Who does the FOP represent?
By Dan Klein
Who Does the Fraternal Order of Police Represent?
To support and defend the Constitution of the United States; to inculcate loyalty and allegiance to the United States of America; to promote and foster the enforcement of law and order; to improve the individual and collective proficiency of our members in the performance of their duties; to encourage fraternal, educational, charitable and social activities among law enforcement officers; to advocate and strive for uniform application of the civil service merit system for appointment and promotion; to support the improvement of the standard of living and working conditions of the law enforcement profession through every legal and ethical means available; to create and maintain tradition of esprit de corps insuring fidelity to duty under all conditions and circumstances; to cultivate a spirit of fraternalism and mutual helpfulness among our members and the people we serve; to increase the efficiency of the law enforcement profession and thus more firmly to establish the confidence of the public in the service dedicated to the protection of life and property.--Mission Statement of the Fraternal Order of Police, representing over 355,000 police officers
“I couldn’t stay quiet anymore.” Gladys Sicknick, mother of deceased Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick, as she lobbied GOP senators to support the January 6 Commission.
I watched Gladys Sicknick and Sandra Garza (Brian’s longtime companion) walk the halls of the Senate to get GOP senators to vote in favor of the bi-partisan January 6 Commission on the insurrection at our capitol. Walking with them were several members of the Capitol police department but missing were members from the National Fraternal Order of Police.
As a retired member of the FOP, I was certain the FOP would take a public stand to endorse the commission. The January 6 riot left Sicknick dead, two other officers committed suicide shortly thereafter and at least 140 officers were injured, some seriously. The absence of any FOP member with Gladys Sicknick made me question, where was the FOP?
With that in mind I began searching the Internet for anything the FOP had to say about the insurrection. I found that on January 6, during the riot, FOP President Patrick Yoes issued a statement calling on President Trump to “forcefully urge” the protestors to stand down. Yoes called the riot an unlawful activity. This is exactly what the FOP needed to do.
On January 7, 2021, I found that Chicago FOP President John Catanzara (representing 12,000 officers) issued a statement defending and minimizing the rioters’ actions. In his statement Catanzara reiterated Trump’s lie that the election was stolen and how he sympathized with the rioters. On January 8, amid a huge backlash that included a rebuke from FOP President Yoes, Catanzara issued an apology.
“There is no question that, in addition to the tragic loss of life, these criminals left a wide swath of damage in the building that is the heart of our democracy and threatened our elected officers, Congressional staff as well as our brother and sister officers.” Yoes January 8, 2021, statement.
Once again FOP President Patrick Yoes had it right. So why couldn’t I locate any formal statement from the FOP as to their support of the January 6 commission? I called the national FOP office in Nashville, Tennessee, to get an answer. The secretary who answered the phone said I should speak to the FOP legislative office in Washington D.C. I called them next and the person I spoke to told me that the FOP has not taken a side on this issue. I was floored. The vote was coming within days.
I asked him if he was sure. He put me on hold and spoke to others in the office and confirmed what he had already told me. I left my name and number and asked that someone call me back. The national Fraternal Order of Police, whose mission statement is all about protecting fellow officers, the Constitution, law and order, etc, opted not to take a stand on a bipartisan commission to investigate why the insurrection occurred, what failures there were in planning, who the heroes were and what should be done in the future. The FOP stood silent and put the burden on the mother of a fallen Capitol police officer. Why?
It was during this time that I received emails from some FOP members complaining that, with Joe Biden as president we do not have a friend in the White House. Their proof was that Biden obeyed federal statute and allowed flags to be flown at full staff on Police Memorial Day (which normally is flown at half-staff). This year Police Memorial Day coincided with Armed Forces Day and federal statute dictates the flag will remain full staff. None of these emails said a word about Sicknick, the two officers who committed suicide and the 140 officers who were injured. It was all about politics, not about supporting fellow officers and the January 6 commission.
I then remembered who the FOP had endorsed for the 2020 presidential election, Donald Trump. Could the FOP's silence on the January 6 Commission be because the FOP is full of Trump loyalists? Does loyalty to Trump outweigh the FOP mission statement to support fellow police officers? Will the FOP turn their back on officers in need, if those officers supported Joe Biden instead of Donald Trump?
Here is Yoes statement endorsing Trump: “Look at what the national discourse has focused on for the last six months. President Trump has shown time after time that he supports our law enforcement officers and understands the issues our members face every day. The FOP is proud to endorse a candidate who calls for law and order across our nation.”
Here is what Trump told Fox News on March 25, 2021, regarding the rioters: “… some of them went in and they’re, they’re hugging and kissing the police and the guards. You know, they had great relationships. A lot of the people were waved in and then they walked in, and they walked out.” I remind you that 143 officers were injured or lost their lives that day.
I don’t understand how the national FOP can say all the right things at the time of the violent insurrection and then do and say nothing when it comes to investigating the incident. Actually, I do understand. It’s politics, and it’s sick for an organization that proclaims that they have the backs of all cops to turn away from those officers (and their families) who gave their all to protect our capitol.
No one from the FOP has ever called me back to explain why Gladys Sicknick had to walk the halls of Congress alone in seeking justice for her son Brian. It’s a simple question. Sadly, I think the answer is simple too, but no one at the FOP wants to say it.