Keeping the fight alive for protecting the private information of ALL peace officers in Texas
Thirty five years ago, CLEAT fought a big political battle to secure Texas Peace Officers’ personal and private information. We wanted your data shielded from the criminals you pursue, apprehend and bring to justice.
And as a result of that fight, it is now illegal for a political subdivision, law enforcement agency or governmental entity to release the home address or personal information of any Texas law enforcement personnel. In our view, the law should be strengthened, not challenged.
Over the past 20 years that I’ve been at CLEAT, we have witnessed several nefarious attempts to weaken that law. We’ve beaten back every attack and won.
In fact, for the past several years we’ve attempted to further strengthen the law by proposing that your information be redacted from county Tax Assessor/Collector rolls. That battle continues.
But the latest attack on your privacy leaves us scratching our head.
A few days ago the Arlington Municipal Police Officers Association, an affiliate of TMPA, filed suit in a Tarrant County District Court demanding that the City of Arlington release home addresses of all Arlington police officers to a private business, the American Arbitrators Association. This was done in an effort to hold an internal, police department election in hopes of making the Arlington Police Officers Association the official collective bargaining agent.
In other words, this move to force the city to give up police officers’ home addresses and private information was done solely to attempt to beat the local union, the Arlington Police Association, out of its position as the current collective bargaining agent. It’s simply hard to believe.
In all of our history, CLEAT has never ever filed a suit to obtain the private addresses of law enforcement officers or ever sought to put one officer’s family at risk for political gain. We believe this shameful behavior goes against the core values of any real law enforcement union.
We’ve always supported every civil service election, every pay referendum and every collective bargaining election—regardless of union affiliation. We’ve always believed the greater good of the individual officer weighed heavier than what union he or she was affiliated with.
It’s behavior like this lawsuit that explains why the CLEAT Executive Board broke off merger talks with TMPA in 2010. Yes, there are a few things that are still sacred in law enforcement and an officer’s private information and his/her family’s residence is still one of them. Your privacy and your family’s security come first, no matter which union card you carry in your wallet.
Rest assured, CLEAT will do whatever is legally necessary to protect ALL of the fine officers in Arlington and anywhere else they might be put at risk. We care about their privacy and their family’s security more than we do about who sits at the bargaining table with the city.
And we will fight TMPA or any other organization that attempts to strip away your right to privacy that could put the security of you and your family at risk. You have my word.