Benefits of the POAM Police Extended Legal Plan
Welcome to the Extended Legal Representation Program, an essential resource for members of our esteemed Police Union. In an era where the legal landscape is increasingly complex and challenging, we recognize the paramount importance of safeguarding the rights and well-being of our dedicated law enforcement professionals. Our program stands as a beacon of unwavering support, offering comprehensive legal protection and advocacy tailored exclusively for our valued union members.
Why You Should Consider The POAM Extended Police Legal Plan
Legal defense protection has become essential for law enforcement professionals. As the cost of allegations rises, the extended POAM Legal Plan provides the extra support needed to execute your duties with the confidence that a strong and comprehensive defense plan covers you. Assistant General Council to POAM Doug Gutscher handles more than 90% of the cases where our members are charged criminally, and here is his view of the past few years:
“Over the past 34 months (since January 2021), POAM members have been charged in about 36 cases, including about 55 separate charges. That number increases dramatically when you add the number of criminal investigations that POAM has been intimately involved in.”
“The POAM offers an extended legal plan for members that provides coverage for on or off-duty criminal investigations and charges that may occur anywhere in the state of Michigan. We have all witnessed the increased media coverage and social media attacks that often provide the basis for what appears to be politically driven scrutiny of law enforcement actions.
Some prosecutors in the state have even tried to use alleged violations of employment policies as the basis for criminal charges. This has been the case for multiple recent criminal charges, where they are attempting to use department policies to establish a ‘legal duty’ as required in the willful neglect of duty statute. We also have had members charged with failing to intervene or stop other officers’ actions.”
Legal Plan Pricing
We want to ensure that our extended legal plan is both accessible and impactful for our members, providing coverage at a fair pricing point. We have achieved these goals by offering POAM’s Legal Representation Program at $5 per month per member. This is a fraction of what other plans cost and can be paid in several ways, including through dues deduction, a local fundraiser, or as an employer-paid benefit through negotiation.
It should be noted that this plan excludes coverage for pre-existing actions, defined as the conduct of a plan member before
membership in the POAM or its affiliate units, as well as the conduct of a plan member before executing this agreement and receipt by the POAM of the required fee (excluding renewal without interruption).
For only $60 annually, members of the POAM legal plan can rest assured that there are no added or hidden monthly charges. Reach out to POAM at any time with questions regarding joining the extended legal plan, or read through our FAQ pages below for commonly asked questions:
Things you can buy for five bucks a month:
- A cup of coffee/cappuccino average: $4.32
- A gallon of gas average in Michigan: $3.64 regular; $4.55 premium
- Orange juice (59 oz) average: $8
Things you can’t buy for five bucks a month:
- Netflix: Starting at $6.99
- Fast food average (McDonald’s or similar): $8.84
- Groceries average: $327.12
Police Legal Plan Frequently Asked Questions
WHAT IS IT?
The program provides extended legal representation for association members in the event of criminal charges. This coverage begins where basic labor coverage ends.
WHAT IS THE SCOPE OF LEGAL SERVICES PROVIDED UNDER THE PLAN?
The legal services provided will include representation by an attorney selected by the POAM for all post-indictment and post-complaint/warrant stages of prosecution, including, but not limited to: investigatory interviews, arraignment, pre-trial, preliminary examination, bond hearings, pre-trial evidentiary proceedings, pre-trial motions, trial (bench or jury), and sentencing, excluding all other post-trial proceedings and appellate matters.
DOES THE DEFENSE PLAN PROGRAM COVER CRIMINAL CHARGES RESULTING FROM OFF-DUTY AS WELL AS ON-DUTY CONDUCT?
Yes (applicable only to PERA-regulated members paying the $5 per month membership fee).
HOW ARE CLAIMS FOR COVERAGE UNDER THE DEFENSE PLAN PROGRAM MADE?
Claims are made by notifying the POAM within the time limits of the agreement and by use of forms that are available at the POAM office.
IS THERE A LIMITATION ON THE NUMBER OF CLAIMS THAT A MEMBER MAY FILE UNDER THE PROGRAM?
No, an unlimited number of claims may be filed by a member of the program during the year of coverage.
WHO IS ELIGIBLE TO PARTICIPATE IN THE PROGRAM?
The program is available to all member associations regulated by PERA.
WHAT IS THE COST OF MEMBERSHIP IN THE DEFENSE PLAN PROGRAM?
The cost of membership in the POAM’s Legal Representation Program is $5 per month per member. This amounts to approximately one-third the cost of any other comparable program and can be paid in a number of ways, i.e., dues deduction, through a local fundraiser, or as an employer-paid benefit through negotiation.
MAY A PARTIAL GROUP OF OFFICERS BECOME MEMBERS OF THE PROGRAM IN THE EVENT THAT THE ENTIRE ELIGIBLE GROUP DOES NOT ELECT TO PARTICIPATE?
Yes, partial groups are also eligible for coverage under the program. Those officers in membership should contact the POAM office for enrollment information.
WHY SHOULD AN OFFICER BECOME A MEMBER?
In recent years, the number of criminal charges issued against police officers has soared. Whenever this occurs, the officer faces the necessity of providing for his or her own legal defense at a cost that can easily run into thousands of dollars and at a time when he or she may already have been suspended without pay or even fired. Even if the officer prevails in court, these economic consequences can be, and often are, devastating.
The POAM’s program protects law enforcement professionals from this grave and ever-present possibility by providing extended legal representation whenever criminal charges are issued.