The Henderson Police Officers’ Association unveiled it’s renovated union hall with an open house, March 12.
Nearly all of the $750,000 upgrade to the building at 145 Panama Street was paid for by union members, with the exception of $22,000 in grants. Federal grants also helped with the exterior renovation and permanent sign, which will be installed in April.
The facility now features two spacious conference rooms equipped with equipment for presentations and video conferencing, an open reception, a new double door entrance, upgraded office suites (eight tenets pay for the majority of the building’s cost) and a lounge for officers.
The structure, only blocks from City Hall and the Main Police Station, dates to the 1970’s and was purchased by the union in 2013.
In remarks prior to the ribbon cutting, newly elected HPOA President Ken Kerby lamented efforts he believes may weaken Nevada union powers, as has been happening in recent years in other states, mostly notably Wisconsin.
He pointed to the Henderson dynamic as a strong example of city-union co-operation. “We all feel like we have a stake in what happens here,” Kerby said. “Realizing that, that’s the secret to success.”
“Unions are a different matter from where they grew up. We used to have child labor pracitces and very low wages for workers in poor working conditions. Unions were a necessity back then. Fast forward to today, things are different. While we still are here for wages and work place safety, its much more than that.
“We are part of the process to make decisions for the future, providing input,” Kerby explained. “I represent 340 police officers. We become that conduit for information from the 340 people out doing the job every day.”
He stressed the importance of the union role to speak on behalf of officers and protect officers’ procedural rights during reviews or investigations, but said that does not extent to shielding an officer from consequences of misconduct.
“We’re here to protect the officer,” He said. “People talk about a thin blue line…we’re not here to have officers hide behind that line. That’s not our mission at all. We’re here for transparency. If somebody stepped across the line, violated a policy or the law, we’re her to protect the process, not the officer who’s done that.”
City Council members Gerri Schroder and Debra March, City Manager Jacob Snow, Police Chief Patrick Moers and Water Street District Business Association President Tim Brooks were among the attendees to participate in a ribbon cutting ceremony sponsored by the Henderson Chamber of Commerce.
A catered lunch was provided by Emerald Island Casino and a large cake ornately decorated with the HPOA seal with created by Chef Flemming’s Bake Shop.
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(Photo Courtesy of Inside Henderson)