In the coming month, Emeryville residents will be faced with an important decision that will impact the priorities of this city. We will no doubt be faced with “endorsements” from a slew of outside agencies who may or may not have any real perspective or knowledge of the problems we face as a community. One organization that clearly does have this perspective is The Emeryville Police Officers Union (EPOA). “Many of us spend more time in the city than we do with our families” noted EPOA President Lance Goodfellow. After meeting with all the candidates individually, they have opted to endorse Louise Engel, Brynnda Collins and John Bauters for Emeryville City Council.
The EPOA (not to be confused with the Emeryville Property Owners Association) as an organization that has not endorsed in nearly a decade. They endorsed candidates this year in part because of the shifting political climate. “Whether warranted or not, the sentiment toward law enforcement has changed recently” noted EPOA Vice President Warren Williams. “We need to become more proactive and involved. We need to reach out to council and the city and establish new connections and friendships.” The Emeryville Police Department is held in high regard by nearly everyone in the city and has maintained a consistently high satisfaction rating among residents in the mid-eighty percentile when last polled.
The EPOA consists of 34 Officers and Sergeants. 76% have at least nine years of experience according to Goodfellow. Every EPOA member had an opportunity to interface with the candidates, ask questions and cast a vote. “We sent each of the candidates a questionnaire and arranged in-person interviews with each of them” noted Williams. “The candidates we decided to endorse all have one qualifier in common. They all had previous involvement with us and reached out to us prior to the election.” Engel and Collins are both graduates of the Emeryville Citizens Academy and their involvement in the city goes back more than a decade. Bauters has worked with the EPD in ways they consider to be productive to law enforcement. “They’ve all shown an interest in working with us prior to politics. For us, this means a lot.”
Williams noted that although they could only endorse three candidates, the EPOA wants to work with whomever is elected. “Our endorsement does not mean the other candidates are unqualified. We had to make three choices. We’d like to work with anyone that is an elected leader to this city.”
The endorsement will not come with any substantial campaign donations and clearly officers are forbidden from political activity while on duty. “We’re a small organization and not registered as a PAC so we’re limited to individual support and contributions” noted Williams. “We take great pride in working in this city” added Goodfellow. “We encourage anyone who cares about public safety to get involved. Inquire about our annual Citizen’s Academy, sign-up for a ride-along, flag down one of us to chat with. We need to all work together to address the challenges we face as a community”.
Note about Endorsements: The E’ville Eye will only share endorsements by local organizations that allow all candidates to participate and transparently divulge their voting criteria.