The Louisville Fraternal Order of Police has endorsed Republican mayoral candidate and Metro Councilman Hal Heiner, R-19, in the GOP primary. The police union represents over 2,000 sworn and retired officers and is considered a critical nod for the candidates. And with less than a month to go before the primary election this is an added boost for Heiner, who leads in the recent mayoral.
“I am humbled and honored to receive what I view as the most important endorsement in this mayoral race,” Heiner said in a press release. “These officers operate on the front lines and put their lives in danger to keep us all safe, for that I am grateful. I look forward to working alongside Metro Police to pursue even higher goals for safety in our community within a close relationship of respect between the Mayor’s office and our officers.”
The FOP endorsement for the east Louisville Republican isn’t a surprising one to political observers considering his political maneuvers earlier this year.
In January, Heiner introduced a resolution before the council calling on Metro government to suspend its appeal in a court case against police officers over the take home car program. The measure was implemented by Mayor Jerry Abramson to help fill up the $20 million budget shortfall in 2008, but the FOP challenged the decision, arguing that it violated their union contract because it was made without negotiations.
Last year, the Kentucky Labor Department ruled in favor of the police union, saying the city could not charge officers to take home cars. Since then the police union has asked to be paid back by the city, but the administration has said the case is not over as the city appeals in court. Although there was a slight sign of resistance initially, Heiner’s resolution eventually passed the council and called on the mayor to give up the fight and immediately begin negotiations with police union representatives. However, the resolution was merely a suggestive gesture and one Abramson has since ignored.
“Councilman Heiner is a veteran public servant with the experience and qualifications necessary to effectively lead and manage our city,” FOP President Sgt. Dave Mutchler said in a statement. “He is dedicated to addressing the issues facing our community and those issues important to the members of the River City FOP, who are charged with protecting our great citizens.”