The Sweetwater Police Patrol Association was founded approximately 10 years ago by officers of the Sweetwater Police Department who not only shared a common work interest, but a common goal to improve the community in which they live and serve through helping the community by providing added support to charitable causes and those in need.
The Sweetwater Police Patrol Association is a 501 (c) (5) non profit Texas Corporation which has been designated by the IRS as a 501 (c) (5) organizations and likewise recognized by the State of Texas as a legal entity. Along with the association comes the label "Union". A union is traditionally defined as, "an organization of workers formed for the purpose of advancing its members' interests in respect of wages, benefits, and working conditions" [Merriam Webster Dictionary]. The Police Patrol Association is not a traditional union in the sense that the association's primary purpose, from conception, has been to promote a better community through active involvement in charity functions and fundraisers.
Another misconception that comes from being labeled a union is the ability, and occasionally the intent, to strike in order to obtain political goals. Local Government Code Sec. 174.002(c) provides that it is unlawful in the State of Texas for Police Officers to strike. Striking for Police Officers has been outlawed since 1945 and in those past 67 years the law has been restated and emphasized several times over the last 19 years. This is common knowledge among city officials statewide. This law exists for the purpose of public safety and well being which is also a major concern for the Sweetwater Police Patrol Association. Despite disagreements with city officials, the SPPA has never gone on strike to obtain a goal or self motivated agenda. This has been done in order to maintain the high standard of public safety the officers that comprise the association have set. For the reasons listed above, strike has never been, nor ever will be, and option for the SPPA due to the high regard the association places on public safety and the well-being of the citizens.
The SPPA is proud to be affiliated with the Combined Law Enforcement Association of Texas (CLEAT). CLEAT is an organization that offers legal counsel and support to Police Officers and their families in times of need. This support can range from a multitude of areas. On unfortunate occasions, officers are forced to make split second decisions in the line of duty that have long lasting repercussions. One main example of this would be the use of deadly force. In those cases, CLEAT provides legal representation to officers when they are scrutinized for their actions in the line of duty. Along with this function, CLEAT also provides legal aid to the families of law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty. CLEAT aids families of fallen officers in the process of executing the will as well as applying for and obtaining death benefits.
In summation, the association provides an outlet for officers to further one of the main goals of law enforcement — help the community. In an officer's line of duty, they often encounter the worst situations possible and are forced to deal with situations that often have no positive outcome. The SPPA allows officers to function in the community in a different light where they are able to participate in community functions for great causes. During this time, officers are able to interact on a more positive level with the community and continue to provide services, even when off duty. Whether it's hosting a softball tournament for the children of the community or playing a basketball game against the fire department, the ultimate goal is to raise funds for the community the officers serve and protect, and also provide positive outlets for the youth of today and the future of tomorrow.