POAM bestowed its most coveted membership award on three of its dedicated and hard-working local union executive board members. POAM’s loyalty award is given out annually to local union officials that have gone above and beyond the call of duty for an extended period of time representing members of their local association. This year’s winners were Kim Ostin from the Sterling Heights Dispatch Association, Jeff Gee from the Police Officers Association of Dearborn, and John Shier from the Northville Police Officers Association.
Kim Ostin has worked all of her 33 years in law enforcement as a communications specialist with the Sterling Heights Police Department. She has served 20 years on her local executive board, half of those as its secretary and an additional ten years as president. “Kim Ostin always demonstrated the utmost professionalism when conducting her duties as a dispatcher and training new employees,” said now-retired POAM Business Agent Bob Wines. “That work ethic translated to respect at the bargaining table and in employer meetings as she represented her constituents.”
“The most difficult part of being a local president is hearing people’s criticism after you’ve worked so hard to represent their interests,” stated Kim. It was beneficial to have business agents like Bob Wines and Wayne Beerbower to give me the perspective I needed. Even in difficult times I enjoyed working with people and I am proud of the small role I played in helping make the communications specialist job classification a valuable, specialized career.”
Jeff Gee has been a police officer in Dearborn for nearly 20 years; 13 of those in street patrol, and 7 years as a detective. Jeff is now the polygraph examiner at the Dearborn Police Department. Almost immediately after his employment began with the department, Gee signed up as a shift steward in 1993. He has served two separate stints as the local union’s vice president, a six-year stretch as president, and is now its secretary. Jeff has always been willing to serve his members in any capacity, and jokingly adds that “I’ll probably finish as a trustee for the union when I finally retire.” Gee adds, “having a voice on the local union has always been important to me, whether it’s a minimum manpower situation, or making economic gains, or, in today’s market, keeping what we’ve already earned.”
When asked what the most rewarding part of Jeff’s career as a union official has been, he stated “helping good police officers keep their jobs, even after they’ve experienced the worst day of their career.” “Jeff Gee has always been a stabilizing force for the group, and regularly volunteers to help POAM on a number of other important projects,” stated Business Agent Kenneth Grabowski. “I was proud to nominate him for this award.”
John Shier began his career as a Ferris State University Campus Police Officer before coming to the City of Northville, where he would serve an additional 23 years in law enforcement. John was president of the Northville POA for so long that no one can remember if he served in any other capacity. “John was a diligent, old-school police officer who earned the respect and gratitude of many younger officers who were the benefactors of his tutelage,” said Northville POA Board Member Matt Clemence. As a lifelong resident of Northville, this LEJ Editor has received some of the special courtesy that Officer John Shier gave every citizen. “What you see is what you get with John.” said Northville POA Business Agent Wayne Beerbower. “John is a great guy on and off the job.”