Public Safety Union Leadership

May 19-21, 2021
The Luxor
Las Vegas, Nevada


This seminar has reached its maximum number of attendees, and we are no longer accepting new registrations. Spots may become available if there is a cancellation. Contact seminar coordinator Claire Cowan at claire@LRIS.com to be added to the waitlist.


    Wednesday, May 19, 2021

    9:00 Introduction And Recent Developments In Law Enforcement Labor Issues

    Recent developments from around the country in the area of public safety
    labor relations. Basic principles regarding the law and public safety unions,
    including the source of union rights and responsibilities.

    Will Aitchison, Attorney at Law, Public Safety Labor Group, LLP;
    Executive Director, LRIS.

    10:00 The World Of Police And Fire Reform

    • The status of police reform legislation around the country.
    • Bargaining and police reform – what’s negotiable?
    • Anticipating reform legislation – how to deal with bills that may be introduced and passed in a matter of days.
    • The indirect impact of police reform legislation on the rights of firefighters and other employees.

    Will Aitchison; Jeremy Conkling, President, Anchorage Police Dept. Employees Assoc. (APDEA); and Mike Bellamy, District Vice President, Florida Professional Firefighters.

    12:00 Lunch (Included in registration)

    1:00 Basic Communication Skills Every Union Leader Needs To Master

    • Developing a communications plan.
    • Social Media 101 – what every union needs to do (and avoid).
    • Press releases and newspaper editorials.
    • Media Interviews – what to say and what to avoid.
    • How to use press conferences to get your message out.
    • Controlling the narrative of a story through the use of social and traditional media.
    • Basic tips on public speaking.
    • Crisis communication.
    • Public outreach programs, including day-in-the-life training and videos.
    • A critique of video and other messaging by public safety unions
    • How to design and implement a program to educate politicians, advocacy groups, the media, and citizens in the work challenges faced by public safety employees.

    Will Aitchison, Jeremy Conkling and Mike Bellamy.

    4:00 Adjournment

    4:15 Hosted Reception

    Thursday, May 20, 2021

    9:00 Constitution And Bylaws

    A public safety union’s bylaws amount to a contract with its membership. The panel consists of an experienced police union president and former fire union president, who will discuss topics such as:

    • Running an effective union meeting – how often, how long, and what should be on the agenda.
    • The types of union elections, and how to avoid problems. The special
    • consideration needed for contract ratification votes. Online balloting – does it work?
    • The different forms of membership in a union – full members, fair share members, and associate members – and what the union’s obligations are to each.
    • The duties of union officers.
    • When and how committees should be formed, and who should be appointed to the committees.

    Anil Karia, Attorney at Law, Public Safety Labor Group, LLP; Will Milam,
    President, Prince George’s Co. (MD) FOP Lodge 112; Ryan Reese, 5th District
    Representative, Washington State Council of Firefighters.

    11:00 Finances and Fundraisers

    A discussion of the finances of a labor organization:

    • Sound financial protocols – what procedures does a union need to have in place in order to safeguard the union’s funds?
    • The options for dues structures, including membership assessments and initiation fees.
    • Should a public safety union have outside fundraisers? If so, how to research and monitor the activities of a fundraiser.
    • Basic financial reporting to the membership – how to construct budgets and financial statements.
    • When are audits necessary?

    Anil Karia, Will Milam, and Ryan Reese.

    12:00 Lunch (Included in registration)

    1:00 Finances and Fundraisers (continued)

    2:00 Political Activity By Public Safety Unions

    • The increasing need for public safety unions to have an effective and positive political presence.
    • The use of social media in political efforts.
    • Mobilizing the membership on political issues.
    • Media campaigns – what works and what doesn’t work.

    Anil Karia, Jeremy Conkling, Will Milam, Ryan Reese, and Barry Donelan,
    President, Oakland Police Officers Association.

    4:00 Adjournment

    Friday, May 21, 2021

    8:30 Representing A Member In A Disciplinary Interview

    A review of how to prepare a member for a disciplinary interview:

    • Obtaining information about the employer’s ongoing investigation.
    • The basic rules to follow to be an effective witness.
    • Counseling the member during the interview.
    • Follow-up work after the interview.
    • The tests for just cause for discipline, including progressive discipline, mitigating circumstances, and disparate treatment.
    • The Garrity and Weingarten rules and how they apply in disciplinary
    • investigations and critical incidents.

    Anil Karia; Barry Donelan, President, Oakland (CA) Police Officers’
    Association; and Sean Burrows, President, Alameda County (CA) Firefighters, IAFF Local 55.

    11:30 Adjournment


    Will Aitchison
    Mr. Aitchison is a founding member of the Public Safety Labor Group. Over the course of his legal career, Will has represented over 100 law enforcement labor organizations in five western states. He is a veteran of hundreds of public sector labor negotiations. He received his Doctor of Jurisprudence from Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. and is the author of several books on public sector labor matters, including The Rights of Law Enforcement Officers (7th Edition), and The FLSA, A User’s Manual. Will is also the founder and director of Labor Relations Information System. Since its inception in 1981, LRIS has been a valuable resource for public safety labor relations. LRIS conducts labor seminars, publishes a monthly newsletter, publishes mobile apps, and currently has six books in print.

    Mike Bellamy
    Mr. Bellamy is a Jacksonville native now living and working in Tallahassee, FL as a Fire Captain where he’s spent the last 20 years. Mike currently serves over 1,000 firefighters in the Florida Panhandle as a District Vice President for the Florida Professional Firefighters. He also works for the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) working with labor unions throughout the Southeast. He’s a graduate of the IAFF Communications Training Academy and works with local unions almost daily to help improve their communications strategies. Mike has vast experience working in politics, labor relations, and organizing but his passion is communications. His experience in communications includes television, social and traditional media, strategic campaigns, and podcasting. Mike’s work has influenced firefighter legislation, improved public safety and strengthened working conditions for firefighters.

    Sean Burrows
    Mr. Burrows has been the President of the Alameda County Firefighters, IAFF Local 55 since April 2014. He has over 16 years of union leadership experience including being part of the negotiation team and dealing with member investigations and discipline. He serves on the California Professional Firefighters EMS Committee and has a leadership role in the Political Action Committee of Local 55. Mr. Burrows currently serves as a Captain with the Alameda County Fire Department and has over 23 years of professional fire service experience.

    Jeremy Conkling
    Sergeant Jeremy Conkling has been a police officer in Alaska since 2007 and during his tenure has worked Patrol, K9 and SWAT. Sergeant Conkling started as a Shop Steward for APDEA before serving three years as Vice President. Sergeant Conkling was elected President in 2018 and is also currently a law student at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

    Barry Donelan
    Mr. Donelan is currently President of the Oakland Police Officers’ Association. He has served on his association’s board and bargaining team since 2006. He represents police associations throughout Northern California on the Peace Officer Research Association of California (PORAC) Board and Executive Committee. In addition, he serves as one of five PORAC Legal Defense Fund Trustees. He has represented Oakland Police Officers in disciplinary proceedings for over a decade. Mr. Donelan has been with the Oakland Police Department for over20 years.

    Anil Karia
    Mr. Karia is a founding member of the Public Safety Labor Group in Portland, OR. He has been practicing union side labor law since 2009. He specializes in representing law enforcement associations and guilds in Oregon, Washington, and Alaska in all aspects of their labor relations, including day-to-day counsel, negotiations, arbitrations, unfair labor practice proceedings, civil litigation, and critical incident response. He is general counsel for police association and guilds of all sizes, including the Portland Police Association. He has bargained many labor agreements and has participated in numerous arbitrations on their behalf. Anil is a frequent speaker for the Labor Relations Information System (LRIS), University of Oregon LERC program, the Washington Council of Police and Sheriffs (WACOPS), and the Oregon Labor Law College. He graduated from Reed College in 1999 and obtained his law degree from the University of Oregon School of Law in 2006.

    William Milam
    Mr. Milam is currently in his fifth term as President of the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge 112 (Prince George’s County, Maryland Sheriff.) In his capacity as President, Will oversees all union business, serves as the chief labor negotiator, and is the chairman of the legislative committee. A 17-year law enforcement veteran, he has served on the Executive Board for two local lodges of the Fraternal Order of Police.

    Ryan Reese
    Ryan D. Reese is a Captain/Paramedic with Clark County Fire District Six, located in Vancouver, WA. He has been a member of the IAFF Local 1805 for 22 years, serving as President for 16 of those years. Mr. Reese also holds the position of Washington State Representative for the IAFF, where he organizes new locals, negotiates initial contracts and provides assistance during the arbitration process. In June of 2018, he was elected to the position of Washington State Council of Firefighters, 5th District Representative where he represents 1000 members and 28 locals.


    The Luxor
    3900 S Las Vegas Blvd
    Las Vegas, NV 89119

    Room rates Tuesday through Thursday nights are $59 per night, plus taxes and fees. A limited number of rooms are available on Friday and Saturday night for $129, so book early if you plan to stay over the weekend.

    To make arrangements, visit https://book.passkey.com/go/SLAB0521LX or call the hotel directly and request the group rate for this seminar. Reservations must be made by April 26, 2021. Reservations received after this date will be on a space-available basis only and at the prevailing


    P.O.S.T. Certification
    Peace Officer Standards and Training (P.O.S.T.) credits may be available on a state-by-state basis. If you would like information on your state, please contact Seminar Coordinator Claire Cowan at (503) 282-5440 or Claire@LRIS.com prior to the seminar.

    Continuing Legal Education certification
    LRIS has been approved as a CLE provider by the State Bar of California. This program will qualify for 12.5 hours of MCLE credit by the State Bar of California. If you require certification from any other state, please call Seminar Coordinator Claire Cowan at (503) 282-5440  or Claire@LRIS.com prior to the seminar.

    Registration fees are $795 per person; $695 per person if three or more attend from the same organization. Registration fees include attendance, lunch on the first two days of the seminar, all seminar materials, and a hospitality reception on the first evening.

    Each attendee will receive a copy of Running A Public Safety Union, by Rob Heun, and a handbook containing extensive written materials pertaining to each of the subjects addressed.

    Reservations may be canceled up to ten days prior to the seminar with a full refund. Cancellations made within ten days are subject to a $150 fee. Substitutions may be made at any time.

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