The Southeast Tennessee Chapter’s Southern States Police Benevolent Association announced its political endorsements for Aug. 3. election.
Craig Joel said the board formally interviewed the candidates last Saturday at the Chattanooga Choo-Choo.
Sgt. Joel said the PBA "consists of local members of your law enforcement community that wish to improve the quality of work life for people employed in all aspects of criminal justice, and fund the organization through their own out-of-pocket dues. The members are autonomous, and answer only to themselves and not their respective agencies as to give them an independent voice, without fear of political or internal repercussions. In short, these are Your police officers, speaking for themselves and who they think would best serve the public trust. Besides endorsing leadership, the dues paid in by our membership also cover individual legal fees for your officers as well as death benefits for those that make the ultimate sacrifice."
He said, "The interview consisted of the candidate meeting with the local PBA Board where he or she answered a series of questions provided to them a month in advance. No follow-up (or 'surprise') questions were asked, all candidates for the same position were given the same questions, and all candidates were invited for interview. Those that chose not to attend or send a policy-making representative were not considered, and in some cases, some positions were not endorsed at all regardless of attendance if it was determined by the Board that the candidate would not better the quality of work life for the local members of law enforcement.
"The PBA chose not to endorse any judges for office. This was a decision made by the PBA Board to keep separate the dealings between law enforcement and the Judiciary. It was deemed to be a ‘lose/lose’ situation because of the appearance of impropriety, regardless of political backing or not, for the either the defendants or the officers appearing before these judges.
"Those that the local PBA wished to endorse are:
County Commission, District 5
County Commission, District 8
Criminal Court Clerk
Sgt. Joel said, "After detailed interviews, these are the people that your local law enforcement urge you strongly to vote for on Aug. 3."