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State police union endorses Blagojevich

Friday, September 15, 2006

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police is backing Governor Rod Blagojevich in his re-election campaign. But in this Intelligence Report, the I-Team has learned that not all rank and file members of the FOP support the Blagojevich endorsement.

The Fraternal Order of Police represents 34,000 law enforcement officers in Illinois. Friday, the union's president admitted that not all of the FOP districts in Illinois actually wanted to back Governor Blagojevich for re-election, although the official endorsement only needed a three-fifths vote of the board and got it.

The I-Team has learned that there was one large block of police union members who opposed the Blagojevich endorsement, noteworthy because that block is the lawmen and women who are closest to the governor.

The governor arrived with a smile in downstate Marion when the president of the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police offered the union's endorsement.

"On behalf of its 35,000 members of law enforcement, both full-time active sworn and retired, it is endorsing the next governor, the current governor of Illinois, Governor Rod Blagojevich," said Ted Street, FOP president.

But the I-Team has learned not all police union members back the governor's re-election bid. Illinois State Troopers were among the fraternal order of police units who voted against the Blagojevich endorsement, according to sources knowledgeable with the procedure.

Troopers make up the law enforcement arm of state government and are members of FOP Lodge 41 in Springfield. The Lodge 41 straw poll received about 1,000 responses. Union insiders tell the I-Team that Governor Blagojevich's candidacy received the support of 2 percent. His republican challenger is said to have received almost 30 percent of the state police vote. But the big winner was no endorsement of either candidate, receiving almost 70 percent of the state trooper vote.

The straw poll results are only advisory, intended to guide FOP. board members as they decide the which candidates the union will support. The fact that most rank-and-file state troopers polled voted against a Blagojevich endorsement is not surprising, if a year-old website is the gauge. Illinois State Police PEEVED, ISPEEVED for short, is loaded with anonymous troopers bashing the administration for its police funding, discipline policies and corruption allegations that are now under federal investigation.

The governor's rocky relations with some troopers began on Inauguration Day, when he commenced replacing long-time state police bodyguards.

Two years ago the I-Team uncovered accidents, mistakes and misconduct by the governor's new guards, and our investigation resulted in police resignations, transfers and an overhaul of the police bodyguard unit.

A statement released by the Blagojevich campaign contends it is "not familiar with the internal workings of the fraternal order of police and their many member organizations."

Despite the apparent snubbing by state troopers, Blagojevich campaign officials say they are "very pleased that the FOP offered it's endorsement" and that it proves the governor's law enforcement initiatives and positions are working.

You can see the ABC7 report by clicking on the video icon above.  You will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to view this video. You can get it FREE by clicking here. NOTE: Video clips will only be available for 5-days from the date they were created. ALSO: Video clips will play in a separate window on Mac OS X machines, you may also see a video help screen.

You can see the ABC7 report by clicking on the video icon above.  You will need Windows Media Player 9 or higher to view this video. You can get it FREE by clicking here. NOTE: Video clips will only be available for 5-days from the date they were created. ALSO: Video clips will play in a separate window on Mac OS X machines, you may also see a video help screen.

(Copyright ©2014 WLS-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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