I recently ran across a great quote from Benjamin Franklin which is very appropriate to some recent comments made about us: “Dirt thrown against a mud wall may well stick and incorporate, but it will not long adhere to polished marble.” As your employees here at TMPA, we see it as our duty to make sure that our walls are made of marble and are kept well polished.
For the last week or so I have fielded at least two dozen questions (and even more opinions) about whether or not we were going to publicly respond to CLEAT’s latest unwarranted, baseless, and irresponsible attacks on us. If you are not aware of these attacks, I apologize for wasting your time. Please move on to the next article.
This is nothing new. I have been involved in this business for well over 30 years now and CLEAT has been attacking TMPA almost non-stop that entire time. We have traditionally – with a few exceptions – chosen not to respond. We have decided primarily to let our record speak for itself. As my father once counselled me, “Never get into a battle of wits with an unarmed man.”
It turns out that a lot of officers – both TMPA and CLEAT members – already responded for us on CLEAT’s Facebook page. The overwhelming majority expressed disappointment that CLEAT cannot behave in a more professional manner. Not surprisingly, all responses that disagreed with CLEAT were quickly deleted.
For anyone who still needs a response from TMPA, we will limit it to few simple facts:
- TMPA has not engaged in a makeover and we don’t feel a need to. Almost 30 years ago we committed ourselves to doing the right thing for our members and behaving in the most positive, professional manner possible. Considering that since that time our membership has grown from less than 1,500 members to over 21,000, we can safely say that the vast majority of officers across the state agree with our business plan.
- The Texas Law Enforcement Council is not an attempt to do anything other than get the various competing groups across the state to work together in the best interest of all of our members. This is not something new to us. We have worked well with DPSOA, the Harris County Deputies Organization, the Houston Police Officers’ Union, Dallas Police Association, and other groups for many years. We have also tried on multiple occasions to reach out to the Texas State Lodge of FOP and CLEAT.
- CLEAT was invited repeatedly to participate in TLEC and have steadfastly refused. That is a shame, but it is also their prerogative.
- There was no confusion, disagreement, or arguing among the various members of TLEC about endorsements in the AG’s race or any others. One of the premises of TLEC is that each member group is free to voice opinions contrary to the other groups – without fear of reprisal. TLEC will only make endorsements when all member organizations unanimously agree. (Which means that any member organization has the power to veto any political endorsement. According to CLEAT, that means “TMPA runs TLEC.” Go figure.)
TMPA remains ready and willing to work with all other law enforcement groups in the best interest of all of our members. I don’t know how to make that any clearer. CLEAT was welcome to attend a meeting last week in which we discussed how the upcoming Legislative Session will affect public sector pensions. They declined. They are welcome at any and all meetings.
While I am at it, I have to point out that Ray Hunt and Mark Clark at HPOU, Ron Pinkston and Frederick Frazier at DPA, Gary Chandler and Clay Taylor at DPSOA, and Bob Goerlitz, David Cuevas, and Eric Batten at HCDO have all been wonderful to work with. We do not always agree, but when we do it is amazing how much we can accomplish. When we don’t, no one takes it personally. We shake hands and agree to try harder next time.
We are also hopeful that the new leadership of the Texas FOP will now participate fully in the TLEC effort.
In the meantime, if CLEAT really believes the rhetoric they are spewing, why do they keep deleting any posts that challenge them? Why don’t they put up or shut up. Even though it goes against my father’s advice, I will gladly debate these issues anywhere, anytime, in front of any audience. And we will let the chips fall where they may.
However, and our board is in unanimous agreement about this, we would rather work out our differences and all pull together in the same direction. All of our members have a right to expect nothing less from us.