Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Fraternal Order of Police gain Texas foothold in H-Town

Police union politics in Texas could become even more radicalized now that the Houston Police Officers Union (HPOU) has joined forces with the Fraternal Order of Police, a police-union umbrella group and Trump-administration favorite that had not previously had a major foothold in Texas.

HPOU's president, Joe Gamaldi, was elected to FOP's leadership team, the Houston Chronicle reported recently. For many years, HPOU was affiliated with the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas (CLEAT). Then, it briefly teamed up in a sort of coalition with the Dallas police union and the Texas Municipal Police Association, CLEAT's biggest rival.

By bailing on TMPA and teaming up with FOP, Grits fears HPOU may have launched a race to the bottom. FOP is well known for backing firebrands and demagogues, and Gamaldi was already a shoot-from-the-lip kind of guy.

Grits read: Expect more outlandish statements and demagoguery from Joe Gamaldi, and expect the CLEAT and TMPA-affiliated unions to follow their lead and become more aggressive to try to match them. I hope I'm wrong, but this strikes me as unfortunate news.


BarkGrowlBite said...

Scott, there you go again with your uber-liberal anti-police bleeding heart. What you call "firebrands and demagogues" are often officers that have been wrongly disciplined or criminally charged for political reasons in order to placate the wolves that are baying for their blood.

And what is wrong with being a Trump favorite? I suppose if Trump were to praise Jesus Christ, you would convert to another faith.

Anonymous said...

Nice deflection there BGB,

"What you call "firebrands and demagogues" are often officers that have been wrongly disciplined or criminally charged for political reasons..."

Is not anything like saying:

"Joe Gamaldi is a good man and a hard-working police officer that the City is lucky to have!"

But that's ok, I wouldn't say so either.

Unions only exist to make their members money, why would I support that on any planet? This is a Right to Work State for a reason, I don't like socialists and I especially don't like socialists with a badge and a gun!

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/21/2019 06:15:00 PM, while I am not particularly supportive of unions in general, your statement that "Unions only exist to make their members money" flies in the face of reality here in Texas. Police unions exist here specifically due to the long history of management's willingness to pander to politicians by making examples of officers when it suits them, regardless of due process and the facts at hand. Several major city police chiefs have bemoaned the fact that their discipline has been overturned by district courts and arbitrators, trying to sell the narrative that they are left unable to effectively run their organizations. The truth though, as pointed out numerous times in major media, is that such chiefs decided to go with their gut feelings an officer was guilty of something, even policy violations unrelated to what they ultimately used to fire the employee when a case couldn't be made.
What kind of a person would argue against basic human rights, especially given the expectation on this website that police should be treating the rest of us in a fair manner, beholden to all the usual rights and due process? Of course reformers focus on the modest numbers of transgressions when a cop is accused of something but the reality is that very few cops go out of their way to shoot anyone despite state laws making it all too easy for them to do so, and if you think "right to work" laws allow employees to be dismissed or disciplined at will, you are sadly mistaken. Is it any wonder why some 85% of all discipline against cops protected by civil service laws is reduced or overturned entirely?
As far as this Gamboli fellow, it seems clear his fellow members in the FOP elected him because of his willingness to speak out and defend them at a time when a growing number of folks want to assume their guilt even when the facts don't support it. I don't think his rhetoric promotes his agenda nearly as effectively as others in his field but they have a right to elect whomever they select.

Anonymous said...

When Sam Nuchia was police chief of HPD, he would apply a standard in disciplining officers of "where there's smoke, there's fire" and if an officer took exception to this, he'd get punished using another maxim; "You can beat the rap but not the ride". In effect, Nuchia would give the officer the choice of taking a long term suspension without pay & benefits or he'd be fired. The chief laughed how he knew the officer would get his job back eventually, in perhaps a year or more in some cases, only be be transferred "for the good of the department" to some lousy assignment geared to make life miserable. Funny how criminal justice reformers were nowhere to be found over this, forgetting how the trickle down theory works. For his efforts, Nuchia was rewarded by voters with a seat on the state supreme court where many soon regretted their decision to elect him, BAR ratings supporting the conclusion that he was terrible.

Anonymous said...

Here is what I can't figure out about Republicans and unions in general

Virtually all republicans are anti-union, except when it comes to police unions, (police goonions?) and then they bend over to give police goonions whatever they ask for, whenever they ask for it, especially when it comes to contract terms which allow the cops to avoid discipline or transparency in their actions.

Also, it seems that city councils of either party are reluctant to stand up to the ridiculous demands of police goonions, yet they’ll clamp down on their other unions with an iron fist (Houston firefighters for example.)

Gamaldi has no business being an active duty police officer, a union boss, and now a national union leader at the same time. It is a direct conflict of interest. Acevedo (Houston CoP) needs to have a sit down with Gamaldi about his ‘career choices”. E.g. - Either be a cop or police goonion leader, but not both a the same time.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 12:49, Republicans support police and fire unions in everything EXCEPT pay increases. That is why such groups feel obligated to court key Democrats since all the well wishes from the GOP won't feed their kids or put a roof over their heads. Look across the country for who signs those lucrative contracts and you will find they are almost universally signed and endorsed by Democrats. In Texas, the state GOP has long protected HFD's pensions more than they protected HPD's pensions, the police taking massive cuts twice (2004, 2017) compared to HFD getting cuts once in 2017. The GOP also forced the city to better fund HFD's benefits so any claims of one pension being better funded than the other are a direct result of that protection.

The problem with your assertion regarding HPD's Gamaldi is that their union demands a full time officer be union president, his entire paycheck comes from the city as part of their negotiated contract. If the city wants to engage in illegal union busting tactics before changing that contract, the city will likely lose in court or arbitration but even worse would be losing union support for many of the programs the city wants. If there were no benefit to both sides, it wouldn't be part of their contract.

Anonymous 12:44, Sam was big on getting results even if he thought the ends justified the means. He was a very personable fellow to those of us who knew him but nobody wanted to cross him professionally.

Anonymous said...

It's 2019 in the south, unions should be dead and bad cops should be fired on the spot just like the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/22/2019 11:35:00 PM, except when the determination of who is good or bad is left to slick jackals known to fire employees for all the wrong reasons. No thanks!

Anonymous said...

Welcome to Texas, a Right to Work State. I can be fired just because it's Tuesday. I'm sorry if you've been living in your little socialist cocoon all this time but the rest of us work for our money and earn it on performance, not with collective threats and cronyism.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/23/2019 06:18:00 AM, welcome to Texas, a state led by the GOP who recognize the validity of public safety unions. While you've been living in your fantasy world that tries to race to the bottom when it comes to worker rights, don't be upset because you choose to work for a lousy employer that could at any moment fire you on a whim.

Anonymous said...


Please feel free to come by our offices and get a better understanding of law enforcement labor issues in Texas. TMPA and the HPOU, along with the Dallas Police Association and the Harris County Deputies Organization, as well as dozens of other local lodges and associations, are now all aligned under the FOP banner. Texas is now the 8th largest FOP State Lodge in the country.

Kevin Lawrence

Executive Director, TMPA

Chairman of Trustees, Texas FOP


Anonymous said...

I've got nothing to be afraid of I do my job right every day, and I work in an industry where the penalty for my negligence is prison, I don't need a safety net, I'm a professional. If I get fired "just because" then I cash out my unemployment insurance, pay my bills and negotiate my own agreement with my next employer.

The GOP believes in public safety unions because you're dependable little myrmidons that will happily vote party line in exchange for pensions no one can afford, lack of accountability, and a safe place to wallow in your "fear of the other." That's why they believe in "Public Safety" unions but not Teachers unions.

Comrade 11:44 talks about our duly elected officials like he's plotting a coup, I bet he's a real delight at parties.

Anonymous said...

Anon 8/23/2019 06:18:00 AM & 8/23/2019 04:18:00 PM, there's a reason why district court judges and arbitrators rule against discipline imposed by some of these jokers. It is proven time and again that police chiefs play fast and loose with regard to what is called "evidence". Like it or not, most cases of discipline in public safety are not black and white, nor do they involve demonstrated negligence. I'm sure you think you're a professional beyond reproach but just as Scott and many others point to excesses by some of these same police chiefs for how they mishandle things, if you served under a politically appointed hack, you might feel differently. I wouldn't do it but then, I'm not a cop or fireman.

Your stance on unions is predictable as it is extreme but keep in mind that the pensions are given largely by democrats, not republicans, just as democrats are the ones that provide raises. Otherwise, both public safety groups would not bother with democrats who are the ones to impose reforms not to their liking. Republicans are not known for their financial generosity towards these groups so much as operational generosity, admittedly going too far since they refuse to cough up meaningful compensation. You might remember that it was the GOP led state legislature and the Republican governor that cut pensions to police and fire in 2017, most of the same people increasing teacher pay across the board more recently. But at least I'm invited to parties while you are probably still at work with no overtime, groveling at your master's feet to remain employed. (jking)