Certain politicians at the Municipal, County, State and National level have established a track record of attacking the workplace rights and benefits of law enforcement officers.
The end of 2007 and beginning of 2008 marked the nation's dive into the worst economic disaster to hit this country since the "Great Depression". The banking industry, a President asleep on his watch, tax cuts in the middle of trying to finance two wars, and abuse on Wall Street combined with failed economic policies and a grid locked Congress sent the economy over the edge.
The politicians who created and have perpetuated this mess will not take responsibility. Instead some have used this as an opportunity to point their finger at the middle class and unions as being the reason for these problems. They have launched their attack on public employees and have openly campaigned against us and our benefits. And although we have seen recovery since 2008, the fact is we were in so deep that it will take a long time to fully recover. The politics of a dysfunctional "do nothing" grid locked Congress elected in 2010, has done nothing to help the issue. The congressional class of 2010 has engaged in political game playing in order to further their agenda. That political chicanery has only served to delay recovery at the sake of the public they were elected to serve.
Over the last 4 years we have seen a barrage of legislation specifically targeting public employees. Everything from wage freezes, furloughs, hiring freezes, layoffs, to pensions cutbacks (or efforts to remove pensions), and cut backs or delays on purchase of safety equipment.
While the below video was made in California, it is reflective of what we have been seeing across the country.
We have seen legislation designed to take our voice away with attempts to eliminate or strip collective bargaining rights. There have been measures put forward at every level of government to eliminate or reduce our ability to participate in the political process. These politicians are moving their agenda forward by painting us as the evil ones responsible for their economic problems that they refuse to accept responsibility for and those efforts have found traction. Their actions in the US Congress and various state legislatures are emboldening city and county governments to follow suit. We know who those politicians are, as do many of you.
We know those Governors, Senators, Representatives, State Legislators, County Commissioners, and City Council persons who have made us a target. We have heard the rhetoric of those at every level of government seeking election this fall. Some hold to a platform against public employees wages and benefits and are proud of it. They are proud of promoting public employee union busting and stripping our pensions. We are the "red meat" they throw to their base who believes public employees are the evil doers who are the source of the country's financial woes. Yes we know who they are and this organization will do its best to un-elect them this fall or work to make certain they do not get elected.
The members of our profession do a job most citizens would refuse to do. We do it proudly and professionally. Regardless of the rhetoric of political groups who would seek to convince the public otherwise we don’t ask for much. A liveable wage; fair treatment; due process when accused of wrong doing; a voice in the workplace; and the right to a liveable pension when we are forced by age or disability to leave the job of putting everything on the line for those we serve.
The 325,000 plus members of this organization have a vested interest in the outcome of this year's election from the national to local level. We will be electing politicians at every level of government. The political game is vicious, dirty and at times outright embarassing. Millions of dollars are poured into elections by the powerful and rich who seek to perpetuate their positions. Don't kid yourself into believing otherwise, their view of who government should serve is far different from the average citizen in this country. Their money buys the advertising designed to curry your vote. This election year will be no different.
Like all citizens our members come from a variety of political beliefs and hold strong opinions about who they, as individuals, feel should serve us in office. Like all citizens we try to sort through the political claims of the parties and the distorted advertising and false picture each side tries to present about the other. The majority of us full well know both sides are exagerating their positions with outright lies and distortions of fact that they hope we are dumb enough to believe in order to gain our support and vote.
The FOP is tasked by the membership at the local, state and national level with fulfilling its primary goal of improving the rights, benefits, and working conditions of law enforcement officers. In order to accomplish that, we must be fully involved with those who control and influence those issues. It would be a diservice to our members if we did not closely examine those seeking office and establish what that candidate's track record and platform is when it comes to improving or degrading our rights as public employees. That can only be accomplished by FOP political action and organizational endorsement at every level of our organization. T
Politicians of both parties at the national, state county, and municipal levels of government covet the support and endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police. It is a benefit for them to be able to claim the support of law enforcement. They understand the public values candidates who have earned the respect and support of their police officers. That fact alone does and has made the difference in close races. An FOP endorsement has been the difference between victory and defeat in many of those elections. This year will be no different. Those politicians who seek our support understand that.
The endorsement of a candidate by the nation's largest law enforcement group is not given easily. It must be earned. Organizationally when supporting or endorsing any politician we give little consideration to a politician’s party. We have no interest in their platform on issues other than those that our members pay their dues for us to protect or improve. To do otherwise would be a disservice to the membership, and would greatly hamper our efforts to accomplish our primary responsibilities to our members. At times that goes against the individual personal politics of some members.
We would prefer not to be involved in politics. That would be in a perfect world. Well it is not a perfect world and certain political groups have worked hard to make it less perfect for cops. And those of that political ilk will not be satisfied until the scapegoat they have made of us has successfully stripped us of what we have fought so hard to gain or hold on to. It is what it is and we will not participate in helping them do it.
The FOP does not have a “D” or an “R” next to its name. We do not support or endorse tea parties, coffee parties, beer parties, or any party whose political flavor is to roll back public employee rights or benefits. And while some of our members will go to the ballot box and vote for people who would take their benefits and rights away this organization will not endorse or support those politicians. We will only support those who support us in this fight that has been launched against the public employee. We may not necessarily endorse the opponent of a politican who perpetuates an agenda against our rights and benefits, but will certainly will not endorse one that does. Remember that this November. We will remind you along the way.