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The largest police union in Florida endorsed President Trump by unanimous voice vote last week.
John Kazanjian, president of the Florida Police Benevolent Association (FPBA), appeared on Fox News on Friday and said that the FPBA decided to endorse Trump during an “emergency” phone conference over the stakes of the upcoming election for police. Kazanjian spoke to union chapter and charter presidents and members of each board of directors on the call.
“We’re 30,000 strong. We go from the panhandle to Daytona, to Tampa down to Miami and the Keys,” Kazanjian said.
“I spelled it out on what’s going on, not just in Florida but across this country that, ‘Hey, you know what, we’re getting beat up. We’re getting used like a punching bag, and we’re tired of it, and President Donald Trump has been there for us. He supported us,’” Kazanjian said, relaying last week’s call and adding that the motion to endorse Trump was passed “unanimously.”
Kazanjian said that the union’s endorsement extends well beyond the 30,000 members of the FPBA, and carries “a lot of weight.”
“Not only the 30,000 votes that we had from the members in Florida. Don’t forget about our friends and families, retirees … I believe the last cycle, we also put the president on top and guess what? We’re going to come out in force this time to put the president on top,” Kazanjian said.
The FPBA’s endorsement comes as anti-police movements are gaining political traction around the country in major U.S. cities. A majority of the Minneapolis City Council has voiced support to defund and phase out its police department, and voted in late July to enact the first significant cuts to the police department budget.
Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City and Mayor Eric Garcetti of Los Angeles have both supported cuts to their respective police departments’ budgets. The Democratic officials have sworn to transfer money out of policing and into social programs that, in theory, will ease underlying social issues and solve problems before they manifest as crimes.
In Seattle, city officials are pushing to strip police of nonlethal tools such as teargas that police have used to break up crowds of violent rioters. Seattle Police Chief Carmen Best has taken to warning residents that if the changes are enacted, police officers will no longer intervene to protect businesses or property from violent crowds. Police will only break up a crowd if someone’s life is at risk.
School districts in Washington state have begun severing contracts with local law enforcement agencies over the “risk” officers allegedly pose to students. In late June, a school board that oversees four schools near Seattle voted to scrap three of the schools’ contracts for school resource officers supplied through local law enforcement branches.
“Given the facts of our highly-dangerous national and state systems of policing, supervision and incarceration, by being housed in our high schools — no matter how helpful and beloved they are — police are a real risk to many of our students and they contribute to stress and bad health for hundreds of children,” Edmonds School Board President Deborah Kilgore said.