiencing homelessness in the Central Valley School District alone. This year, Hearth Homes housed 24 homeless mothers and their children for an average of 9 months. Hearth Homes provides Life Skills Classes focused on parenting, interpersonal relationship and domestic skills. Residents prepare Family Dinners and eat as a community every weeknight.
The 2016 Red Carpet Gala allowed hearth Homes to raise enough to “Burn the Mortgage” and pay off their $135,000 debt. Their 2019 Red Carpet Gala on April 6th is their capstone fundraiser and WSLEA is proud to support this event and help transform the lives of vulnerable children and families in our community.
Why the name change? The easy answer to this is the brand confusion they often experience: People often mistake them for Women’s Health, fireplace sales, and a local construction company. The more important reason: the former name did not connect with the women and children they serve. They wanted something that speaks to them and has a deeper relevance for those they serve.
So…what is the new name? naomi. Why Naomi? Some of you my already know the story of Ruth and Naomi – two women who have lost everything. Oppressed, destitute and looking for redemption. These women came together for support, encouragement and to rebuild their lives. This is who they already serve. They are in the process of changing their website, social media, etc.
To learn more, visit www.hearth-homes.org.
NSSF Project ChildSafe: “Own it? Respect it. Secure it.”
Project ChildSafe is a 501 (c)(3) tax-exempt charity. Project ChildSafe is also a program committed to promoting firearms safety among all firearms owners through the distribution of safety education messages and free firearm Safety Kits. The kits include a cable-style gun-locking device and a brochure that discusses safe handling and storage as ways to help deter access by unauthorized individuals, including at-risk persons.
Project ChildSafe is a real solution to making our communities safer. Through vital partnerships with law enforcement, elected officials, community leaders, state agencies, businesses, the firearms industry and other stakeholders, Project ChildSafe has distributed more than 36 million firearms safety kits to gun owners in all 50 states and five US territories, and has helped raise awareness about the safe and responsible ownership of firearms and the importance of securely storing firearms to reduce access by unauthorized individuals.
To learn more about Project ChildSafe, visit www.projectchildsafe.org.
Medal of Honor
WSLEA is proud to continue its support of the Washington State Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. Its contribution will be used to honor this year’s recipients at the Medal of Honor Peace Officer memorial service. The 2019 ceremony will take place on May 3, 2019, starting at 12:00 PM at the Law Enforcement Memorial site, on the north side of the Temple of Justice on the capitol campus in Olympia, with a reception to follow.
In 1994, the Washington State Legislature established the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor. This honor is reserved for police officers who have been killed in the line of duty, or who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct. The ceremony honors not only these officers, it also recognizes all law enforcement officers who continue, at great risk and peril, to protect those they serve.
Peace Officers Memorial
Over 280 law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty in the State of Washington. It is only fitting that these medal recipients not be forgotten. We honor them for their compassion, their steadfast commitment in the line of fire, their sacrifices, and their exceptional service to the citizens of the State of Washington. And most importantly, we honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice, giving up their lives.
We thank the recipients and their families from the bottom of our hearts. These officers protected our Constitution, our civil liberties, and our families, often working under circumstances that kept them away from their own families for long periods of time.
The distinguished group of officers whose names appear on the Memorial epitomize the true character of law enforcement officers – honor, integrity, and commitment to the citizens of the State of Washington.
Washington State Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.)
Survivors Supporting Survivors to Rebuild Shattered Lives
The elected Officers and Board Members of WSLEA are pleased to continue its support of this outstanding organization. The Washington State Concerns of Police Survivors play such an important role in ministering to the police agencies and survivor families of fallen law enforcement officers.
For 19 years, WAStateCOPS has assisted the police agencies and survivors of peace officers killed in the line of duty as they rebuild their lives and deal with their own specific grief issues. Donations provide financial assistance for survivors to:
- attend National Police Week
- attend Hands-on-Programs provided by National C.O.P.S.
- receive counseling
- attend training to learn how to assist subsequent survivors of line-of-duty death
To learn more about WAStateCOPS, please see their website wastatecops.org
March 2017 events Washington State Concerns of Police Survivors March 2017 events
2016 Spokane Breakfast With Champions
WSLEA is a proud sponsor of the 2016 Spokane Breakfast With Champions to be held on Tuesday, October 18th, at the Davenport Grand Hotel. This fall fundraiser brings over 400 community leaders, corporate executives, Special Olympics families and supporters together to share in and celebrate the Special Olympics movement. It is the signature event within the East Region, benefitting the 1,402 athletes in Spokane County who participate in programming at no cost to themselves or their families.
“Special Olympics Washington remains grateful to the Washington State Law Enforcement Association, who’s loyal support sends a message that both our athletes and our community are worth investing in. Many thanks to the Association and all the members championing for the acceptance, respect, and inclusion of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Your charitable gift not only brings greater training and competition opportunities to Spokane, but also health and hope.”
“Resonating from the playing field is a message that everyone can play, everyone counts and everyone deserves a chance.” Eunice Kennedy Shriver, Founder, Special Olympics
2016 Spokane Polar Plunge
Special Olympics Washington will be holding their annual Polar plunge event on February 27, 2016 at Liberty Lake, WA. Sponsoring this event allows WSLEA to make a positive impact in the community by supporting Special Olympics’ goals, to educate one another and make a difference. Special Olympics Washington (“SOWA”) supports over 14,500 athletes in 17 Olympic-Type Sports with the assistance of 10,000 Coaches and Volunteers.
Special Olympics Breakfast with Champions
Special Olympics Washington will be holding their annual Breakfast with Champions fundraising event October 13, 2015 and WSLEA is proud to once again sponsor this event. Special Olympics focuses on promoting dignity, acceptance, and a chance to reach one’s potential by providing opportunities for individuals with intellectual disabilities to succeed in life.
Special Olympics Polar Plunge
WSLEA is again proud to sponsor the Special Olympics Polar Plunge, held this year on February 28, 2015 at Liberty Lake, WA.
WSLEA Board Members Bruce Morrison and Steve Sills flank the poster with Chairman Pete Sirois in the center and Board Member (and fellow plunger) Jay Hughes holding the Special Olympics flame, together with Special Olympics organizers and the Polar Bear.“Freezin’ for a reason”. WSLEA’s own Jay Hughes took the plunge along with the rest of the “copsicles”! Jay Hughes was part of the Top Team and was one of the Top Fundraisers!
Special Olympics Breakfast
On October 14, 2014, Special Olympics of Washington held a fundraising breakfast in Spokane. Amanda Baird, gold medal Olympic swimmer, was the featured speaker at the event. WSLEA was pleased to sponsor a table for 10, including local Sheriff’s Deputies, Detention Officers and WSLEA Board Member Jay Hughes. Special Olympics Thank You to WSLEA. Year In Review, WSLEA. WSLEA Special Olympics Executive Sponsor. Special Olympics breakfast.
PTSD in the Military Veteran
WSLEA sponsored training hosted by the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office on November 10, 2014, focused on understanding post-traumatic stress disorder in Military Veterans. See PTSD Nov 2014B for more information.
Basic Law Enforcement Academy
Congratulations to the graduates of the Criminal Justice Training Center’s Basic Law Enforcement Academy. These graduates representing City, County and State Law Enforcement agencies throughout Washington State, successfully completed the CJTC’s four (4) month course.
HR 218 pistol shoot
WSLEA is once again happy to sponsor the 2019 HR 218 pistol shoot. Qualifying was held June 18, 2019 at the Spokane Police Academy. If you are interested in qualifying, please email Robert Bro at email@example.com because they can only take a maximum of 5 at a time on the North range. They will start at 0800 and go to either 1100 or 1200 hours depending the number of attendees. They want everyone to get a chance to shoot, so they will arrange times for all. If needed, more times can be arranged at a later date. You may shoot as many times as you would like or as many guns, PLEASE REMEMBER, SAFETY FIRST ABOVE ALL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Northwest Gang Investigators Association
The elected Officers and Board Members of WSLEA are pleased to be able to continue to support the Northwest Gang Investors Association (NWGIA) training conferences throughout the Northwest. WSLEA sponsors the 25th annual conference, held in Spokane May 6-10, 2019.
NWGIA represents law enforcement professionals investigating gang crimes and the implementation of prevention and intervention programs in the States of Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and Montana. For more information, go to www.nwgia.com.
International Outlaw Motorcycle Investigators Association
The elected Officers and Board Members of WSLEA are pleased to be able to support the International Outlaw Motorcycle Investors Association (IOMGIA) training conference. WSLEA is sponsoring the 45th annual conference, to be held in Spokane September 8-13, 2019.
IOMGIA represents law enforcement professionals investigating outlaw motorcycle gangs and this conference provides training on violence, criminal activities, investigative techniques, and officer safety. For more information, go to www.iomgia.net.
“See Ya Later” Foundation
Inspiring Youth – Encouraging Families
The “See Ya Later” Foundation began out of the inspiration of a 12-year-old boy who died of cancer. Scott Banke had a zest for life and a courage that motivates the mission of the Foundation, which is: Inspiring Youth – Encouraging Families.
The Foundation’s 3-part outreach includes:
- Kids Camps: Basketball, Football, Soccer and Fishing Derbies are available for families with minimal or no financial burden.
- Scott Banke Annual Memorial Scholarships: Five scholarships are awarded for continued education.
- Seeds of Hope: Provides resources to families in their time of greatest crisis when a parent or child is stricken with a life-threatening or severe medical crisis.
WSLEA has been a Hole Sponsor for SYL’s 4th, 5th and 6th annual Washington golf tournaments, which are held to help finance the Seeds of Hope Families. For more information about SYL, see their website at www.seeyalater.org
WSLEA Donates to the Oso Tragedy
To honor the memories of those lost in the recent Oso landslide, WSLEA donated to the funeral fund established by the Immaculate Conception Parish in Arlington, WA. Additionally, WSLEA made a donation to the American Red Cross, for the Washington Landslide Relief Fund.
Cold Justice Sex Crimes
Cold Justice is preparing a new documentary series on solving unsolved sex crimes and rape kit backlogs. CJ FLYER MASTER update
Cold Justice has been working with law enforcement agencies throughout the country, adding resources and personnel to assist them with their unsolved homicide investigations. It’s been a very successful program, which – since its first airing last year – has garnered numerous arrests, confessions, indictments, and prison sentences. (Here’s a link to the original show: http://www.tntdrama.com/shows/cold-justice.html.)
The new program will provide additional resources to local law enforcement agencies to assist them with their unsolved sex crime cases. The goal of the project remains the same, which is to aid local law enforcement agencies – this time – in reviewing their unsolved sex crime cases in the hopes of bringing a resolution.
They appreciate that because of inevitable constraints on time and resources, law enforcement may not always have the opportunity to reexamine these cases, which is where they would want to come in to help. They’d provide additional resources to assist you while informing the public about the hard work and effort that you and other law enforcement agencies put into these cases.
Their resources include – but are not limited to – the ability to cover costs for forensic testing (grant money for DNA, trace, current or backlogged rape kits, etc.) and providing experienced prosecutorial, investigative, and forensic expertise to aid local law enforcement with their investigations. They work with ASCLD-certified labs that provide fast turnaround times for us, so the testing process becomes greatly expedited.
The documentary series “Cold Justice” on TNT contacted WSLEA seeking law enforcement agencies in Washington that could benefit from additional expertise and resources for their unsolved homicide cases. For more information see Cold Justice.
WSLEA encourages the enactment of just, enforceable laws to curtail crime and protect the lives and property of all our state’s citizens. Because of the Association’s broad membership base, experienced leadership, expertise and statewide reputation, WSLEA has earned the attention of state and local government.
A New Merger Attempt
Well, here we go again. On November 21st Dick Warbrouck of the RFFOW was in Olympia for a hearing on bills dealing with pension board membership. He was advised that he should meet with Senator Kevin Van De Wege. The meeting was also attended by Steve Nelson, the Executive Director of the LEOFF II Board.
(Senator Van De Wege is an active LEOFF 2 Firefighter and was just elected to the Senate after several terms as a Representative. His email address is Kevin.VanDeWege@leg.wa.gov. His Olympia address is 212 John A. Cherberg Building, PO Box 40424, Olympia, WA 98504, and his phone number is (360) 786-7646 )
At the meeting a proposal was provided in draft format calling for a merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2. The document reads as follows:
LEOFF MERGER DRAFT
• Merges LEOFF 1and LEOFF 2
• Delay until receive IRS approval (Does not delay State rate reduction)
• 0% LEOFF 2 contribution rate for 2019-21 & 2021-23 (saves $295M GFS Local employer still pays 30% and employee still pays 50%)
• Beginning in 2023-25 state contributions restart but start phasing out and transitioning to employee/local employer by 2030 when employee share is 55% and local employer is 45%
• Repeal Public Safety Enhancement Account and Benefit Improvement Account saves $100M GFS In 2019-21 and 2021-23, and $50 million per biennium thereafter
• $15,000/member payment Approximately $240M from LEOFF 1fund
• Include dental in retiree medical – $Unknown local government
• LEOFF 1 Governance unchanged (SCPP & PFC)
• LEOFF 2 contributions for 2019-21 directed into LEOFF 1Retiree Medical Account $105M
• $Transfer from LEOFF 2 into Benefit Improvement Account
• Rate-setting authority solely with LEOFF 2 Board beginning 2023 (OSA reasonable)
• LEOFF 2 Board protected – authority and budget
At the meeting the above was distributed but not much more in the way of information was provided. No explanation was given for the various proposals nor was any explanation given to explain the $15,000 per member payment provision.
Steve Nelson advised that he had not informed the LEOFF II Board of this proposal and that they had granted him blanket authority to do anything he wants-seems like a serious conflict of interest because of his position as the Executive Director.
What have we done?
After the meeting contact was made with Dennis Lawson who is the President of the Washington State Council of Firefighters and the Chair of the LEOFF II Board. He stated that he was unaware of the proposal even though the WSCFF lobbyist appeared to be aware of the proposal. In fairness to WSCFF, Dennis Lawson was out of town and the lobbyist did not attend the meeting. Dick Warbrouck will be meeting with Dennis Lawson shortly, so we should soon discover the position of WSCFF relative to the proposal.
On Monday, February 25, representatives of the Retired Fire Fighters of Washington, the Retired Seattle Police Officers Association and the Washington State Retired Police Officers Association met with our attorney, Phil Talmadge. It was decided that we should have Mr. Talmadge send a letter to Senator Van De Wege seeking clarification and details. In addition to the Talmadge letter Dick Warbrouck also wrote directly to Senator Van De Wege asking a number of questions.
The Senator has delegated his answers to Steve Nelson. Steve’s answers are as expected-everything is just fine and legal. He cites legal positions taken during the previous rounds of merger proposals even though we have established that those opinions do not hold up under examination.
You can review some of the documents here: http://leg.wa.gov/SCPP/Publications/Pages/SCPP2016MergerStudy.aspx
We have also been in contact with the Association of Washington Cities and the Association of Washington Counties. Both have indicated they will not support the proposal. WACOPS was not aware of the proposal but is now on board and opposes the proposal. We have not yet spoken with COMPAS.
What happens next?
We are waiting to determine the position of the Council of Fire Fighters and will be reviewing the legal actions we may need to take if the bill goes forward. We are advised by Steve Nelson that it is the Senator’s intent to draft a merger bill that will be approved by the IRS and will meet all Washington state legal requirements as laid out in Bakenhus and Weaver. The Senator is currently working with stakeholders, including RFFOW, to finalize the merger proposal and will send draft legislation to them. The Senator anticipates having a draft bill ready by March 18.
In our judgement the barriers presented by the IRS rules as well as Bakenhus and Weaver are insurmountable. This is not new ground and they have tried this in one form or another three times in the past.
The issues here are complicated, so we will be addressing them in subsequent emails and web postings. You might want to take a look at what the proposed back in 2017. See our 2017 posting for more information.
And, just to throw a little more oil on the fire, we have been advised that there is an effort going forward to transfer $321 million from the LEOFF II Benefit Trust to the LEOFF II Benefit Enhancement Fund. I suspect that is why they want the LEOFF 1 money to back fill the hole that would create.
More to follow. Be sure to stay in touch with your organization and that you inform everyone as to what is going on. Also, make sure everyone signs up for emails at LEOFF1.Net.
Oh, you might want to let the Senator know what you think of the idea. His address is Kevin.VanDeWege@leg.wa.gov
Update on Our Opposition to I-940
You asked the WACOPS leadership to oppose I-940 and to exhaust every legislative option in finding an alternative. We have followed your direction and worked diligently to find another path. In the past 6 weeks we have worked with a law enforcement coalition and the legislature and found a way forward.
In late January, WACOPS, FOP, WASPC, WSPTA, and COMPAS met in order to create a better policy than what I-940 provides. All of these organizations, and later to include WAPA, came to a unified position in support of the language crafted at that meeting. That unified effort was the key legislative leaders needed in order to help us open a dialogue with the backers of Initiative 940, DeEscalate Washington. At no time were any law enforcement organizations willing to accept any policy that was less than the national standard of Graham vs. Connor. Over the past 6 weeks our leadership was prepared to walk away from these discussions if DeEscalate Washington refused to accept language necessary to protect our members from malicious or political prosecution.
Since those discussions began in early February, we have held ongoing discussions with DeEscalate Washington. The use of force language was one of several parts of the negotiation. Through the strategic work of your leadership team, at 4pm on Monday, March 5 we came to an agreement on better public policy, reasonable protections for Washington State’s peace officers, and a legislative path to avoid a November vote. We are working to get final passage of Substitute House Bill 3003 tomorrow. We believe the resulting statute will provide protection to officers like Graham vs. Connor. We have also included enhancements that would give officers protection for malicious prosecution.
WACOPS does not support Initiative 940. We are working on legislation so we don’t have to fight the initiative at the ballot box. The Troopers Association and COMPAS have taken a position that we should fight this in court or in November. When you consider that Seattle/King County is the epicenter of the Initiative’s most vocal supporters, and you consider the possible outcomes of 940, choosing to fight over finding a legislative solution would be a long-shot. Developing better public safety policy with a statewide law enforcement coalition has resulted in an understandable use of force statute.
Recently you may have heard media reports or misinformation from other officers about our efforts. We are confident our effort will be successful and result in a better public policy providing protection for officers. All four of the law enforcement organizations that represent rank and file officers have been involved in developing this legislative solution. Law enforcement didn’t ask for a change to the use of force statute. Because of the relationships we have in the Legislature and our ability to work with diverse interests, we are attempting with this legislative solution to secure a voice for our members now and in the future while ensuring you are protected from the risks you take every day.
On March 15, 2012, Gov. Christine Gregoire signed into law HB 1820 (which passed 98 to 0 in the House and 48 to 0 in the Senate) which requires the Washington State Patrol to develop a statewide Blue Alert system to quickly notify the public and speed the apprehension of violent criminals suspected of killing or seriously injuring a local, state, or federal law enforcement officer. The system will be developed consistent with the AMBER Alert system including: procedures to support the investigating law enforcement agency as a resource for the receipt and dissemination of information about the suspect, the suspect’s whereabouts, and methods of escape; a process for reporting information to designated media outlets; and criteria for the investigating agency to determine quickly whether an officer has been seriously injured or killed and whether a Blue Alert needs to be activated.
Proposed merger of LEOFF 1 and LEOFF 2 pension plans
WSLEA does not support the proposed merger of the LEOFF 1 and 2 pension plans, as outlined in Senate Bill 6563 and House Bill 2350. Attached is a sample of a letter sent on behalf of WSLEA to legislators supporting defeat of SB 6563 and HB 2350. Legislative Letter.
“We owe a debt of gratitude to the members of LEOFF I, family and friends. Thank you for all your emails, letter writing, and phone calls to stop SB 6563 and HB 2350 from passing this year. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.” Mark Curtis, LEOFF I Coalition Lobbyist, LEOFF I Coalition Board
Merging plan 1 and plan 2 of the law enforcement officers’ and firefighters’ retirement system, SB 6563, HB 2350, were introduced on April 11, 2012, the last day of the 2nd special session of the 2012 Legislative Session.
For information regarding LEOFF I activities and current issues: The LEOFF I Coalition. The mission of the LEOFF I Coalition is to protect the integrity of the LEOFF I Law and LEOFF I Retirement Trust Fund. LEOFF I Coalition members are law enforcement officers and fire fighters.
Legislative Affairs Links and Resources
Washington Legislative Home Page
To receive information regarding specific legislation or for members to share their thoughts on any particular piece of legislation, either call the WSLEA Office at: 1-800-227-WSLE(9753) or E-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.