California voters recently received a fraudulent political slate mailer claiming to represent law enforcement in an attempt to cause pro-police voters to cast ballots contrary to the true stance of public safety professionals.
This attempt to deceive voters regarding the important public safety initiatives is offensive, especially in a time when the profession is under a microscope.
“We have worked so hard to build relationships with our community stakeholders, the residents we serve and our elected officials,” said SEBA President Grant Ward, who is a sergeant for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. “To see someone print endorsements that are completely contradictory to what the profession believes is a slap in the face. This erroneous information has been sent to millions of voters and gives law enforcement a very bad name.”
One of the most egregious lies printed on the “Cops Voter Guide” states “NO on Racial Equality,” in bold red letters regarding Proposition 16. Given the current political climate regarding biases in policing, this statement is exceptionally incendiary. SEBA has not taken a position on Proposition 16, which is what the slate mailer calls “racial equality,” but is actually a proposition regarding affirmative action. Law enforcement associations generally do not take positions on this type of legislation because it does not have a nexus to public safety.
This misleading slate mailer has been in publication for more than a decade and has never represented a true law enforcement position. The “Cops Voters Guide” is printed by a campaign consultant who charges big money to appear on his slate mailer but does not represent a single law enforcement agency or association. Kelley Moran, whose name appears as the owner of Cops Voter Guide Inc., does not currently work for law enforcement, nor has he served in a sworn law enforcement capacity in his professional career.
Another outright falsehood printed on the mailer is the stated position on Proposition 20. Prop 20 is overwhelming supported by law enforcement agencies, associations and leaders up and down the state. It would fix the unintended consequences that resulted from Assembly Bill 109 and propositions 47 and 57. Prop 20 would fix specific flaws, addressing violent crime classification, serial theft and DNA collection.
“It is especially concerning to think of the deception behind this mailer when it comes to purposely fooling voters who support law enforcement,” said SEBA spokeswoman Lolita Harper, who is a former detective. “Because these so-called endorsements are sold to the highest bidder, this slate has become a home for anti-law enforcement interests to dupe well-intentioned voters. Mix that in with well-intentioned candidates who think this slate mailer can help their campaign and you have candidates who support the police alongside an anti-police position. It’s a mess and its disingenuous to all involved; voters and candidates alike.”
If voters want to know who the political views of their local law enforcement, it is best to go directly to the source. Look up the agency or association’s social media or website. SEBA endorsements can be found at seba.com/political-endorsements.
The Sheriff’s Employees’ Benefit Association (SEBA), represents nearly 3,800 members from the sheriff’s department, probation corrections officers and supervisors, specialized fire services and investigators from the district attorney, coroner and fraud offices in San Bernardino County.