The Fraternal Order of Police Defends Arizona

By Jon Feere and Jon Feere on June 1, 2010

The media used up quite a lot of ink covering U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder's meeting with a number of pro-amnesty, anti-S.B.1070 police chiefs last week. It fit the media's agenda of promoting mass immigration and therefore was highlighted as exemplary of law enforcement's position on Arizona's effort.

What the media failed to highlight was the fact that the event was organized by the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) as part of a public relations effort to discredit Arizona's S.B. 1070. The media also failed to note that PERF is an offshoot of the Police Foundation, which was established by the Ford Foundation in 1970. Why is this significant? The Police Foundation – just like the National Council of La Raza, another organization created by the Ford Foundation – regularly promotes amnesty for illegal aliens. As noted on the CIS Immigration Blog last fall, by promoting amnesty, the Police Foundation has sent the message that it is easier to reward illegal aliens for their criminal activities than to convict them of their crimes.

A day after the meeting, Chuck Canterbury, the National President of the Fraternal Order of Police, issued his own statement on Arizona's S.B. 1070, coming to the defense of law enforcement there. Not surprisingly, it hasn't yet generated any coverage in the mainstream media. In a sharply worded statement, Mr. Canterbury wrote the following:

Our members in Arizona are justifiably offended with some of the assumptions that have been made by the media, pundits, and even elected officials who insinuate or state outright that these professional law enforcement officers will use the new law as a pretext to engage in unlawful racial profiling. They are angry and rightly so.

The statute, Arizona Senate Bill 1070, the Support Our Law Enforcement and Safe Neighborhoods Act, has been criticized by many outside of the State as being too harsh or unfair to persons unlawfully present in the United States and Arizona. From the perspective of Arizona law enforcement officers, it is extremely offensive to suggest that the law means officers will engage in racial profiling.

Honest policy differences are both healthy and expected in the public forum, but some critics have really crossed the line. In their haste to criticize the law, I do not think they have stopped to think that it's very insulting to law enforcement officers to hear that they will engage in biased policing, as if these officers do not understand the concept of reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

Law enforcement officers are trained in the police academy to recognize reasonable suspicion and probable cause. These officers put their lives on the line for the public – we entrust them to make life and death decisions in a fraction of a second. You do not have to attack the law by attacking the integrity of these brave men and women.

At the same time, Bryan G. Soller, president of the Arizona State Fraternal Order of Police, issued his own statement on the attacks from the open-border crowd:

As a law enforcement officer for over 20 years I find it offensive that most groups are insinuating that Arizona's professional law enforcement officers would participate in racial profiling and we don’t understand the concept of reasonable suspicion. Arizona's law enforcement officers know all too well the laws pertaining to racial profiling. We have been under the microscope in the past and have proven repeatedly that the law enforcement officers in Arizona DO NOT and WILL NOT profile any nationality, race, religion, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. We are professionals who know and abide by laws.

As for reasonable suspicion, officers are trained in the academy on what constitutes reasonable suspicion and what elements are needed to reach the level of reasonable suspicion. To insinuate that law enforcement officers in Arizona do not know what constitutes reasonable suspicion is insulting to every law enforcement officer who has taken the oath and honorably wears the badge. We have all dedicated our lives to enforcing the laws and protecting and serving our communities, while upholding the highest standards of policing. To suggest that law enforcement officers do not know their jobs or would conduct biased-based policing is a slap in the face of our dedicated and professional officers. The Arizona law enforcement community is outraged by these accusations and needs the public to know that your officers have taken an oath to serve and protect all people and laws of our country, state, and local governments. We take great pride in our profession, and we will uphold the highest standards when enforcing this new law.

Mr. Soller did note that funding for the law could be an issue, but concluded that "the Arizona law enforcement community will find a way to make SB 1070 work."

No word yet on when Canterbury and Soller will be invited to speak with Holder, who, hopefully, has now actually read the Arizona law he admitted to only having "glanced at."