POAM is committed to providing the resources necessary to support the continuous education of police officers. In doing so, we’ve compiled a list of video resources that cover a variety of topics to keep you well informed. From command and investigations to first amendment rights for public employees, we discuss various topics as they relate to law enforcement.

Part of keeping law enforcement professionals safe is by ensuring they are well informed and equipped with the necessary academic and tactical knowledge to protect themselves and the residents of their community. Through continuous training and education, police officers will inevitably have a better impact on the communities they serve, their department and other law enforcement agencies.

Mary Champine explains critical incidents- any situation that could lead to serious discipline or criminal investigation while an officer is on the job. First, the officer must remain calm, call their department or Sargent, and then (most importantly) call their union representative! This video also discusses exactly how Union Representatives should act when such a situation occurs. Listen here for more details.

NLRB v. J. Weingarten, INC: a young woman was being investigated on suspicions that she was stealing from a store. On multiple occasions she asked for a union representative and was denied. The investigators found the woman was indeed innocent, asked her to go back to work and to keep what happened to herself. The woman however, did not sweep the incident under the rug and went straight to her union rep- the case then went all the way to the Supreme Court. To hear more from Marty Champine on the Right to Union Representation, watch the video above.

POAM’s Douglas Gutscher discusses Garrity Rights, touching on several important points police officers should be intimately familiar with. He discusses the point at which an officer should invoke their Garrity Rights as they relate to: police reports, use of force forms, departmental interviews or any written statements required by the department. Gutscher also explains in detail the 5th Amendment, “nor shall [he/she] be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself.”

“The 5th Amendment,” Gutscher says, “is not a self-executing- you must make known your intent not to provide a statement.” Listen here for more information.

What do you, as a union member, have the right to talk about and with whom? PERA is the law that gives protection to unions and union members to organize and engage in lawful, concerted activity. Marty Champine discusses various case examples where employers have disciplined union employees for speaking to the media. In the initial case discussed, the court held that employers must have a substantial and legitimate business reason for not wanting to allow their employee to speak to the media. In future cases this ruling stands and in others it does not. Listen here for examples such as POAM v. Ottawa County and City of Cadillac v. POAM.

Chris Tomasi speaks on Command and Investigation from the perspective of the command officer conducting the investigation. What questions should you ask yourself? The first is outlined below:

“What type of an investigation should I be conducting?” There are usually two types of investigations: internal and criminal. If internal, garrity should be a non-issue. If a criminal investigation is being conducted, garrity is non applicable here. Usually, if an officer is being asked to give a statement in such an investigation, the officer can invoke the right to remain silent and you cannot compel that officer to do otherwise. The right to remain silent has to be honored as the constitutional right that an officer is given. To hear more, listen to the video above.

In this video, Chris Tomasi covers public employees who may or may not be exercising their First Amendment right to Freedom of Speech appropriately. While it’s true that public employers can’t silence employees simply because they don’t approve of their speech, employees must also keep in mind that they cannot just come out and say whatever they want to say. In all cases, employees must be cognizant of their speech and the responsibility that comes with their position.

Tomasi outlines the 6th Circuit Court’s three-step process when dealing with employers/employees and First Amendment Rights and also describes matters of ‘Public Concern’. Public concern must consider content, form and context of a statement. Tomasi also touches on First Amendment rights and social media. You can read more about social media awareness on POAM.net in “Think Before You Post! A Social Media Warning” here.