Misrepresentation This Blatant Should Be A Crime

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We all get dozens, if not hundreds of “voter guides” mailed to us every election cycle.  Some are useful, some not, some honest and some are misleading, but I don’t know that I have ever seen one as blatantly dishonest as this one from Cops Voter Guide. It was originally brought to my attention by the Facebook page “Overturn Prop 47” when they shared a picture of the voter guide and mentioned that it was deceptive.  After doing some quick digging, I determined that deceptive is a huge understatement in my opinion.

Absolutely no one at Cops Voter Guide is a cop, or works with cops, or even with “public safety” as they stated.  The Cops Voter Guide website only lists the name of one person, Kelly Moran, the director.  According to Mr. Moran’s LinkedIn profile, he has never been a cop, and the closest he has come to “over 20 years of working with public safety” was during a three (3) year stint with Peace Officers Research Association of California (PORAC) in the late 1990’s as a “Political Action Coordinator.”  He left there in 1997 and shortly thereafter opened his own political consulting firm, Moran & Associates, where he has worked ever since.  He has never worked in law enforcement or public safety, and as best as I can tell, his only work history consists of political consulting and marketing.

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Following the link on Moran’s LinkedIn profile to the business Cops Voter Guide reveals only one other employee, a woman named Holly Jones.  According to her LinkedIn profile, her primary employer is Barry Wyatt Associates, another political and marketing firm, where she is listed as Director of Operations.  She is also listed as the Marketing Director for Cops Voter Guide.  Her work history includes working for a property management company and as a marketing and political consultant, and she has a bachelor’s degree in journalism.  Absolutely nothing remotely law enforcement or public safety related.

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To the best of my knowledge, from what I was able to glean via the internet, those are the two people who make up Cops Voter Guide.  If you still have some lingering doubts about the legitimacy of Cops Voter Guide, please note their street address that is listed on their public website.  Next please note the address of Moran & Associates, as published on their public website.  Coincidentally, they are the same address, with only the suite number being different.

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So, just in case you still do not believe that these folks are not actually representing the views of cops, as the name of their organization very clearly wants you to believe, let us examine a few of the topics they are offering recommendations on, and we will see if actual members of law enforcement and public safety agree.  Since their website makes suggestions based on zip codes, I used the zip code for their office address as a sample (95630).  The following screen shot shows some of their recommendations for residents of that zip code.

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Prop 57 – The “California Parole for Non-Violent Criminals and Juvenile Court Trial Requirements Initiative”
Cops Voter Guide says you should vote yes on prop 57.

As a cop, I strongly disagree, and I am not alone.  Here is a partial list of the ACTUAL law enforcement organizations, district attorneys, police chiefs and sheriffs who oppose it (see attached photo). A complete list that includes other organizations opposed to Prop 57 can be found here.

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California’s 7th Congressional District
Cops Voter Guide recommends incumbent Ami Bera (D).  The Bera for Congress website lists no endorsements from law enforcement organizations, law enforcement officials or anyone remotely representing “public safety.”

Running against Bera is Sacramento County Sheriff, Scott Jones (R).  Jones has received endorsements from a very long list of actual law enforcement and public safety organizations, as well as many heads from various law enforcement and public safety agencies.

4th Supervisorial District – Sacramento
Cops Voter Guide recommends Sue Frost.  A check of Frost’s website lists endorsements from no police or sheriffs, no associations representing them or their employees, no district attorneys or DA organizations, but it does however show two probation organizations that are endorsing her.

Running against Frost, among several others, is Mike Kozlowski.  Kozlowski’s website lists endorsements from numerous sheriffs, police and sheriff’s associations and a district attorney.

Now, I realize that I am a jaded career cop, but it would seem odd to me that for an organization named Cops Voter Guide, they seem to be recommending many things that actual cops are completely opposed to.

One does not have to look back very far in history to find an era when it was not an easy feat to try and verify the legitimacy of organizations that sent out political fliers and voting guides.  For the average voter, it was a task that was next to impossible. Twenty years ago, it would involve multiple trips to libraries, phone calls and on-site visits to the actual entities, but folks, this is the information age.  Most of us have access to nearly infinite information all available at the tips of our fingers via our cell phones.  It took me all of three (3) minutes to figure out that Cops Voter Guide has absolutely nothing to do with cops, and not even to the much broader “public safety” umbrella that their name leads one to believe they represent.  As best as I can tell, Cops Voter Guide is nothing more than a political marketing company.

What I can say without a doubt is that some of their recommendations are most certainly not in agreement with actual cops and public safety organizations out there.  In fact, many of Cops Voter Guide’s recommendations are exactly the opposite of the group their name insinuates they represent.  I am not remotely trying to tell you how to vote, but what I am saying is be careful about where you get your information on which you base your votes.  Please, don’t be a lazy voter.  Your vote is important, make it an educated one.

My Wasted Vote

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I just spent the better part of an hour reading the voter guide on the few propositions I was not already educated on. I carefully blackened all the corresponding ovals on my absentee ballot, so that my selections would not accidentally be subject to a “calibration error” and be cast the opposite of how I voted, especially in the presidential race. I sealed the envelope, signed it, and as I laid the envelope on the outgoing mail pile, I resigned myself to having just completely wasted all that time and energy.
 
Who was I kidding? I have no doubt that this year, just like the last 4 elections that I can recall (possibly more), every proposition I voted on will go the exact opposite of how I voted, and other than some of my local political representatives, every other race will likely go to the other candidate.
 
Being a pro-gun, pro-law and order, anti-drug conservative living in California is seriously like living behind enemy lines. I feel like someone living in East Berlin during the cold war. I know what I want, I can see it just over the state line, but I am trapped here where my opinion counts for dick. My job is to protect the public, the same public who every single year votes for laws which not only make that job harder, but the public who also votes for laws, or politicians who push laws, that make it more difficult for that very same public to protect themselves.
 
I feel like the last sane Roman sitting on a hill watching Rome burn in the distance. I absolutely hate this feeling. 

Being Lectured By An Academic, Oh Joy

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First of all, let me clear this up; this guy is most definitely NOT the “US policing leader” like the author of this Associated Press article wants his readers to believe.  The headline of that AP article, which is sadly as much of the article as some viewers will actually read, could not be more disingenuous and blatantly misleading.

According to a similar article at the Washington Post, Terrence Cunningham “issued a formal apology to the nation’s minority population ‘for the actions of the past and the role that our profession has played in society’s historical mistreatment of communities of color.’”

The man who made those comments is correctly identified in the AP article as “Terrence Cunningham, president of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.”   He is the president of a private organization, one which comprises much more than what its name would indicate.  The organization is not even restricted to just law enforcement, but its membership is open to many other professions, many not remotely resembling law enforcement.

“Membership Criteria:  Police chiefs, commissioners, sheriffs, constables, security officers, investigators, colonels, city managers, public safety directors, instructors, highway safety specialists, police science coordinators, brigadier generals, doctors, senior research fellows, sergeants, criminal investigators, psychologists, attorneys, management analysts, border patrol agents, inspectors, human rights officers, coroners, handwriting examiners, criminal justice students and service providers—all comprise our vast membership.” 

To remotely suggest that this guy speaks for US law enforcement as a whole, or even to suggest that he speaks for US law enforcement leadership, is seriously misstating the truth.  He speaks for a group that he is the president of, and based on these articles, he does not even speak for all of said group’s members.

Secondly, Terrence Cunningham is the Chief of Police of “Wellesley, Massachusetts, an affluent, overwhelmingly white, low-crime suburb near Boston.”  Wellesley, MA is a whopping 10.49 square miles (my last patrol district was more than 4 times that size), the entire department consists of 62 full-time employees (only 33 of which are patrol cops), the city has a crime rate that is almost non-existent, and “According to a 2007 Census Bureau estimate, the racial makeup of the town was 84.6% White, 10.0% Asian, 2.2% Black, 0.01% Native American, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 1.4% from other races, and 1.7% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 3.4% of the population.”  “Overwhelmingly white” is a almost an understatement.

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Speaking of the ridiculously low crime rate, according to the information provided by City-Data.com, there has not been a murder in the city going back to at least 2002 and in the 12 year span shown on their website (2002-2014), there were only 17 reported rapes in that entire time span and only 26 robberies.  My department takes that many robbery reports in just a day or two.  The crime rate there is so ridiculously low, I began to wonder when the last time there was a murder in that town.  The most recent murder I can find any mention of using Google occurred in 1999.

According to Cunningham’s LinkedIn profile, his entire 33 year law enforcement career has been served in Wellesley, MA.  His entire career has been in a sleepy, wealthy, crime free small town.  This man has no experience dealing with the very communities that he is attempting to speak to.  Additionally,   he lists Harvard as his alma mater which makes me suspect he is likely a liberal.  So, he has a liberal education and he has no experience dealing with violent crime, which explains his “white cop guilt” BS comments.

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His comments are based on academics and speculation, because his employment history does not offer any credible facts on which they can be based.  While I am not begrudging anyone who works in a small, slow town, but for him to speak as if he is an expert on a topic that he has zero experience dealing with is totally irresponsible.

This man most definitely does NOT speak for law enforcement as a whole.

The atrocities he speaks of, the enforcement of Jim Crow laws, the blatant abuse of people of color, those things happened more than a decade before I was even born, and more than 30 years before I became a cop.  I do not have to apologize for something I did not do.  It is entirely possible for me to acknowledge that something bad happened, that something was done wrong, without my needing to accept blame for it.  Expecting modern law enforcement to apologize for things done 50 years ago is the same as expecting white people to apologize for slavery.  It is liberal minded, SJW bull crap!

As an actively employed cop, this man’s comments infuriate me.

This is yet another leftist attempt to alleviate a segment of society from personal responsibility, and his comments could not have come at a worse time.  There is currently a war on cops being waged, and this guy wants me to say sorry for something that happened before I was born?  Someone needs to step out of suburbia and experience real cop work before he is going to try and lecture us.

We as a nation need to stop blaming people who did nothing wrong.  The only way we can hope to grow as a people, as one nation, is to stop living in the past.  Make changes for the better.  Judge people based on their actions, not on their skin color or the clothing (uniform) they wear.

Now, before someone accuses me of trying to whitewash history, I am not remotely suggesting that we ignore the past, far from it.  As the saying goes, those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it.  However, acknowledging that history does not require taking responsibility for it.  It is possible to learn from the mistakes of others, and that is what we all need to do, both the cops and the communities we serve.

Edit 10-21-16:  While I understand the message he was trying to convey, and I agree it is a positive one, his choice of wording was horrific and now the left is shoving those poorly chosen words in law enforcement’s collective face.