Annual Convention 2020 Update

With the reality we all are currently facing, it is with deep sadness to announce POAM’s decision to postpone the 2020 Annual Convention in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Our President, Jim Tignanelli, addresses this situation by sharing some of the histories of the POAM Annual Convention.

Read his letter below.

Letter from POAM President

I think my first POAM convention was in 1983. It was at Vladimir’s on Grand River, north of 8 Mile Rd. The meeting started at noon, and Jim Freeman entertained until around 3 p.m. I think most of us were out of the building by 6 p.m. that afternoon. Maybe 75-80 people. It was a great time.

It has grown! Heck, we get 3 times that many people at the Poker Run on Wednesday night!  Generally, over 500 for the business meeting and more than that for the cocktail party. Dick Cheney, Rudy Giuliani, and the Supreme Court. We were a distant third in members represented then, and now we have more members than all the other law enforcement “unions” combined. I’m very proud of our organization and always enjoy the learning, the camaraderie, the laughs, and, in particular, the stories of heroism that are recognized by our members. When I see Justices get speechless while describing what our members do “just because,” it is so gratifying. Those who commit to this job are truly special. The police officers, deputies, corrections officers, communication specialists, and support staff are often all that stand between freedom and chaos. Thank you!

It’s become apparent that I must make an announcement I would never have anticipated.  Optimism and tradition must be weighed against reality and common sense. There’s no coin toss here. The answer is obvious. We must postpone the 2020 POAM Convention. It seems each week the “safe date,” the date upon which “normalcy” may return, gets pushed back. Today, the governor announced a “shelter-in-place” order that exists into mid-April and there’s no guarantee that won’t be extended or modified somewhat.

Those that cannot “shelter-in-place” are many of those we represent. I consulted with those I am closest to and it only served to confirm what I had presumed to be true. We need to think about the families and friends of our members, the co-workers that are left behind or, even worse being quarantined. This is a time when our country must come together and no one comes together better than law enforcement. By making the decision now, reservations can be changed, schedules can be accommodated, and our friends and families will know we are here with them.

I say “postponed” for a reason. My goal is to re-schedule to a date (TBD). Likely in the early fall, but that will depend upon a lot of things, like the venue for instance. One way or another, I will see that all of our Police Officers of the Year receive their recognition this year. That’s how the convention started, and it remains the primary reason for us to gather.  I have some ideas I am working on, but the goal is to have them at the convention. Meanwhile, be mindful of the CDC recommendations, take care of yourself, your friends, and your family.

The POAM, its business agents, support, and legal staff remain on duty 24/7. Our Lifeline and Critical Incident Response line is always in service. I have asked our business agents to maintain communication with their groups. The office will be open 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. daily. Our motto, “We Protect the Protectors,” has never changed, and is more important than ever right now. 

Thank you for your trust and support!

Jim Tignanelli, President

For More Information

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