As a resident and voter in Southampton Village, I received a letter dated September 2 from Michael Horstman, president of the Southampton Village Police Benevolent Association, stating that the PBA was endorsing Zach Epley for Southampton Village trustee. Mr. Horstman went on to write that the PBA, which has been in existence since 1957, had never endorsed anyone for an elected position.
There is a good reason for that, and in my opinion it was a huge mistake for the organization to do so.
As a former military officer, I believe that anyone associated with or employed by any local, state or federal government should not publicly support any political party or candidate. We were sworn to support and protect every citizen and the Constitution, and therefore need to be divorced from politics in any public expression.
I am proud of our terrific Village Police Department led by Chief Thomas Cummings. All members of the department whom I have been in contact with over the years have been well-trained and dedicated public servants, and very nice people as well.
I realize that the PBA’s mission is to support its members and the community, and I believe that, like Mr. Epley, Mr. Horstman is a fine person with the best interests of the village in his heart. But I believe that his leading the organization to endorse any political candidate regardless of his personal concerns or how valid they may be compromises the integrity of the PBA.
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