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FOP bosses want local to go it alone

By JOSEPH R. DAUGHEN
daughej@phillynews.com
Sept 7, 2005

The leadership of the Philadelphia Fraternal Order of Police has proposed
that the chapter sever its relationship with the national and state
organizations.

In a letter to the 14,600 active and retired members of FOP Lodge 5,
president Robert V. Eddis said local cops get "nothing" for the $400,000
they pay in annual per capita taxes to belong to the national and state FOP.

Eddis said the chapter pays $125,000 in such taxes to the state FOP and
$92,000 to the national, and about $200,000 to send members to the
national's annual convention.

"The benefits and services that you currently receive are in no way enhanced
through our affiliation with the state or national FOP lodges,"
Eddis said. "This is accomplished strictly through the efforts of the Philly
Lodge 5 board. You will lose nothing."

The Eddis letter said the proposal to disaffiliate, which must be approved
by the membership, had nothing to do with FOP vice president Kenneth R.
Rocks' losing a bid to be re-elected as a vice president of the national FOP
last month.

"I am hoping that every member understands that we did not come to this
recommendation overnight," Eddis said. "We also did not form this view
because one of our own members lost the national position that he held.
However, how he lost it showed us, once again, why we need to disenfranchise
ourselves from this organization."

In an interview, Eddis said the small-town interests that dominate the
national FOP had banded together to oust Rocks. The move against Rocks, he
said, resulted from the local FOP's attempts to strike alliances with
big-city organizations who face the same problems.

"We've been actively discussing this [disaffiliation] since March, long
before the national FOP election," said Eddis. "Some of the national people
resented the fact that we were talking to New York and other cities who
don't belong to the FOP."

Rocks said he had been defeated because he had run as an advocate of a
police union rather than as a champion of a socially oriented fraternal
organization.

The reaction to the recommendation on a Web site that publishes anonymous
messages from police officers was lopsidedly negative.

"All I see is that Kenny Rocks got pushed out of a national FOP position and
SUDDENLY the national FOP provides no value to members,"
said one posting.

National FOP executive director Jim Pasco disagreed with Eddis, saying his
group's actions have benefited Philadelphia cops. He said he hoped that
Philadelphia would decide against ending its 67-year relationship with the
national.

Among the positive results obtained by the national, Pasco said, was the
passage of legislation declaring that a police officer who dies within 24
hours of suffering a heart attack while working would be viewed as having
died in the line of duty. This would make the officer's family eligible to
receive more than $250,000 in federal cash bene-fits.

Eddis conceded that was true, and said that information had not been
contained in his letter because of an "oversight."

The state FOP, said Eddis, did nothing to fight the plan that will see State
Police assigned to patrol major highways in Philadelphia. This will take
work away from 60 Philadelphia cops, said Eddis.

State FOP president Mark Koch did not respond to a request for comment.