(This article was updated Sept. 1)
The state’s three biggest law enforcement organizations have endorsed Gov. Pat McCrory.
On Aug. 14, the Carolina Troopers Association endorsed him. On Aug. 25, the Police Benevolent Association interview the governor and his Democratic opponent, Roy Cooper, then back McCrory. “Both candidates screened well,” said the group’s executive director, John Midgette. “The problem is track record and the fact that the governor gave the best answers in inclusiveness, bringing all stake holders to the table.”
And on Aug. 23, after hearing from both gubernatorial candidates, the North Carolina Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) chose to endorse McCrory, who is vying for his second term.
The order asked questions of both candidates at its biennial convention in Asheville before voting to give McCrory its endorsement, over Cooper, who serves as the current attorney general, the highest-ranked law enforcement official in the state.
The delegates attending listened to both candidates, asking questions before making their endorsement.
“We are proud to give Pat McCrory our strongest endorsement for a second term as governor of North Carolina because he has been a true friend to the entire law enforcement community during his first term, and we know he will continue to lead on law enforcement issues in his second,” Randy Hagler, president of the FOP, said. “Whether it is establishing the Blue Alert System to find cop killers, ensuring the children of fallen officers can go to college free of charge, or pushing for more resources to end backlogs at the State Crime Lab, Governor McCrory has shown he is fighting for law enforcement every day.”
The order is made up of more than 6,000 law enforcement officers throughout the state of North Carolina.
McCrory accepted the endorsement, saying, “I want the law enforcement community in the state to know that North Carolina supports you and I support you. This endorsement comes with a heavy burden of responsibility that I do not take for granted. I am honored to have the support of the brave men and women of the Fraternal Order of Police, and will continue to fight for the law enforcement community each and every day.”
In addition to not giving Cooper their endorsement, some delegates of the order walked out on Cooper as he answered questions about the jury trial of Charlotte-Mecklenburg police officer Randall Kerrick, who was charged in the shooting death of Jonathan Ferrell in 2013.
The trial ended in a hung jury and Kerrick was not retried. Cooper has been criticized for his handling of the case.
“That fact that law enforcement officers walked out on Roy Cooper and endorsed Pat McCrory for governor is a major indictment of Cooper’s 16-year record as the state’s top cop and chief law enforcement officer, which has been weak, ineffective and sparse of real accomplishment,” NCGOP Executive Director Dallas Woodhouse said. “This walkout shows larger unrest for Roy Cooper among the law enforcement community across the state, which has been unhappy with his handling of scandals at the State Bureau of Investigation, failure to fix persistent backlogs at the state crime lab, and his refusal to do his job to defend the law even if he personally disagrees with it.”