I want to welcome you to a new year with the WSJA. I am honored to be serving as President of this amazing organization. The WSJA has done so much for our profession for more than four decades, and they continue to advocate to make our careers safer and meaningful.
In July, we elected a new board and they are eager to moving on providing new and exciting training opportunities for you. The WSJA has always promoted the standardization of policies and procedures, terminology, qualifications, and training for Corrections Officers throughout Washington State. We have added some new defensive tactics instructors to our program and can offer blocks of instruction so your agency can have its’ own certified defensive tactics instructors. We still specialize in Field Training Office certification and are happy to come train your next group if you need us.
In January, we will begin lobbying our state representatives to reduce our retirement age once again.
Last year the Legislature reduced the age in PERS2 to 62. Back in 2006, we fought to get a reduced retirement age for employees in the Corrections field.The legislature understood the need for a separate system for people who work in the safety arena. They created PSERS, Public Safety Employees Retirement System. The retirement requirements were set at 10 years of service and age 60. This created a 5-year gap between PERS2 employees and those switching to PSERS. In keeping that gap at 5 years, we will be lobbying to reduce PSERS to age 57.
To gear up for fight in Olympia, we are starting a membership drive. We have in recent years let our numbers fall off and it’s time to get back in the fight. The only reason we have been so successful for these many years is the support of our members. When we have thousands of Corrections Officers standing behind us, we are unstoppable. Please, take a minute tor re-join the WSJA and help us continue our fight to make Corrections a safe and fulfulling career.