After the 1993 legislature it became evident to the NHPA that something had to be done to convince lawmakers and the citizens that the Nevada Highway Patrol was falling far behind in wages as compared to their brother and sister officers in larger metropolitan areas of the state and was starting to lose some of it’s best officers to other agencies.
After several meetings and deep soul searching the Board of Directors decided the situation was becoming desperate and desperate measures needed to be taken. In 1994 the NHPA re-established itself with organized labor and affiliated with [SEIU] Service Employees International Union AFL-CIO.
The board also decided that a state wide public relations campaign would be launched using a professional public relations firm. The cost would be high, however the board felt it was a do or die situation and moved forward. Then Vice President Steve Harney and Director Stewart Handte were given the task to coordinate the campaign. With the support and cooperation of NHP Chief Paul Corbin and a lot of hard work of several Directors and NHPA members the campaign was off and running. [ It should be noted that in the latter part of 1994 Vice President Steve Harney took over as interim President due to the departure of NHPA President Bob Blood.] Just prior to the 1995 Legislative session, Billboards were erected displaying past injured NHP officers, special news papers were distributed throughout the state and several television and radio spots were run statewide.
This was one of the NHPA’S proudest moments to see the NHP Chief standing beside and supporting his troopers. Chief Corbin also authorized then Sgt. Gary Wolff the opportunity to act as the legislative representative for the NHPA during the 1995 Legislative session to promote passage of NHPA sponsored bills. Other notable individuals that contributed greatly to passing several NHPA sponsored bills were, NHPA Attorneys Wally Tarantino and Dennis Healey, retired Chief Jim Struemph, Steve Harney and other Board Members. With full time lobbying and the backing of an international union the NHPA moved into the halls of the State Legislature. Although the cost of the promotional campaign drew some criticism because of the cost it proved to be very successful.
The campaign and the lobbying efforts resulted in an overall eighteen percent pay increase to all NHP sworn personnel. The NHPA also passed a bill protecting the retirement of state employee’s in the event of a divorce. The NHPA also defeated a bill that would have removed the classified status of certain NHP sworn positions. Other than our successes the 1995 legislature was a milestone in the NHPA history because from that date forward the NHPA was recognized as a true labor organization