Retirees stand with Union in all legislative fights for officer benefits

If you’re in DROP or completely retired from HPD, you should join the Houston Police Retired Officers Association, and here’s just a few of the reasons.

The Associate membership is also available to anyone recommended by a regular member. If you have a friend or relative that’s interested in being affiliated, have them fill out the online form and list you as their sponsor.

Currently we have about 50 associate members. Rick Hartley, the now retired executive director of the 100 Club of Greater Houston, was the first associate member.

Associates can’t vote, hold office or receive the bronze plaque awarded to retired active officers’ families, but they can and do work on committees, attend meetings and reunions, have access to Family Assistance items and other benefits.

A lot of former HPD officers and some from other agencies have joined and do a lot of work helping where needed.

On another subject, everyone that has city insurance has had at least a somewhat confusing time of the two simultaneous “open enrollments” for health insurance by Medicare as well as the city.  At least 201 members have had major malfunctions and were accidently kicked out of Medicare totally.

HPROA Executive Director Anthony Kivela has worked 18 hours a day, including New Year’s Eve night, and has been successful in undoing a good part of the mess, often as a last-ditch effort, personally helping members fill out forms, understanding the conflicting information, and by coordinating with the city, insurance companies and Medicare. Other board members of the association have worked a lot of hours helping our members straighten out policy problems. There’s still a lot to do on this.

This is just one of the benefits of being a member of The Houston Police Retired Officers Association.

Another is the direct representation in Austin by our legislative committee and PAC officers working in concert with HPOPS and the HPOU to maintain the security of our pension fund.

During the last pension battle in Austin, HPROA members, along with active HPOU members went to the Capitol and kept up a steady pressure on social media in the fight to secure our pension.

So far this year more than 1,000 bills and motions have been filed, and our legislative committee members are wading through the morass to find anything hidden that will affect either our pension and/or the right of retired officers to officially carry a sidearm.

Through the direct efforts of Bill Elkin, Executive Director Emeritus, and others, the HPROA is the only civilian organization that has access to the same insurance for legal representation involving critical incidents that is available to active officers through the TMPA and at the same reduced cost as active officers. It has been used at least once by a member a few years back and was extremely beneficial.

Bill Elkin was the key individual in getting the laws passed that allow retired peace officers across the state the legal right to carry a sidearm under the same laws that allow active police officers.

By far the most visible and active of our committees is the Family Assistance Committee chaired by Henry Chavez and Barbara Cotten, along with committee members Tim Dillon, Pat Kainer, Mattie Provost and Ray Smith.  They work in direct concert with HPD’s Family Assistance Unit helping coordinate funeral arrangements and assisting where necessary.

Their biggest effort is put into supplying free medical equipment to members in need.  A warehouse of donated and purchased medical equipment is available free of charge for members, regular and associate. The requirement is delivered and installed as soon as possible after notification. Included are hospital beds and mattresses, wheelchairs of most sizes, motorized wheelchairs, lift chairs and several other smaller items. When they are no longer needed, they are picked up, sanitized and returned to the warehouse at the family’s convenience.

They also spend a lot of time staying in contact with those members in and out of medical facilities and helping where possible.

A presentation is made to the family at retired members’ funerals. The presentation includes a Letter of Appreciation along with a heavy bronze plaque commemorating their years of service. The plaque may be embedded into a headstone if desired.

These are a few of things the organization does for its 2,000 members.

When this COVID pandemic is over, we hope to resume the monthly meetings and the Houston and Fredericksburg reunions. It’s a good place to meet your old friends once a month.

If you would like to join us there’s a direct link at www.hpdretired.com that will let you do it all easily online. There’s also an Associate Membership link available for non-retirees and civilians.

There’s strength in numbers and it’s to your direct benefit to join.