Salt Lake police officials are angry at tactics being used by another police organization to solicit funds in the Salt Lake area and say it reflects badly on them.
The officials are particularly concerned about a telephone call a downtown business owner recently received from a solicitor for the Utah Alliance of Police Officers. The caller allegedly hinted that if the business didn't donate, the store might not receive help from the police when it needs it.The caller said, "If you want boys to stop by on you" then you'd better donate, said Sgt. Mac Cannole, president of the Police Mutual Aid Association. The caller asked the business to place a check in its mailbox and said someone would be by to pick it up later, but the owner refused.
David Greer, president of the Salt Lake Police Association, said he is extremely angry about the questionable solicitation techniques. "That infuriated me, the implication that officers would know who contributed and who didn't," he said.
But Gordon Ottley, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, the parent organization of the Utah Alliance of Police Officers, said although his organization has contracted with a company to solicit donations, he doubts they have used such "strong-arm" tactics.
"That's absurd," he said when asked about the solicitation of the downtown business. "If that were to go on, there'd be somebody who wouldn't have a job."
Ottley said the solicitors are trying to raise money for a "widows and orphans fund." He said the funds are used for accidental death and dismemberment coverages, legal costs, seminars and other benefits.
But Greer and Cannole said the Salt Lake Police Department has received several other calls from citizens complaining about the organization's solicitations - including complaints from those who question the need to contribute to a "widows and orphans fund."
"There aren't very many widows and orphans of slain police officers in this state and those that are have resources available to them," Greer said.
Cannole said he has had problems with the UAPO for several years.