Officer Endorsements Shed Light on Sheriff Candidates, and Unions
This article was originally posted on Newspapertree.com on March 28, by David Crowder
The endorsements of a coalition of law officers, and of a breakaway group, reflect on union concerns over bargaining, discipline, and who really represents officers’ interest over playing the game of politics.
Richard Wiles may be the El Paso police chief whose recent four-year tenure never got messy, kept El Paso at the top of the safe-city list and led to the accreditation of the department, but a coalition of public safety unions endorsed his opponent and predecessor, Carlos Leon, for sheriff.
There has been a lot of speculation about the why the El Paso County Sheriff’s Officers Association, the Municipal Police Officers Association and the El Paso Firefighters’ Association chose Leon over Wiles.
Wiles thinks it may have been his tough discipline standards, and Leon doesn’t disagree.
But the union leaders say the unions’ collective and individual endorsements weren’t meant to tell voters whom the officers’ organizations think would make the best and most effective sheriff.
It was, they say, a decision about which candidate, Leon or Wiles, would be best for the labor unions themselves — and chiefly the members of the sheriff’s officers union.
And the biggest issue, the union leaders say, was probably the fact that Wiles sought the support of a break-away union established by sheriff’s deputies.
“Both are real, real qualified for the job,” Joe Marrufo, a sheriff’s department detention guard and the president of the officers’ association, said of Leon and Wiles. “What it boils down to, I think, was a labor issue.”