The official response to attacks on CLEAT from Todd Harrison

By Todd Harrison
CLEAT President
toddSince it seems to be a new trend, let me give you all my official statement in response to the attacks on the Combined Law Enforcement Associations of Texas.  These attacks came after CLEAT pointed out our disagreement with other groups regarding body camera legislation.

Contrary to what some uninformed people would like to claim, I and the elected Executive Board set the long term goals and strategies of CLEAT.
On Oct. 1,  I will celebrate 30 years working as a cop in the great state of Texas.
I have watched some people who aren’t part of CLEAT spout supposed facts and outright lies for several months and think it’s now time to set the record straight.  I am going to address some of the quotes from these folks.

From Frederick Frazier, Dallas Police Association
I’ll give you some history on CLEAT and how they have gotten where they are today. They are failing within their own organization due to the decisions of their leadership. The new ED is not a police officer nor has he ever been one. The DPA was once a member of CLEAT, but we are no longer affiliated with them and it’s for the best.”
 CLEAT has over 19,500 full dues paying members and 100 local affiliated associations.  We have the most members that we’ve ever had. If that’s failing please give me some more. It is correct that our Executive Director is not, nor has he ever been a police officer.  However, he was selected and hired after a national search and an in-depth interview process that included a wide range of candidates including current and retired peace officers.
Who, you may ask, hired him? The CLEAT Executive Board, composed of peace officers from across all regions of Texas.  Our board consists of police officers and deputies from both large and small cities and counties who were elected by our membership.

CLEAT employs a large staff with many talents and experience.  Some are former cops and others are not.  The executive director was hired to lead our organization, at the direction of the Executive Board.
We try to hire the best people available to represent our members.  Charley Wilkison is one of those people.
There was a time when the DPA and HPOU were affiliated with CLEAT for legislative purposes and were paying reduced dues.  The CLEAT Executive Board made a decision, that if you want to be a member of CLEAT, then you need to pay the same dues as everyone else.  So the board voted them out.
I was approached by the leadership of DPA 4 years ago asking to come back in under a reduced-dues arrangement and the Executive Board once again said no.  So, these groups are no longer affiliated with us, by our choice.
From Frederick Frazier, Dallas Police Association
“We have many issues in law enforcement today, but pitting ourselves against each other is not good business. For many years, I’ve watched this happen in our city, making us our own worst enemy 
We do, however, ask them to join us on certain issues and endorsements, but they choose to complicate things due to their vindictive leader who has never been an officer and makes around $200k a year. The biggest issue was in OUR DA race. We asked the Mesquite Police Association to join us in the endorsement along with DSO, Irving, Richardson, Garland, GP, FOP, and TMPA. Our PAC lined up a meeting with Hawk and Mesquite’s board. The meeting went well. They loved her. 
Mesquite President Don Williams said to me, “my Board loves her and we will get this done.” Then radio silence.  I called and emailed numerous times. Come to find out they were told not to endorse Hawk by their leader in Austin who’s not even a police officer. Why? Because TMPA endorsed Susan Hawk. Unbelievable!!!”
CLEAT has a longstanding tradition of allowing our local associations the autonomy to endorse who they want.  If the locals want to discuss endorsements with us, we are happy to give our best advice. But in this case, Mesquite President Don Williams never called CLEAT about the DA’s race in Dallas. He never asked the PAC, the Executive Director, or me. We wouldn’t have cared who they endorsed in a local, county race. Don was protecting a local officer whose career was saved because the MPA didn’t push the envelope politically in that local race. The MPA did what real unions are supposed to do.

From Frederick Frazier, Dallas Police Association
There was a more recent incident that occurred in Austin this past week on body cameras. Below is a written statement from Houston Police Officer Mark Clark, a 35-plus year veteran with HPD, and our consultant who teams up with James Parnell and myself while in Austin. We have had a standing meeting every Monday at the state capitol that was started last session. Our last meeting had over thirty folks from Harris County, San Antonio, DPS, Travis County and so on. We also created TLEC  that’s free and has over 33,000 law enforcement members. It’s a tool we use to unite us and work together on issues that affect law enforcement. CLEAT has never shown up and refuses to participate. They even went so far as to release an article last November advising members not to attend these meetings. This is unbelievable and it all stems from a guy who has never been an officer and makes around $200k a year.
 
 I’m not going to jump in the middle of the he-said, she-said drama of who said what or didn’t say what in the body camera meeting last week in the Capitol.  What I will say is that Chris Jones was at that meeting representing our members.  Chris Jones is a longtime member of the CLEAT legislative team which is currently ranked by an independent party as the 3rd most influential public sector lobby team in Texas.
We have been closely monitoring the body camera issue and have had a representative at all the meetings discussing the issue. We are not against body cameras and believe they can be a powerful tool for clearing officers falsely accused of wrong doing. But we are concerned about what information can and cannot be released in an open record request.  We have and will continue to fight to protect officers.
It was me who wrote the article opposing TLEC last November, not our Executive Director. Look, I know Charley and I are both short, round and old. But remember I’m the good looking one and I am an officer and I was speaking for our organization with the full knowledge and support of our Executive Board.
Regarding TLEC, we have never been a member and have no plans to ever become a member.  We are a statewide coalition called CLEAT which employs the 3rd most influential public sector lobby team in the state.
The title of my “statement” is the Last Word and this will be that on this issue.  You’ll notice I haven’t personally attacked anyone or tried to disparage anyone’s career. That's different from what the other guys did.
I am proud of both Chris Jones and Charley Wilkison, they have devoted large portions of their lives fighting for Texas police. To personally attack them is small and sad.  There are other organizations that we don’t always agree with and when we don’t we will not work with them. There will also be times when we do agree and then we will work toward the same goals for the good of all Texas police officers. We get to decide.
Let me close by saying CLEAT was formed by officers from across the state who didn’t feel they were being served by their statewide organization.  They wanted legal representation and they got it.  Our staff attorneys work for our members and only our members. They are experts in their field because they only work for our members.
Our regional attorneys are chosen by our locals who decide who they want to use to represent them. Our lobby team works for our members and they aren’t paid by any outside entities or have any conflicts of interest. They work for the good of all Texas Peace Officers. Our Training division offers training that our members ask for and is paid for by our members not by state grants.
CLEAT has more members, money and employees than ever and under the leadership of our elected Executive Board will continue our upward trajectory.

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