It is time again for our members and our organization to take a hard look at the candidates standing for Federal office and make a decision about which candidates would best serve our nation and the interests of the Fraternal Order of Police.
Our State and local lodges, of course, will make decisions about races for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, as well as a myriad of other State and local races. For the National FOP, we must evaluate the candidates for President of the United States and make an endorsement which reflects the preference of our membership.
The most recent Standing Resolution of the Grand Lodge provides that the National President and Vice President will appoint a U.S. Presidential Screening Committee (Screening Committee). This has been done. Both campaigns were provided with a presidential screening questionnaire developed with the cooperation of the National Legislative Office. The responses to the questionnaire will be provided to the members via the FOP Journal and electronically through our website and other platforms.
The Trump for President campaign returned a completed questionnaire, but the Clinton campaign declined to do so and has not provided a reason or explanation as to why they are not seeking the endorsement of the FOP. This lack of response came in spite of repeated requests and reminders both in writing and by telephone.
Prior to the Fall Meeting of the National Board of Trustees, the members of the Screening Committee will meet with the candidates who completed the presidential questionnaire. That having been said, in a previous election cycle in which one candidate declined to complete our questionnaire, the Screening Committee opted not to meet with either campaign and let the completed questionnaire and the uncompleted questionnaire speak for themselves.
This, however, is only part of the process. Each State Lodge has (or should have) a process by which the members of the local lodges within the State Lodge would convey their preference for a candidate to their National Trustee. It is important that each member know about his or her State’s process for instructing their National Trustee so that all FOP members can meaningfully participate in this process.
Following the State’s evaluation of the candidates for President, the National Trustees will consider the report of the Screening Committee at the Fall meeting of the National Board of Trustees and a formal vote on the endorsement will be taken. Each Trustee must cast a vote for a candidate or for “no endorsement.” A candidate who receives a two-thirds majority of the National Board of Trustees receives the endorsement of the National Fraternal Order of Police.
The Fraternal Order of Police is the nation’s oldest, largest, and most influential organization of law enforcement professionals in the United States. As such, we play a prominent role in the formation of national law enforcement policy. The endorsement of the Fraternal Order of Police is a statement to the nation as well as our members that our aims and goals—an emphasis on officer safety, fair treatment for law enforcement as public employees and tough anti-crime measures—are the same as our candidate, and that we believe our candidate will best serve the interests of the law enforcement community.
It is important to recognize that there is not and never will be a candidate with whom we will agree 100% of the time. Our goal here is to carefully and deliberately review the candidates, their responses, and their history on the issues that matter to us and then make an informed decision as to which would best serve the interests of our fraternity.
When that decision is made, that candidate will receive our active and enthusiastic support