How we stand by our members is critical

As many of you are aware by now, one of our members was critically injured by a suspect in Deptford Township. Our member was shot in the femoral artery. His brother officers came to his rescue, and if it wasn’t for the three officers on his shift that day who found him, we could be talking about a much different outcome. Thank God those three officers had the composure and training that kicked in during an extremely difficult situation and ultimately saved their brother’s life.

When I received the call from the Gloucester Local 122 State Delegate regarding the critical injury of the member, I knew how serious the situation had become. The members of Gloucester Local 122 should not only be proud of how they conducted themselves in this situation, but more importantly, how they came together to rally behind their brother in blue. Much like a family does in times of need, this is what our association does. A good union cares for its own and makes sure that the members and their families are supported through difficult times.

The best news from this incident is that the officer who was shot is alive and well. He has a tough road to recovery ahead of him. But with the support of his family and his family in blue, I am sure he will make a full recovery and be back on his feet soon. Once again, job well done by Gloucester Local 122.

On March 1, the NJ State PBA welcomed a new member to the full-time staff at the state office in Woodbridge. Luke Sciallo from Allenhurst-Ocean Township Local 57 has started his new position of pension coordinator while continuing his position as peer assistance liaison. The incident in Deptford is just one example of how Luke comes in to help when wearing his peer assistance hat.

Luke and his team don’t just show up the day of an incident and forget about it afterward. This is a team that is there for the long haul. This doesn’t just ring true when talking about the support for Gloucester Local 122, but for any of our members who find themselves facing critical incidents like these.

It is SO important to use the resources we have available. So many times, it’s easy to say “I’m fine” when, really, we all know that’s not true. Be sure to lean on Luke and his team to get the support you need to be the best you that you can be, both on the job and when you get home to your family.

Lastly, let’s talk about cost of living adjustments – the coveted COLA. It is the hottest (and first) topic that comes up whenever I talk with a retired member. Retired Members Local 600, our Local that represents our retirees, has created a committee to investigate how the cost of living adjustments can be reinstated. If you are reading this article, have recently retired and have attended one of my retirement seminars, you know that I have discussed the COLA issues that are before the PFRS Board of Trustees.

In previous issues, I have urged new members to get involved with their respective Locals. Now I am urging our retired members to engage with Local 600 so they, too, can be informed and involved.

Local 600 advocates within our association for retirees. While joining Local 600 may get you a subscription to NJ Cops Magazine, there is so much more information that may not get to retirees unless they get involved, too. Retirees should also start to attend the meetings to learn the facts about what the NJSPBA is doing on behalf of both active and retired members.

For far too long, uninformed retirees have been making false claims about COLA and other issues retirees face. Joining Local 600 and attending meetings is the best way for our retired members to get engaged and become accurately informed on the many issues that pertain to retired law enforcement officers in New Jersey. Remember, it’s never too late to keep learning.