Pittsburgh Police Union Concerned Over Police Decals

The president of the Pittsburgh Fraternal Order of Police said on Friday that he has concerns about decals being placed on the side of police vehicles that represent or show support for a variety of causes.

Pittsburgh police chiefs and command staff decided to place decals on vehicles a month ago “as a way to acknowledge special occasions for the department and communities we serve,” public safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said in an email. The events include Police Memorial Week, Pittsburgh Pride, Black History Month and six other occasions throughout the year.

Officer Robert Swartzwelder, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge No. 1, said police should not advertise for any cause and opined that the city is going down a “slippery slope” that could lead to legal action. He said he was concerned that a radical group could ask to have its logo placed on police vehicles, and take the city to court if it refuses.

The issue rose when the FOP was sent a photo of the decal currently on about 30 police vehicles. The decal features a Pittsburgh police badge over a rainbow logo that states: Supports Pride 2017. The decal recognizes Pittsburgh Pride week, which begins this weekend.

The FOP claims this is the first they had herd about the decal program and their concern is that what happens when a group like the KKK asks to have their decal on cars.

Swartzwelder said his complaint had nothing to do with the fact that this week’s logo supports LGBT pride but is concerned with what could happen if police are asked to “pick and choose” what causes to support.

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