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  • Stead Says January 2016
    Posted On: Feb 05, 2016

    Well another year is in the bag. So long 2015, and hello 2016! Last year held a lot of challenges, and we’ll have more to come in this upcoming year. One due to the mass exit of officers set to retire this year, and the slow response from some elected officials to stay in front of this problem, together with a slew of other problems facing the law enforcement community these days. On the bright side, there obviously will be the need to hire new officers within MDPD, and fortunately in the upcoming months there are a couple new cadet classes graduating. Now the downside is it’s going to become 
    exceedingly­ difficult to hire new officers due to the attacks that seem to be on the rise across the U.S.  
    At the time of this writing, a local TV talk show had a round table discussion on a recent police involved shooting which took place on Miami Beach. The bad guy who put the events in motion by attempting to rob a bank by stating he had a bomb. The bad guy exited the bank, the bank 
    in turn calls the police, and the police respond. The bad guy flees, enters a barber shop and begins to scream and throw things around the shop scaring the hell out of everyone in the shop. As the officers close in on the bad guy, he then grabs a straight edge razor, exits the barber shop and confronts the officers with the razor in hand. Due to the bad guy’s actions, the officers were forced to fire, and kill the bad guy. Not once did the reporter question the bad guy’s actions which created the entire situation. What the reporter did question was, "Why did one officer have his gun out?" While another officer had his taser out. Now keep in mind this reporter had the luxury of sitting in an air-conditioned office, with the ability to hit the rewind button as often as he wanted so he could come up questions for their discussion. The responding officers did not get the same luxury. We are now living in a time where we question the actions of the police officers, not the actions of the bad guys. To the credit of one of the guests which happened to be an FIU professor, who told the host, they should not be so anxious to come to a conclusion until all the facts have come out. I could not agree more. 

    The NAPO (National Association of Police Organizations) continues to fight for your rights in Washington. The following is a letter to the IRS in reference to the upcoming Cadillac Tax which would have a great impact on public safety personnel.

    Letter to IRS Regarding Concerns with Cadillac Tax        
    RE: Notice 2015-52, Section IV. Employer Aggregation

    On behalf of the National Association of Police Organizations (NAPO), I am writing in response to Notice 2015-52, regarding the excise tax on high cost employer-sponsored health coverage under Section 49801 of the Internal Revenue Code. Specifically, NAPO is concerned that the 
    adjustment for employees in high risk professions will not be applied to most public safety officers, whose job, by definition, is high risk.

    NAPO is a coalition of police unions and associations from across the United States that serves to advance the interests of America’s law enforcement through legislative and legal advocacy, political action, and education. Founded in 1978, NAPO now represents more than 1,000 police units and associations, 241,000 sworn law enforcement officers, and more than 100,000 citizens who share a common dedication to fair and effective crime control and law enforcement.

    Although Section 49801(b)(3)(C)(iv) sets higher thresholds for the excise tax for workers in high risk professions, such as public safety officers ($11,850 for an individual and $30,950 for a family), to qualify for the higher threshold amounts, the majority of members in the healthcare plan must work in high risk professions. Many public safety officers would not qualify for the higher threshold amounts, as they participate in general healthcare plans where the majority of participants do not work in high risk professions.

    Setting higher thresholds for public safety officers thus will not adequately protect officers from the tax burden, as thousands of officers participate in plans that include a majority of employees who do not work in high risk professions.

    Section 49801 of the Internal Revenue Code must be modified to ensure that all public safety officers are eligible for the higher threshold amounts, regardless of the composition of the officer’s healthcare plan. In addition, the Service’s guidance and interpretation of Section 49801 should reflect the clear intent of Congress that public safety officers should generally be excluded from the effects of this new tax, and that the higher dollar thresholds should be given effect to shield officers and their families, 
    regardless of what other workers also participate in their applicable health care plans.

    After completing a survey, NAPO confirmed that officers and their families across the country will be negatively impacted by the “Cadillac” health insurance plan tax. To illustrate this point, officers in our member groups, including the Phoenix Law Enforcement Association, Police Conference of New York State, Boston Police Patrolmen’s Association, Dade County (Miami), Florida Police Benevolent Association and the Postal Police Officers’ Association will be negatively impacted by the “Cadillac” health insurance plan tax. Members of the Sarasota Police Department (Florida), Waltham Police Department (Massachusetts), and Southold Town Police Department (New York) will also be negatively impacted by the tax. These public safety officers would not qualify for the higher threshold amounts, as they participate in health insurance plans where the majority of participants do not work in high risk professions. Even more, the aforementioned groups represent thousands of police officers across the nation, but only a fraction of the public safety officers who will be negatively impacted by the “Cadillac” health insurance plan tax.

    Therefore, to be consistent with the unquestioned Congressional intent that public safety officers be protected from the impact of this new tax, Section 49801 must be amended to apply the higher threshold amounts to all public safety officers, even if the healthcare plan they participate in does not consist of a majority of employees working in high risk professions. 

    We here at the PBA want to thank NAPO for looking out for the us and the officers across this great nation.   

    In 2015 we lost some great folks, retired Major, John Ford; former MDPD Director, Robert Parker; and Captain Carlos Dominguez along with others. Although gone they will never be forgotten, our prayers are with them and their families. 

    See you next month, stay safe.

    Click here to read more articles by Steadman.

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