Preface to Candidate Responses
By Chuck Canterbury, President, National Fraternal Order of Police
We are headed into what will likely be a very close election between two candidates with very different approaches to the issues of the day and the questions of the future. It is a very important election.
I believe that the strength of our fraternity resides in our shared commitment to our profession of law enforcement and to our brother and sister officers. As an organization, I believe that we should make a choice in this election and make that choice known to all law enforcement officers and the citizens we protect. I want every voter on Election Day to know what candidate earned the endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) and how he earned it.
We can make this decision if we as an organization evaluate the candidates on the objectives and concerns of our organization. Police representing police — that is what we are about, and our judgment as law enforcement officers and our role as peace officers and public employees are the lens through which we should make our decision on whom to support for President.
The questionnaire designed by the FOP and given to the candidates for the Presidency is based on the top legislative priorities set by the delegations of members at past National Biennial Conferences and the legislative objectives designated by the National Board of Trustees. The questionnaire reflected our vested interests not only in the realm of law enforcement and criminal justice, but also on labor issues. All of us are public employees, and the priorities we have set and the questions we ask in this survey were designed to understand how the next President will view law enforcement officers as public employees.
We set these goals and objectives as an organization without fear or favor to any particular party, ideology or individual. The responses of the candidates should be evaluated on the basis of their positions and action on the goals that the FOP has set as an organization and not on issues extraneous to the FOP’s priorities or to law enforcement officers.
The FOP’s endorsement is meaningful and keenly sought after because it demonstrates to the voters that the endorsed candidate shares the goals of the FOP and has the best interests of the rank-and-file officer in mind. If we judge the candidates on issues outside our area of expertise or allow other factors to influence our judgment, then we are doing a disservice to our grand fraternity and to the profession of law enforcement. It may be that, after due consideration, neither candidate is sufficiently supportive of the FOP, rank-and-file law enforcement officers and our legislative objectives to merit our endorsement. If that is the case, our statement that we cannot support either candidate based on their positions that impact our members also sends a message and preserves the value of the FOP’s endorsement.
The responses are provided for your review and consideration. None of the responses have been altered in any way and are presented to you exactly as they were received.
I ask that you read them thoroughly and make sure your voice is heard by participating in whatever process your State Lodge has for informing your National Trustee how he should cast his vote at the Fall Meeting of the National Board of Trustees.
Presidential Candidate Questionnaire
The following questionnaire prepared by the National Legislative Office is being provided to the Presidential Screening Committee at the direction of National President Chuck Canterbury.
The following is a brief summation of the top legislative priorities of the Fraternal Order of Police:
Social Security issues: Support H.R. 1332/S. 2010, the “Social Security Fairness Act,” and Oppose Mandatory Participation in Social Security
The FOP strongly supports the repeal of both the “Windfall Elimination Provision” (WEP) and the “Government Pension Offset” (GPO). The FOP vehemently opposes legislation which would mandate participation in Social Security for public employees or new hires who are currently outside the Social Security system.
Support the “Public Safety Employer-Employee Cooperation Act”
The FOP strongly supports legislation which would guarantee the right of public employees to bargain collectively with their employers over hours, wages, and conditions of employment. The goal of this legislation is to have each State pass a law providing minimum collective bargaining rights to their public safety employees and outlines certain provisions to be included in those laws. Strikes and lockouts would be prohibited and States with collective bargaining laws already on the books will be exempt from any Federal statute.
Support H.R. 1789, the “State and Local Law Enforcement Discipline, Accountability and Due Process Act”
The FOP strongly supports a “bill of rights” for law enforcement officers who are, in a number of jurisdictions, denied their due process rights by police administrators and management in noncriminal proceedings. There is a need for a minimum level of procedural protections for law enforcement officers accused of administrative wrongdoing because of the gravity of potential harm to officers created by this lack of uniform safeguards.
Support H.R. 324
The FOP strongly supports legislation giving certain Federal law enforcement officers employed by the U.S. Department of Defense statutory arrest authority.
Support H.R. 327/S. 985, the “Law Enforcement Officers’ Equity Act”
The FOP strongly supports legislation expanding the definition of “law enforcement officer” for salary and retirement benefits to include all Federal law enforcement officers.