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Winston-Salem Triad Chapter President talks about his work with the PBA

I had been a member of the PBA for my entire 21-year career with the Winston-Salem Police Department but, like many members, I felt the value of my membership was primarily in the legal and death benefits. Admittedly, the legal and death benefits are incredible and arguably the best value in our profession. Through the years the PBA had sponsored several athletic teams I coached and I even benefitted from legal representation in an officer-involved shooting.  However; I had experienced a variety of circumstances in which I felt engagement in the local political process was lacking and representation of issues facing front line police officers seemed non-existent. I followed the traditional path of thinking (and sometimes even saying) “someone should do something about this.” 
When my oldest son joined the Winston-Salem Police Department (WSPD) in August 2015, the very first piece of advice I gave him was to join the PBA when their representative gave a presentation at his Rookie School. It occurred to me that my son would be facing unimaginable challenges if he remained in this profession and it was time for me to be that “someone” who pursued making meaningful changes to enhance the prospects of police officers.  I knew that the WSPD had incredibly talented employees and generally good leadership for the foreseeable future or I would not have suggested that he join the department. However; the WSPD was, and is, having significant issues with recruiting and retaining quality employees due in large part to lagging pay and pay compression. The 2015-16 attrition rate was eight (8) percent and the rolling attrition rate is between twelve (12) and thirteen (13) percent. Our city has a Part 1 crime rate that is 50% higher than competing regional cities. We are having a difficult time attracting and keeping talent and almost every exit interview indicates the primary issue is lagging pay. In fact, when compared year-over-year, many officers are $11,000 behind the average annual pay of peers in the NC market.  
It seemed logical that the PBA infrastructure (with over 600 local members) was the vehicle that best served what I believed needed to be accomplished. I would soon learn that I really had no idea how much work the PBA does on a daily basis to improve the lives of law enforcement officers. I learned the PBA is staffed with the most competent and professional individuals I have had the pleasure to meet in my career. Everyone from the tireless administrative assistant, Holly Doychak in home office to NCPBA Division President Randy Byrd and NCPBA Executive Director John Midgette, are committed to the members of the PBA. These folks have been incredible resources and are always willing to help.
Our chapter had been dormant for several years, so I undertook the task of making it active again.  Almost immediately, several members stepped up and have worked side by side with me in this endeavor. We formed our steering committee and, with the help of Carla Yandell, Jameson “Jamie” Keltner, Jason “Jake” Swaim, William “Shawn” Oliver, and Mark VanBuren, defined a direction focused on establishing a strong chapter that would be engaged locally to improve the lives of police officers. All of these members would go on to serve on the board of the Winston-Salem/Triad chapter when it was officially formed.
We officially became a chapter in May 2016 and immediately compiled a list of issues that we believe are negatively impacting officers locally. These issues include lagging pay, eroding benefits, the lack of a complete Take-Home Car program, and procedural issues with annual evaluations. We agreed to simultaneously conduct a pay analysis and prepare for a screening process with local candidates so we could present our views to the politicians that make policy decisions in regards to these important issues.
We conducted our first screening process August 22-23, 2016. Over these two days, we screened candidates for city council, mayor, district and superior courts, the NC State Senate, and the NC House of Representatives. This was a first for many of the 11 members that sat on the panels and we were left invigorated at the prospect that most all of the candidates appeared genuinely concerned with our issues.
The chapter has developed a core team of about a dozen members who are willing to work hard toward raising a positive and productive profile locally as well as assisting with issues at the state level. We are very close to completing the comprehensive pay analysis that clearly demonstrates our lagging pay and we have a viable plan to implement meaningful change without increasing property taxes. As a result of our efforts, I regularly receive communications from candidates asking for our input on a variety of issues. I have had the opportunity to spend several hours with candidates discussing issues that directly impact members since our local screening. We believe this is a step in the right direction in regards to the level of engagement we need to be productive.
As we move forward, we insist on portraying ourselves as “gruntled” employees who have identified areas where the city of Winston-Salem can do a better job of recruiting and retaining employees. Our message is that we are not bitter and we will continue to serve in this profession, but it’s time for our leaders to know that the status quo is not sustainable when it comes to keeping talent at the Winston-Salem Police Department. We truly believe we are pursuing a path to create meaningful change for members in our chapter and we are excited about what the future holds as we move forward. 
We cannot say enough about the value of the work of all of the PBA members, PBA leaders, and PBA personnel that have paved the way and provided a plan of action for what we know will be a proven formula for success as we move forward in this endeavor!

David Rose


Winston Salem/Triad Chapter PBA  

L to R- Carla Yandell-Sr. VP, Jeremy Henry, David Rose, Allen Joines-Mayor, Jamie Keltner  -VP,
Shawn Oliver-Secretary, Jake Swaim-Chairman Membership Committee
L to R- Jamie Keltner-VP, Gary Neal, Jeremy Henry, David Rose-President WS/Triad Chapter, John Larson- City Council Candidate South Ward, Jake Swaim, Jay Lovejoy,Shawn Oliver-WS/Triad Secretary
L to R- David Rose, City Council Candidate Eric Henderson Northwest Ward, Shawn Oliver-WS/Triad Chapter Secretary
L to R- David Rose, Former NC Governor Jim Martin, Dale Folwell-Candidate for NC Treasurer


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