Where’s the PBA and the FOP

Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D.

BY GOLIATH J. DAVIS, III, PH.D., Contributor

As a former police officer and police administrator with 28 years of service, I am all too familiar with the dedication and ferocity with which police labor organizations such as the Police Benevolent Association (PBA) and the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) defend and support their members.

I am therefore puzzled by what appears to be deafening silence surrounding the Senate’s May 29 filibuster of a bill that would have established a bipartisan commission to investigate the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the nation’s capitol, resulting in numerous police injuries and the death of Officer Brian Sicknick.

I must add, however, there may be union movements in place I am not familiar with. If this is the case, I note the media is either unaware as well or has failed to report on them.

It is widely known the House of Representatives voted in favor of a commission (255 to 175) and moved the bill to the Senate, where a minority of Republicans (35) prevented the bill from getting the 60 votes needed to bring the matter to the floor for a full vote. Thirty-five Republicans voted to approve the commission in the House of Representatives, and six Republicans, four short of what was needed, voted to move the bill forward in the Senate.

For as long as I can remember, law and order have been the battle cry of the Republican Party and police labor organizations. My years in law enforcement and as an African-American male equipped me to understand law and order have a different connotation when the subjects of law and order are not BIPOC (Black, Indigenous People of Color) or some other group not held in high regard.

But, given Brian Sicknick’s mother and fiancé as well as capitol police officers and civilian staff working in the capitol appealed to Republican lawmakers to approve an independent commission to investigate the cause of the riot, it is appalling to think those elected to represent the people refused to fulfill their duties.

Just as appalling is the silence of police labor unions and labor organizations representing the other workers assigned to the nation’s capital. If you all are active, I can’t see it, and if you are vocal, I can’t hear you.

As a law enforcement administrator working to promulgate and implement policies and procedures to protect police officers and the community, I encountered tremendous resistance and adversity from labor unions resulting in arbitrations and lawsuits.

The mere act of prohibiting officers from standing in front of, behind, or reaching into a motor vehicle with its engine running to avoid another Tyron Lewis incident and restricting vehicle pursuits was met with challenges.

Prohibiting shooting at moving vehicles, the implementation of a policy prohibiting using profanity towards citizens, and a veracity policy were also challenged vigorously. So why the silence regarding getting to the bottom of a riot against the nation’s capital, lawmakers, and the police officers sworn to defend them?

There should be a peaceful march on the capitol by police organizations and the other labor organizations representing the non-sworn workers. Dues-paying African American, Latino, and Caucasian personnel should demand their union leadership take a stand.

Police chiefs and sheriffs should also engage and write their Republican lawmakers at the State and national levels with a demand they support the men and women in blue and vote to establish an investigative body to examine all aspects of the Jan. 6 insurrection.

Men and women in blue should support their colleagues who engaged in the defensive battle and demand accountability.

The hypocrisy and biases of our Republican lawmakers who demand law and order when the poor, BIPOC, and less desirable whites are recipients continue to reveal itself and must be challenged.

Thus, the question: Where are you PBA, FOP, SEIU, and other labor organizations? Our democracy needs you.

Goliath J. Davis, III, Ph.D.

Respect, Accountability, Integrity

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