Carrboro Police Officers Association Endorsements

As municipal elections in the Town of Carrboro are approaching quickly, the Carrboro Police Officers Association is giving endorsements to candidates in the Mayoral and Alderman elections. We have met or communicated with all of the local candidates to find out their positions, goals, and agendas that they will bring with them when they fill their respective office. After a frank and open exchange of ideas, we were able to learn where the candidates stand on issues that affect not only police officers, but the entire Town of Carrboro.

The Carrboro Police Officers Associations endorsements include;

• Mayor Mark Chilton
• Board of Alderman Joal Hall Broun
• Board of Alderman Sharon Cook
• Board of Alderman Lydia Lavelle

Each of the above candidates we believe will bring the best balance, vision, and ideals for the Town of Carrboro. After we met with each candidate, a vote of the membership was taken to endorse or not endorse. This is the first time that Carrboro police officers have offered such political endorsements, but it will not be the last. We are going to continue taking an active role in the community which we are employed. The majority of Carrboro officers do not live in the city limits of Carrboro, so through the Carrboro Police Officers Association we are able to put a united voice in the quest for the best political candidates. In April of 2007, the Carrboro Police Officers Association voted to affiliate with Teamsters Local 391. The union is committed to improving working conditions for law enforcement throughout the state and the nation.

Jason L. Peloquin
Carrboro Police Officers Association

[Editor's note: It's not clear whether the Carrboro Police Officers Association would be considered "progressive" but the information seemed useful and may also spark additional conversation about who this organization is and what concerns their endorsement may address.]



Who is this organization? And what concerns does their endorsement address?

Thanks for posting this Jason. Like Eric, I'm very interested in hearing the issues our police think are important to consider in selecting the BOA.

Eric, I have the same questions. I would like to know who the members are and what the criteria was for their endorsements. What are the goals that they believe would be best advanced by these candidates?

Thank you all for your interest. Our membership includes officers of the department that have the rank of lieutenant and below. There are approximately 65% of the officers active with the Association as well as one retired. Our membership will increase over time and a part of what we are moving towards will incorporate civic work such as toys for tots, youth team sponsorships, and other outreach types of programs. We want the community to know us as people with families, friends, and hobbies like everyone else. We want the community, but more importantly the children to live in a place that is safe, healthy, and drug free because they are our tomorrow.
We had the opportunity to meet with all the candidates and each one had their own unique strengths and ideas. Some of the criteria we used in choosing candidates were their position on growth. We would like to see growth occur, but we want that growth to be smart growth. We do not want to grow just to grow. We believe there is too much burden on the residents to carry the taxes for the town and some strategic commercial development should help to alleviate this situation.
Other criterion was employee related such as health care insurance and the surging cost of premiums. Not only is this an issue for town employees, but also nationwide. This will not be an easy fix any time soon. We also looked at how receptive they were to unions. North Carolina is one of two states that does not allow for collective bargaining for its public employees. We feel we are behind in this respect because our fellow officers around the nation are able to do so.
I have to go for now, but I am happy to answer any more questions anyone has. We hope the community over time will get to know us more as we move forward in building relationships with the community in which we work and become more politically active.


Welcome to the perilous world of endorsing!

Every other organization that has endorsed politcal candidates in Carrboro has endorsed the same four people.

Your endorsements are different in that you endorsed Sharon Cook instead of Dan Coleman. Why, please, Sharon Cook? And why not Dan Coleman?

I would also want to know exactly who this group is before
I would offer an opinion about the value and accuracy of
their endorsements. Here are two reasons why:

Frequently I get telemarketing calls asking for donations
for organizations with the term "Chapel Hill Police'" in their
titles. Yet when I ask the caller "Who is the Chapel Hill police
chief", he/she doesn't know the answer. When that occurs,
I politely turn them down -- it's just a group trying to make a

In 1995, a group of local police and sheriff officers of
Orange and Alamance counties invited us candidates to
an interview in Hillsborough with their endorsement
depending on our responses. I made the point that
in Chapel Hill, they should endorse the incumbents
because the current council gave the police and fire
departments everything they asked for; public safety
was the number one priority. I thought it was the strongest
argument that should trump everything else, but I was
wrong. Their endorsements made no sense to me.
However they also carried little weight in the election.
Later I was told that this was a group whose primary
mission was to unionize the law-enforcement personnel
in the two counties.

I still don't understand these law-enforcement groups.
I wish they would clearly state who they are and what
their mission is.

Are people bothered that Coleman is not on their list. I guess it is a surprise when the other major endorsements venues have decided to look the other way and ignore his behavioral problems?


This reads like actual Carrboro cops make up the organization and made the endorsements. They certainly have a handle on local issues. Jason is vague on their info gathering process, however. "Met or communicated with all of the local candidates" doesn't describe it well enough.

I was initially happy to see such a show of spunk, if not force, on the part of our public safety officers. Town staff members normally stay quiet at election time. When they speak with candidates, they are required to notify the town manager in writing. The Carrboro Police Officers Association's affiliation with Teamesters appears to have changed the rules.

It seems that if they were looking at what might benefit workers, Dan would be an ideal candidate. In the 90's he was at the forefront of the effort to get the County to adopt a living wage ordinance.

Why should the Carrboro Police Association have a more open endorsement process than the Sierra Club, the Independent, etc? I'm happy to see them organizing and taking a role in town politics. Using endorsement criteria that put community safety in place of their own personal benefits says a lot.

Why should the Carrboro Police Association have a more open endorsement process than the Sierra Club, the Independent, etc?


It seems that if they were looking at what might benefit workers...

Perhaps the police like candidates who don't admit to hitting volunteers with their car and public officials who don't protest on private property. I don't recall anyone being trespassed, so it's not an issue for me, but it might be for a police officer. Just a thought.

Funny how this endorsement provoked such discussion when the quality of some of the others, notably the Indy's, hasn't been debated.

It appears this endorsement was formulated by 2/3 of the active rank-n-file who have a particular perspective on Carrboro's governance. From what we know, their process was as opaque as the Sierra Club's, which didn't raise a number of OP'rs hackles but it does seem broader based.

On Joe's point, two years ago I met with the Police union over in Durham (they couldn't do it in the OC). There was a rep from the union and two detectives from Durham's force. I had an excellent discussion with the detectives on gang issues - what I thought we should do to prepare our Town, how to be proactive - and night club safety. I believe they liked that I had done my homework and was ready to take these issues on.

On the other hand, the union rep wanted me to promise raises for the force. I told him that I wanted our pay to be competitive, that I thought we should provide more opportunities for professional advancement and eduction, and that I thought some of the force should be able to take their vehicles home. Didn't matter - he only wanted that promise - and since I wasn't going to commit, no dice on the endorsement.

That same year, Laurin Easthom wasn't even invited to talk to them.

These two factors made the quality of their endorsement questionable, at least to me, but who knows how it played to the public.

Um...I'd still like an answer to my question - if we have frightened Jason away. Frightening a Police Officer? Now, there's a thought! Maybe that's why their endorsements are different...

I was just about to write the same thing, Maria. I think it's very relevant to discuss the process and login behind all of the endorsements and this one's getting about the same treatment as the others have. The Indy endorsement thread has 79 comments right now.

There was, once upon a, a condition that had evolved in which town staff regularly came to Board members, personally, to discuss, and resolve conflicts within the organization. This placed the Manager and department heads in a difficult situation.

Upon the hiring of our new Manager, Steve Stewart, one of his conditions and tenets was that all personnell matters should run through channels, and that the Board should exercise forebearance in dealing with internecine issues. We agreed.

This, however, did not interfere with the tradition of department employees showing up en masse in public hearings at budget time to advocate for new equipment, salary and benefit requests. As a general rule,these requests have been negotiated and agreed to, by Steve. But, if department heads or anybody else. This is a good thing. And frankly, hearing directly from the folks who do the work makes for better decisions.

That members of our police department should organize and offer an opinion about who should be their ultimate boss, in the context of an election should be no surprise. And, despite conspiracy theories alluded to above, as a reasonable exertion of the force of organization of labor.

So, In sum, I think that political organization and advocacy on the part of Town staff is not just healthy, but necessary. And I applaud the PD for entering this foray.

Public Works--Your turn. Y'all rock.


There are 79 posts about the Indy endorsements and I swear half of them are about what they mean and how they're decided.
How is this not debating the Indy endorsements ?

Like a lot of threads on OP, comments don't always stay on topic. Same for the Indy endorsement post.

As Ruby suggests, process and logic is something that seemed missing from this year's Indy recommendation.

Hi Geoff,
You didn't frighten me away, well, not yet anyway. I have been working and have not had a chance to respond. I would be happy to share reasons why we have chosen to endorse a particular candidate, but I am not in favor of talking about why we didn't endorse a candidate. As we know there are only so many seats and we chose what we think will be the best candidates in our opinion. It is true that we are not endorsing the exact same as other organizations, but due to our proximity and experience with daily operations of the Carrboro local government this enabled us to offer an informed opinion.
This is the first time we have ventured into this political area as an association, but it will certainly not be our last. I did not expect to see such a large response. However, I think that is great that there is this much interest and hopefully more voters will turn up on Election Day than there has been in past. If our endorsement procedure appears to be opaque it is because there is a definite learning curve for us. We will be fine tuning everything we do and there will definitely be more of a transparency for the future. We are certainly open to and advice and welcome helpful critique because it makes all of us better in the long run.

Jason, that commitment to transparency is welcomed and hopefully will set a precedent for others to follow.

Thank you Mr. Peloquin for not talking about why you didn't endorse someone! Good luck to your organization.

Thats the problem with groups like the Indy who go beyond there endorsements to back hand the ones they don't like. True example of trashy journalism.


Ditto WillR. And good point, patrick. Ouch! But good for you! Look forward to more from your Association in the future, Jason.

I still don't support the idea of endorsements, and so I'll make my plug here. Don't expect your agreement, Jason. But I'll keep trying, particularly as you are the new boys on the block - if not on the beat.

In future, instead of endorsing, why not just use your good offices as an exercise in helping to educate the public?

Ask those questions which are pertinent to your organization's role in Carrboro, and then let the public make up their own minds from the answers provided? Think about it, maybe?

All the best in the meantime.

Hard to make anything positive from these endorsements. They are going to rubberstamp anything the current constitutionally challeged police chief needs to stay in office. Remember how they bungled the Andrew Dalzel case? I do.
Carrboro-where you can get away with murder.

Can you give me an example of the type of forum you are suggesting and whether or not it was effective? If there is something that the community would like to see more than just an endorsement I would present it to the Association for decision. I always like to pioneer new concepts or ideas. There is nothing more of a creative or motivational downer than the the words "Well, that's the way we've always done it." Imagine where we would be today if we followed this statement.



Thanks for the interaction.

In broad terms, the problem with most forums is that there are a lot of candidates, little time span (in which to keep itchy butts on seats), and what you end up with is a lot of prepared statements, and very little searching examination.

Much that is good is already taking place, but with seeming little design or co-ordination. Co-ordination happens to some extent already, but perhaps there could be more. Heck, there's a couple of years between elections!

For starters, what about thinking about the following:

1) Organizations that currently endorse and/or hold forums put their heads together.

2) Each organization try to keep its questions to its own specialization.

3) The organization send out a questionnaire, also explaining who they are, and what are their interests and ambitions, so that everything is open and transparent - and so that candidates can, if they wish, decide not to participate. That's their right.

4) Each organization publish (perhaps with the co-operation of the local media and local political blogs) the results of the questionnaires.

5) If they so choose, each organization, or sometimes acollection of organizations, then hold forums, which stick to topic, and, as much as possible, involve questions that build on responses to questionnaires, rather than re-run old answers or involve stage-managed performances.

This last ambition is not an easy one. Leaning on experienced questioners (local journalists/editors/broadcasters) and facilitators might be a good idea.

A further important feature of these forums would be, again with strict supervision by experienced facilitators, to encourage as much involvement by genuine ordinary members of the public, rather than 'placed' campaign mouth-pieces. Again, something that is not easy.

Much is already done, on political blogs in particular, to try to cover the existing forums, so that the rest of us, who may not be able to attend, can catch up later. Thanks I would say go especially to WiilR, Jason, Ruby, Brian and Mark Peters.

Perhaps with more forward co-ordination and planning, coverage could be a tad more systemized?

My final point is that I would certainly like to see some effort by a combination of local radio and television to conduct the sort of one-hour (say) interviews with candidates that "The ESP Show" did back in 2005 with the the BOCC Election.

These are some initial thoughts, Jason. Beyond these, I think I'd be over-imposing on OP's hospitality. However, I'd be happy to meet and chat further - with you, or anyone else about this. Drop me a line at

Thanks Geoff. Your insight is much appreciated. And thanks to OP for being hospitable and having us here.


My pleasure, Jason. I did have a further thought, which I think is worth sharing more generally.

There are individuals and institutions who have labored away trying to get as much information as possible about candidates to the public come election time. I have mentioned some names already. The problem, with no disrespect to them, the candidates or the local media, is that, to date, it has been a little haphazard.

It is really very simple these days to set up a free, one-off blog. If one extrapolates from my basic ideas above, it doesn't take a genius to see that one could set up something like (whatever), and have it be a communal collecting point for all the results of all of the questionnaires.

You could do something like, I don't know, ask the editors of the local newspapers to take turns acting as moderators each election cycle, to ensure that what is submitted is in keeping with certain principles (e.g. questions and answers aren't libellous or pornographic), and after that, any organization can undertake the exercise of sending candidates questionnaires, and having the results published on the blog.

In this way, the public would have one destination where they could find out as much about the candidates as the candidates would be willing to answer, and local organizations, such as yours, Jason, would be willing to ask. Without any interference from third parties who might be seen as less than rigidly objective.

Of course, this wouldn't stop the overtly political and aligned blogs and forums locally then playing merry hay on their own with whatever was posted. It's still a free society!


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