Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Union Torn over Endorsement for State Attorney

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Police Union Torn over Endorsement for State Attorney

Article excerpt

The behind-the-scenes wrangling over the police union

endorsement in the state attorney's race has been one of the

more intriguing dramas of the campaign season.

The union's political action committee voted to recommend

endorsing State Attorney Harry Shorstein over R. Hudson Olliff.

But even the leadership couldn't predict how the 2,200 members

of the Fraternal Order of Police would respond during voting

last week.

On one hand, the police have reason not to like Shorstein. On

the other, most like Olliff.

But few expect the retired Circuit Court judge to prevail in

this race, so endorsing him could leave the FOP dealing with a

prosecutor they had snubbed.

The cops have been upset with Shorstein for some time.

It may have started because Shorstein and former Sheriff Jim

McMillan never seemed to get along.

Back in 1993, Shorstein angered police when he announced

officers would no longer be able to resign from the force to

avoid being prosecuted for crimes. To some officers, that

sounded as though Shorstein was out to get them.

The rift grew in 1994 after Shorstein's office initiated a

grand jury investigation that led to a highly critical report of

the Sheriff's Office.

And there was the time Shorstein compared the low salaries of

prosecutors with the higher salaries of police officers.

Things might have calmed down, but last year Shorstein went out

of his way to support Sheriff Nat Glover's move to reorganize

the department, eliminating a number of captain's positions

along the way.

Shorstein's closeness to Glover, whose initiatives have rankled

officers in his department, is a continuing irritation to some

officers.

Shorstein has made overtures to officers to try to patch things

up. FOP President Gary Evans spoke to the membership on

Shorstein's behalf.

Meanwhile, Olliff campaigned outside the Police Memorial

building last week, shaking hands with officers and asking for

their support. Many offered their support and wrote checks to

Olliff's campaign.

Olliff had a reputation as a tough judge, and officers like

that. …

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