President's Message

The upcoming FOP3 election is currently dominating everyone's attention. As you can see from the next page, after considerable thought and with our sole focus on what is best for our membership, the Board endorsed candidates for various FOP3 positions.

We would never tell you who to vote for, nor are we bad-mouthing any candidate not endorsed by the BRPBA.  We are merely making suggestions and in light of the current hostility associated with this election, we owe it to our members to explain those suggestions. No matter your views on the subject, I hope that we can treat each other with respect, even when we reach different conclusions.

In these challenging times, with police under siege and our pension suit worrisome, it’s important to maintain a smooth transition in this election.  Gene Ryan, FOP3 president for the last four extremely difficult years, has led our fight.

In fighting for us, Gene stopped an effort by the president of another organization to reach a separate settlement of the pension dispute. Success would have benefitted his people and hurt ours. Gene never bragged about stopping the guy. He just took care of the problem — and all of us. He fixed it because he knew all the players. Now, with the pension litigation once again at a critical stage, we desperately need someone whom everyone knows. That someone is Gene.

Gene also recognizes his obligation, which he sees as part of the FOP's mission, to advance the interests of retirees. A few of those who seek to unseat Gene have shown hostility toward retirees. Some of them even expressed it at an FOP3 meeting on June 25, 2018, going so far as to reject FOP election committee nominees just because they were retired. Gene believes retirees should have a voice while some of his opponents want us all to have laryngitis.

Hostility toward law enforcement people, active and retired, has become part of society these days. Maryland has seen incessant legislative attempts to dilute the LEOBR. Gene and Lisa Riha, together with Don Helms and Dan Fickus, all of whom know and have access to everyone in Annapolis, have fought tirelessly and successfully against those efforts. Legislators tend to disregard people whom they do not know. Were that to happen in our case, law enforcement would suffer. Inevitably, retirees and our pensions would suffer, as would our families.

Gene's compassion and tireless efforts on behalf of the Baltimore 6 also impressed us immensely. Through it all Gene stood tall, fighting for the 6, for all of us. He endured all manner of insults. Lesser people, at the end of Gene's term, would simply walk away, would simply reject the stress associated with taking care of active — and retired — Officers. Under the circumstances, who could blame them? Under these circumstances, how could we ever reject Gene, who is willing to continue the fight?

Even now he continues to battle. Several years ago, a police officer was justifiably cleared of departmental charges in a tasing incident. Recently, the Baltimore City State' s Attorney reopened the case and charged the officer with a felony. Suspended with no pay and destitute, he faced losing everything. Gene stepped in. The officer got help: funds to pay attorney's fees and bills.

It turned out to be an extraordinary stroke of good fortune when Gene was first elected as FOP3 President. He fought the city on the pension. He pushed for an immense pay raise. His efforts achieved collective bargaining binding arbitration. He battled to correct issues relating to drafting policy, shift strength and leave difficulties — all while continuing to advance BRPBA interests.

He deserves the opportunity to finish what he started. He deserves our endorsement. He earned it.

On other matters:

On June 19, 2018, we honored Active Sergeant Keith McNeill who was shot repeatedly on March 14, 2014. His brave fight through surgeries and rehabilitation, which continues to this day, to return to work at some point inspired all of us. We presented him with a plaque at a ceremony his family attended, as you can see from the pictures. His gracious presence and courage inspired, humbled and honored all of us. We have no doubt that he will continue the good fight.

Last May, the BRPBA board voted to donate $500 to Mayor Pugh' s reelection campaign. There were several members who opposed this and let their displeasure be known; however, the Board thought on this long and hard and came to the conclusion that adopting a calming and cooperative, as opposed to a confrontational approach would be better as we continue to negotiate a resolution of the ongoing pension issue.

I trust everyone had a safe summer. Our raffle tickets will be mailed shortly. I look forward to seeing everyone at our September 18 meeting where we will be promoting members' books and businesses.