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 judgement 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 reflects 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 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 judgement, 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 below are provided for your review and consideration. The campaigns submitted answers designed to be brief to allow their publication, and those questions requiring a lengthier response can be found in the online version of the FOP Journal. 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.
Chuck Canterbury, President, National Fraternal Order of Police
Obama-Romney 2012 FOP Political Questionnaire.pdf