By Ed Jacques, LEJ Editor

The POAM bestowed one of its most coveted awards to Ottawa County Deputy Sheriff Matthew VanLiere and Roseville Police Officer Vinnie Finn at its Annual Convention in Grand Rapids. The officers were the 2009 recipients of POAM’s Loyalty Award. The special recognition is given to local union leaders that display a devout sense of duty to their local association and have exemplified their faithfulness over an extended period of time. Matt VanLiere (left, pictured with Jim Tignanelli) joined the Ottawa County Sheriffs Department as a full-time road patrol officer in 1993. VanLiere has served his members for 14 of those years in a union capacity starting out as a steward and vice president and has acted as Ottawa County DSA President for the past 6 years. Matt has assisted POAM Business Agent Jim DeVries and POAM’s General Counsel Frank Guido in some epic battles with the County, including some landmark decisions that have had a long-lasting positive impact on every law enforcement officer in the state. Because of VanLiere’s experience and integrity, along with the assistance of his new Executive Board, Matt has established a better working relationship with the County’s Human Resource Department and developed a spirit of cooperation with the Sheriff, eventually leading to less confrontations. “The reason why I nominated Matt for this award was because of his passion for being an effective union president and doing everything he could to benefit his fellow employees,” said POAM Business Agent Jim DeVries. “His determination and intelligence earn him a great amount of respect from the administration and that make my job a lot easier.” “My hat is off to the POAM for all they do for our members, especially in a critical incident,” said VanLiere. “I am proud to accept their award it and promise to keep earning the distinction.” Vinnie Finn’s mother was a Teamster. His father was a member of the Associated Brewery Workers of America when he worked at the Stroh’s Brewery in Detroit. It’s no wonder that Finn (right)) is also recognized as one of POAM’s top union people for 2009. Finn retired from the Detroit Police Department after 25 years, the final 10 as a street sergeant. Vinnie served the Detroit Police Officers Association (DPOA) as a steward for 10 years and served as a rep with the Lieutenants and Sergeants Association (LSA) for two years before leaving the City. Finn officially retired from Detroit at 3:00 a.m. and was sworn in for the morning shift at 8:00 a.m. at the Roseville Police Department on the same day, where he has served the last 13 years, all on patrol. From 1999 until 2002 Finn was a steward for the union before becoming its Treasurer where he has served since. Vinnie has used his nearly four decades of police experience to benefit many other local associations. Finn is a regular attendee at the POAM convention and all of the organization’s seminars and special events. Vinnie can always be found talking to other local leaders, giving advice on important union matters. Finn has an easy going, friendly demeanor that enhances his ability to act as a mentor and leader. “Police problems are police problems whether its Detroit, Roseville or some rural county or township,” said Finn. “Some of our members need a nudge to stand up for themselves and I have a responsibility to do that because that individual’s issue may affect the entire group.” Roseville POA Business Agent Jim Tignanelli appreciates everything Vinnie brings to the group. “I count on Vinnie for a lot,” said Tignanelli. “He loves to work and volunteers for every event that benefits the Roseville POA and POAM.”