In 1994, the CWA Executive Board created a vehicle for public safety officers to have their own voice inside the organization – the National Coalition of Public Safety Officers (NCPSO).
Since 1994, the increase in public safety officer membership in NCPSO/CWA has been dramatic. In 1994, the New Mexico Coalition of Public Safety Officers, L7911, was formed to take advantage of the state collective bargaining law. In 1996, the Tucson (AZ) Police Officers Association affiliated with NCPSO/CWA won a major representation election against the Fraternal Order of Police – this victory, followed by the affiliation of the Peoria POA, resulted in the creation of AZCOPS, L7077, which now has 9,000+ members in 85 units across Arizona. Other significant affiliations have included the 300+ member Anne Arundel County MD detention officers unit in 1999, the 600+ member West Virginia Troopers Association in 2002, and the Salt Lake County Deputy's Federation.
There are now 16,000+ public safety officer CWA members. These officers include the entire range of public safety services – municipal police officers, deputy sheriffs, state police, county and state correctional officers, EMS workers, communications dispatchers, probation officers, and firefighters.
NCPSO Programs and Services
NCPSO/CWA offers public safety locals a variety of organization services. Organizing is a major piece of the NCPSO/CWA program – the Arizona organizing campaign between 1996 and the present has been one of the significant success stories in CWA and throughout the national law enforcement community. The division has also assisted other CWA locals with correctional officers in Mississippi, West Virginia, and Oklahoma.
Training is another significant service of the public safety division. Training is provided to Locals on issues such as negotiations, handling grievances, and organizing. Another piece of training involves working with both Locals and units within Locals on long-term strategic plans and strategies in preparation for collective bargaining negotiations.
NCPSO/CWA provides national training on professional issues of importance to the law enforcement community. For example, seminars were held in 2002 and 2003 on the subject of “Police Associations and Community Conflict” in San Diego, California. This program dealt with contemporary community issues such as racial profiling and civilian review boards.
The NCPSO/CWA has just launched its newest service – a legislative program geared toward moving legislation favorable to public safety officers and defeating unfavorable legislative proposals. The NCPSO/CWA Legislative Committee is working with the CWA Secretary-Treasurer’s office to pass the national police-fire collective bargaining bill and a police officer’s bill of rights. The Committee is also working against changes in the FLSA regulations that would gut the overtime rights of public safety officers and other public employees.
Other recently created NCPSO/CWA programs include the Antiterrorism Law Enforcement Response Training (ALERT) and the Law Enforcement Apprenticeship Program (LEAP). ALERT provides anti-terrorism training to first responders such as police, fire fighters, EMS, flight attendants, and telephone workers. LEAP is a community college program for at-risk high school students that teaches them about the criminal justice system and provides instruction on passing competitive civil service examinations for law enforcement, correctional, and probation/parole positions.
NCPSO/CWA also produces a newsletter – The Public Safety Officer, which reviews the activities and many successes of Locals affiliated with NCPSO/CWA.
The NCPSO/CWA locals are actively involved in community programs. For example, the Tucson Police Officers Association and other affiliates of AZCOPS L7077 have adopted programs such as “Shop-With-a Cop” and fingerprint/photo identification of children as a way to connect with and assist the community