Should I join a union?

During my 20 years as a police officer I found that there are times when officers find themselves the focus of an investigation. When you are the focus of an investigation, whether it be internal and/or external, finding experienced representation is important. Unions and legal defense companies are good sources to fund that representation.

Unions generally provide two basic services for their members, collective bargaining on behalf of their members and representation for duty related incidents. Collective bargaining leads to a contract that is referred to as a collective bargaining agreement, (CBA). The CBA locks down agreed upon rights for the members of the union. Unions also provide representation in the event that the member is the focus of an investigation that involves the member’s position.

That representation could be in the form of a union representative or an attorney, depending on the union policy and type of incident. If an officer is involved in an incident that could result in a criminal investigation, then all unions, of which I am aware, will provide an attorney to represent you. That representation includes, but is not limited to, if the officer is involved in an officer involved shooting or an in-custody death.Some of those unions who provide representation, and with whom I have contracted with and/or am on the call-out lists are:

I have also contracted with one of the legal defense companies that provides individual plans for law enforcement and correctional officers. That company is the Professional Law Enforcement Association, (PLEA). In the event that one of their members is the focus of an investigation they will provide a knowledgeable attorney to represent the officer. The legal representation includes both internal, external and criminal investigations.

If you are not a member of a union or legal defense company I urge you to join one. When I was an officer, a member of the command staff, whom I respected then and still respect now, once said that when things go bad for an officer, it goes bad quickly. Make sure that you have coverage if and/or when things go bad. If you are not a member of either a union or legal defense provider, they you may not have proper, or any, representation when you need it.

If you find that you are under an investigation and/or involved in an incident that could result in a criminal investigation and are a member of a union or legal defense company, ask them to have me, Your Florida Cop Attorney, represent you. I have effectively represented law enforcement and correctional officers in a multitude of investigations, hearings and trials.

Thank you for stopping by and checking out my blog. If anyone has any questions or comments, please feel free to post them below or contact me directly.

Martin White

I am a retired law enforcement officer and former prosecutor. I now focus my practice on representing law enforcement and corrections officers throughout Florida.