Cleveland’s police officers are set to take a vote Friday on who to endorse for the presidency, and the potential endorsement ignited a controversy within its ranks.
The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association (CPPA), which represents 1,450 officers and staff, held a vote last week on whether or not to vote on a presidential endorsement. The union voted in favor of endorsing a candidate by just one vote, according to WJW Fox 8 Cleveland.
The narrow vote revealed a divide among membership on whether or not to move forward with an endorsement. The president of the local Black Shield Association (BSA), an organization set up to represent the interests of black police officers, has been adamant in her opposition of endorsing a candidate. “It would just be not a good thing for us to be involved in endorsing anyone right at this particular time,” Lynn Hampton said in a statement.
“The membership voted by a narrow margin that the Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association WILL make an endorsement in the upcoming election for President of the United States,” Steve Loomis, president of the CPPA, said in a letter sent to its members Wednesday.
Loomis has met with Republican nominee Donald Trump on numerous occasion previously, participating in a roundtable discussion with the Republican nominee and other union leaders in early September. Loomis also appeared at a Trump rally in his formal department in Akron during an August visit.
BSA highlighted fears that if the union endorses Trump, it could elevate the mistrust among minority groups towards law enforcement. “I think it would give wind and give fuel to people who think that way about the police department,” Hampton said.
The National Fraternal Order of Police recently endorsed Trump for president, and local chapters throughout the country have tended to sway towards Trump over Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
The Cleveland police union is scheduled to hold its vote Friday, Sept. 30.
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