Home>Campaigns>Key police union backs Gottheimer, praises his advocacy of law enforcement

Rep. Josh Gottheimer with New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association President Wayne Blanchard and Thomas Mungeer, the National Troopers Coalition Chairman, and other law enforcement officials in Wyckoff on January 21, 2022. (Photo: Gottheimer for Congress).

Key police union backs Gottheimer, praises his advocacy of law enforcement

N.J. congressman smacks Supreme Court for releasing cop killer

By David Wildstein, June 21 2022 5:02 pm

The New Jersey State Troopers Fraternal Association has endorsed Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-Wyckoff) in New Jersey’s 5th district, giving the Democratic congressman his first law enforcement endorsement for his re-election campaign.

Wayne Blanchard, the union president, praised Gottheimer as a “tireless, bipartisan advocate for law enforcement.”

“Whether it’s his bipartisan Invest to Protect Act, COPS grants, funding for bulletproof vests, or supporting the Thin Blue Line Act, Congressman Gottheimer’s leadership has been invaluable to our members, our families and the work we do to protect Jersey communities,” Blanchard said.

This is Gottheimer’s third endorsement from the state troopers union.  The New Jersey State Police serve as the primary police force for 21 municipalities in Gottheimer’s district.

In recent years, Democrats have struggled with their relationships with law enforcement unions after the murder of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer in 2020 led to call to defund the police.

The New Jersey State Policemen’s Benevolent Association (PBA) endorsed Donald Trump for re-election and backed Republican challengers against Democratic House members in the 3rd, 7th and 11th districts.

But some Democrats who had been law enforcement supporters, like Gottheimer, were able to convince the PBA to stay out of the race entirely.  That stopped his then opponent, Frank Pallotta, from touting police union endorsements the way Republicans David Richter, Tom Kean, Jr., and Rosemary Becchi did in their campaigns two years ago.

Pallotta won the Republican primary earlier this month and is mounting a rematch against Gottheimer.

In 2021, the state PBA and the New Jersey Fraternal Order of Police stayed out of the gubernatorial race.  Both unions had endorsed Gov. Phil Murphy in 2017, but had been critical of Murphy’s support of legislation that restricts police officers from arresting minors for marijuana possession – and for subjecting them to possible civil rights violations if they do.

The State Troopers union and the Port Authority Police PBA endorsed Murph last year.

“The brave men and women of law enforcement selflessly put their lives on the line every day to protect our families and take on the toughest, most urgent challenges facing our communities,” Gottheimer stated. “Every day, our law enforcement and first responders have our backs.”

Standing with Blanchard and other leaders of the state troopers union, Gottheimer slammed the New Jersey Supreme Court for releasing Sundiata Acoli, a Black panther who assassinated a New Jersey State Trooper, last month.

Acoli was an accomplice of Joanne Chesimard, now known as Assata Shakur, who escaped from prison in 1979 and now lives in Cuba.

“I’ve been proud to stand with the State Troopers in fighting for the return of a fugitive cop killer who killed one of our own State Troopers – one of New Jersey’s finest – nearly fifty years ago, back in 1973,” Gottheimer said.  “I also think it’s patently outrageous that another individual who was convicted in that senseless murder was recently released from prison.”

Gottheimer reiterated support of  “tougher penalties for cop killers.”

“Anyone who murders a police officer in cold blood should face the strongest and harshest possible consequences – and should never walk the streets again,” he said.

The National Troopers Coalition, which represents state troopers in 43 states, also announced their support of Gottheimer.

“Gottheimer has demonstrated he will not waiver on his support of first responders, especially our troopers, to get social media likes or appease partisan politics,” the organization said in a statement.

The Bergen County congressman is the sponsor of the Invest to Protect Act, which seeks targeted investments in local police departments.   Gottheimer’s bill has bipartisan support and is sponsored in the U.S. Senate by Iowa Republican Chuck Grassley.

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