Florida union officials seek national boycott of officer rights website after members voice criticism online

(PR NewsChannel) / August 15, 2011 / TAMPA, Fla. and SALT LAKE CITY, Utah 

In a move that could pit police officers against their union representatives, union leaders will decide this week whether to call for a national boycott of a Florida-based police rights website.

In a surprise move earlier this year, officials from the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) lodges based primarily in South Florida convinced union officials across the state to institute a statewide boycott of the law enforcement website LEOAFFAIRS.COM and its advertisers.

That angered the rank and file who believe that instead of solving their problems, union officials are trying to shut them up.

“The FOP feels threatened,” writes an officer on a LEOAFFAIRS.COM message board. “They have failed to address our concerns and are mad.”

Complains another: “Thank God for Freedom of Speech. The union fears this website and it should because they can’t conduct business as usual.”

LEOAFFAIRS.com is one of the largest law enforcement websites in the world. It has over 500 law enforcement agencies online in 18 countries each with its own message board to allow officers to raise work related issues.

Earlier this year, officers criticized union officials in Miami, Miami Beach and Ft. Lauderdale. Immediately after, union reps called for a boycott of the site.

Now Florida FOP officials will try to convince their counterparts nationwide to expand the boycott when they meet this week in Salt Lake City, Utah for the 60th Biennial National FOP Conference.

In late July, Chip DeBlock, operating manager and co-founder of LEOAFFAIRS.COM, sent a letter to the FOP national president.

“Members… have been expressing their outrage over lodge presidents and officers supporting the boycott and failing to represent the very rights of law enforcement officers that they have sworn to protect,” wrote DeBlock, who is also a corporal and a member of the FOP for 25 years.

“I was recently informed that (the president) … of the Jacksonville FOP Lodge effectively threatened one of my advertisers to stop advertising with LEOAFFAIRS.COM if they wanted their products and services to be successful in Jacksonville. The advertiser did in fact stop their advertising on LEOAFFAIRS.COM as a result of this threat and we no longer receive compensation from them.”

DeBlock says he has consulted with a lawyer and is considering legal action.

LEOAFFAIRS.COM has been featured in The Washington Post and on MSNBC because of the role it has played in affecting positive change for officers over the last eight years.

“I am a firm believer that law enforcement officers need union representation,” DeBlock says, “but the public and officers could become confused if it appears that the FOP is attacking an officer rights website.”

There’s a flurry of postings from officers, which have been almost universally supportive of LEOAFFAIRS.COM.

Board members who do not support freedom of speech should be turned out of office,” writes one officer. “Sadly I feel you were misinformed by our Union about what takes place here. This site has put pressure on those that are corrupt to the core to change.”

From another: “I reject your attempt to silence free speech — a cornerstone of the First Amendment to the Constitution. I find your attempt to do so by the use of boycott reprehensible.”

The vote is still scheduled.

The union’s national president, Chuck Canterbury, told DeBlock in an email: “This will be a decision of the members at the conference. I will chair the debate but ultimately it will be there call.”

DeBlock hopes pressure from officers and the public will convince union leadership to back off from a boycott.

About LEOAFFAIRS.COM: LEOAFFAIRS.COM is one of the largest law enforcement websites in the world. It has over 500 law enforcement agencies online in 18 countries and boasts millions of hits per month. The site consists of an Officer Rights Website and Agency Message Boards that allow officers to talk about work related issues. It has directly influenced many positive contributions to law enforcement including shelters for the families of first responders during natural disasters in Tampa/Hillsborough County; the acquisition of carbine assault rifles for officers’ safety and the move to a 4 day work week for morale in St. Pete; the ability to carry guns, make arrests and receive training for Florida Probation & Parole officers and the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office takeover of the Pahokee and Belle Glade police departments (at the request of the officers) to name a few.

MEDIA NOTE: Chip DeBlock is available for interviews. He is in Tampa. Please use the media contact below.


Glenn Selig

PR Firm: The Publicity Agency

Phone: (813) 708-1220




Direct link:  https://prnewschannel.com/2011/08/15/florida-union-officials-seek-national-boycott-of-officer-rights-website-after-members-voice-criticism-online-2/


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