Countdown to the New Year: The LEO Checklist
As I sit wondering where in the world February went, I realize we are a couple of weeks away from Thanksgiving! If anyone wants to join me, I am seriously considering putting out a BOLO for Spring 2013. As we prepare to see 2013 in the rear view mirror, it is appropriate to get our LEO end of the year checklist ready!
Now your list may include a few other items like hiding embarrassing photos before your family comes to visit or convincing your relatives to drive to your house so you can avoid the dreaded trips to the airport near the holidays, but we all need a list to get us through!
1. Check your training for 2013 and make certain you have enough hours and the proper training to keep your certification in proper order;
2. Change the ammo in your duty and off-duty weapons. Also change the ammo in your home defense weapons. Those old black powder shotgun shells in your slide action must go!
3. Check your personal car insurance policies and meet with your agent. Make certain that you have enough uninsured motorist coverage to protect you if you are involved in a wreck. You drive a lot and many personal policies will cover you if you are injured in a department vehicle.
4. Take a moment to think about your plan to defend yourself if you are forced to fight disciplinary action, lawsuits, or administrative investigations. Join the Fraternal Order of Police and sign up for the Fraternal Order of Police Legal Defense Plan! In most cases, it provides for unlimited legal fees and expenses for about $20 per month! The HR218 coverage is just $50 per year and provides $25,000 in legal fees; a must for retired LEOs.
5. Check the policies of your department and government entity regarding five areas: Retirement, your rights during an investigation, your rights to appeal discipline; benefits including disability if you are injured on the job, and your department’s procedure for notifying your family if your are injured and cannot so yourself.
6. Learn and know the numbers to call if you need legal representation on the scene of a critical incident or officer involved shooting.
7. Go to your safe deposit box and pull out your will, your life insurance policies, and your advanced directives (living will and durable power of attorney for healthcare) and review them. If you do not have these things, make an appointment with an attorney and an insurance agent to put them in place by January 1, 2014!!
8. Check all beneficiary information and make certain it is current! This includes pensions, deferred compensation plans, life insurance offered by banks, credit unions, and fraternal organizations.
9. Take a realistic assessment of your physical fitness. No lectures here. You know if it needs work. Do NOT wait until January 1 to start an exercise program! Start now before the holiday weight catches up with you!
10. Take some time to consider where you want to be in 5 years, 10 years, and 20 years. Put a plan in place to meet your goals that includes training, obtaining certificates, promotional exams, applications to other agencies, or whatever it takes! Anyone who has been a LEO for a while will tell you that time goes by very quickly and you will be looking at retirement before you know it.
You work hard protecting the lives of strangers. Take a few moments to take care of yourself. Stay safe.