Message From Law Enforcement Officer
The following message was written and sent by Carole Ralph, Special Agent Supervisor in the PA Office of State Inspector General and member of AFSCME Local 2244. Members of the Local brought the email to Council 13’s attention, and the union reached out to Carole to verify and discuss the content of the message. She gave her consent to share it with all employees affected by the raid of the Inspection, Investigation, and Safety (II&S) Bargaining Unit. Please take a moment to read:
APOLOGY TO CURRENT AND EX-LAW ENFORCEMENT PERSONNEL FOR MY PART IN THE DECERTIFICATION FROM AFSCME
Good afternoon all,
My name is Carole Ralph from Southeast Region.
This email is in reference to the AFSCME decertification but first I want to thank those persons in Southeast Region as well as every other Region within OSIG for their kindness and helping hand along the way. I sincerely appreciate your support and help in the past and my door is always open to you. I know this is a lengthy email but please take the time to read it.
I was one of the original employees who participated in the initial meeting with the State FOP. The decert meeing comprised of OSIG and Probation and Parole Agents. I was the one who arranged for OSIG personnel to participate in the meeting and be present at the State FOP in Harrisburg. I was also on the state wide committee for reclassification purposes. My intentions were of the utmost. I wanted to see people in law enforcement represented by a law enforcement organization.
I am not one of the listed moderators involved in this decertification but I worked/participated behind the scenes. I was on the zoom call over 2 years ago when the administrator and moderators voted each other in as “leaders” of this decert group. I just want to make it clear that I am not an AFSCME fan but I do believe that law enforcement personnel should be represented by an organization they can call their own. I do believe that OSIG and Probation and Parole should be represented by the FOP. I DO NOT believe that persons outside the law enforcement community should be represented by the Fraternal Order of Police. I believe that the sanctity of the FOP should be preserved and only members from the law enforcement community should be allowed membership.
I mean no disrespect to non-law enforcement personnel. I have a great deal of respect for all the G4/G5 units of personnel that are NOT in the law enforcement community and have been tricked by the decert group in believing this is about their welfare. It’s not their fault for being chosen and being dragged into this mess. Their vote is needed in order to decertify. They were never considered to be part of this decert from the beginning. It wasn’t until the decert group realized they needed their vote to decertify that they were exploited and recruited to come along. Please, do not confuse what I am saying and think I am trying to belittle non-law enforcement because I am not. I’m not trying to diminish who they are, what they stand for, or what they do for a living. What I am trying to emphasize is that the FOP was designed for law-enforcement personnel ONLY. Non-law enforcement personnel from the G4/G5 units are being exploited in order to accomplish a defeat against AFSCME. FOP is either active or retired law enforcement, no exceptions. Myself and other members of the FOP are disturbed and annoyed knowing this decert group wants to recruit non-law enforcement persons into a law enforcement organization in order to obtain votes to decertify from AFSCME. Doesn’t anyone from this decert group have a conscience? Don’t drag non-law enforcement individuals into your bitter battle. Do it yourself. Don’t dangle and use the FOP to launch your personal vendetta against AFSCME. The FOP is designed for LAW ENFORCEMENT ONLY. Not for your personal gain. All I’m asking is that non-law enforcement personnel respect the men/women who are members of the law enforcement community. The only reason non-law enforcement personnel from the G4/G5 units are being asked to join is their vote is needed. You wouldn’t ask a carpenter to become a member of plumbers union.
Being a part of an FOP is a bond that represents the core of law enforcement. Its a brotherhood/sisterhood that should be respected. This is why I feel so strongly about who this decert group is recruiting for membership into an FOP. I never meant disrespect or diminishment to anyone’s law enforcement career. I too feel betrayed and do not want someone of a non-law enforcement unit into an FOP. I was a fool and stupid for not paying closer attention to what was going on when the decert group decided to bring non-law enforcement into the mix for votes/numbers. I trusted the wrong people. I accept full responsibility for my actions.
I want to apologize to each and every Agent in OSIG as well as every former and active law enforcement Officer/Agent throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. This decert has now risen to G4/G5 units outside the law enforcement community. Non-law enforcement personnel are being used for one reason. They need the vote in order to break away from AFSCME. The FOP has always been exclusive and consisted of law enforcement personnel. The name alone is self-explanatory —- FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE. An FOP Lodge was always a sacred place for law enforcement Officers/Agents to congregate. Its a place where you can be around your brothers and sisters and not be judged. By allowing non-law enforcement personnel into an FOP has shown disrespect to every current and former law enforcement individual. This decert group has shattered the true meaning of the FOP.
As I put this email together I have a heavy heart. Its been a long time since I felt so disgusted with myself. It wasn’t until I attended the webinar on 09/27 and spoke to one of the moderators the following night that I realized that this decert is not about the good of G4/G5 law enforcement personnel. This is-nothing but a bitter “I’ll show you” to AFSCME. A bitter disparagement toward AFSCME by a few people that were made fools out of. I was going to let it go but I began thinking about my friends killed in the line of duty and how this decert group is showing disrespect to their memory and every active/retired law enforcement Officer/Agent that is represented by the FOP. The decert group only cares about getting away from AFSCME and will take any measures to rub AFSCME’s face in this move. They will use anyone of a non-law enforcement unit to accomplish the feat. Over the past months when this group decided to recruit non-law enforcement personnel I was not privy to any decertification information. I was left out of the loop and kept in the dark about what was occurring. That’s my fault. I was foolish and didn’t ask questions. I trusted the wrong people.
I’m happy to find myself “pushed” out of any participation with this decert process. After speaking to friends and close members of the FOP I was reminded that this decert group has no respect for the FOP and what it represents. To want to destroy the only organization exclusive to law enforcement is shameful and low. To exploit in the attempt of securing a decert vote from individuals from non-law enforcement is disgraceful. The only reason individuals from non-law enforcement agencies are needed is for the·sole purpose of a vote so an “I’ll show you” to AFSCME can be flaunted. I finally had a chance to wake up and realize how desperate people are to get what they want.
I came into law enforcement at a very young age. I sustained many injuries protecting people I didn’t know and I attended far too many funerals of fallen Officers killed in the line of duty. I’m extremely proud to say I am a retired law enforcement officer and member of the FOP, Lodge 5. The FOP is exactly what those initials represent — FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE. I apologize to all current and former law enforcement Officers/Agents for forgetting this. I apology for not being more observant around a few untrusting people that would stoop so low to recruit non-law enforcement personnel into a law enforcement organization for personal gain.
The FOP represents law enforcement personnel who are living and deceased. By recruiting non-law enforcement personnel into this organization the decert group is belittling each and every member of retired and active law enforcement personnel. Instead of standing up and being a man or woman and just leaving they want to manipulate and exploit innocent people into believing they have their welfare at heart. They need their vote, thats it. Leave law enforcement alone. Let them have a place to call their own. This decert group does not know the true meaning of membership into an FOP. If they did, they would not try to diminish what the FOP represents. If this decert goes through I can only imagine the door that opens for others of a non-law enforcement category to want entry into an FOP.
I have read the comments on Facebook by the decert group and others. This whole decert has now become a smear campaign. This group should stop mocking AFSCME and take a good long hard look in the mirror at what they are doing. There’s alot more involved in becoming an FOP member besides standing there with your hand out. First you must learn what the word “solidarity” means before you go further. You must learn participation in what occurs within the organization. I can’t for the life of me understand why anyone wants to be in an organization if you don’t understand what it stands for. Its not about “whats in it for me”.
If this email reaches others than OSIG personnel I’m sure to receive feedback from the administrator, moderators, and participants of this decert but I don’t give a damn at this point. I’m sure they will scramble to do damage control. I admit my wrong doing. I am annonyed with myself but more importantly I’m annoyed at them for the way they exploit people and have them believe they are looking out for their welfare. The decert group only cares about sticking the decertification up the ass of AFSCME. So feel free to trash me for telling the truth. I’m too tired and disgusted to feed into this nonsense.
Again, I am so sorry for what I have participated in and done. I sincerely apologize to every G4/G5 non-law enforcement individuals for the exploitation you have sustained. I also apologize to every current and ex-law enforcement Officers/Agents for my participation in this mess. I’m heartbroken at how the PA State FOP President, administrator, moderators of this group intend to use the FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE and take advantage of what this organization symbolizes.
If I missed anyone, please pass this apology along to them.
Thank you all for listening to my rant but this is something that had to be said.
Carole A Ralph