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Lake Odessa Patrol joins POLC for parity without disturbing peace

Posted by: jgomori Posted date: March 6, 2020

By Jennifer Gomori, POJ Editor

Lake Odessa Patrol hasn’t been unionized in years, but the idea of having representation from lawyers knowledgeable about police issues really appealed to them – so in October 2019 they chose POLC to represent them.

“It just would be nice to have representation by a lawyer who is familiar with how law enforcement works, how Garrity works,” said Local Union Steward Eric Tollefson. “We knew POLC lawyers had experience with police use of force matters.”

In addition to their legal team, the POLC’s local presence really got Lake Odessa Patrol’s attention.

“Honestly it was the regional familiarization,” Tollefson said. “ A lot of the Field Reps were very local to Ionia, Kent and Allegan counties. I felt they would know more about what‘s going on in our area than other unions would.”

As they enter into contract talks, Tollefson said one of their main objectives is getting their wages and benefits up to the standard of similar sized departments in their area. Tollefson is impressed with POLC Labor Rep. Jason Owen and his understanding of how to help them reach their objectives without harming relationships.

“The main thing is, and I mentioned this to Jason, our department has a very good rapport with the Chief and Village Manager and Council and we were looking for a union that would come in and continue that good relationship,” he said. “Jason said he understood where we were coming from and wouldn’t do anything to jeopardize that relationship.”

“Jason Owen has been there for me,” Tollefson said. “He’s very easy to get a hold of if I need him.  At least from what I’ve seen so far, it’s a fantastic organization.”

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