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Largest Police Group in U.S. to Endorse Clinton Reelection

September 16, 1996| From Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The nation's largest police organization will endorse President Clinton, giving the Democrat a fresh crime-fighting trophy just as rival Bob Dole launches an offensive on the issues of violence and drugs, officials said Sunday.

The 270,000-member national Fraternal Order of Police will announce its support today in Cincinnati, union and administration officials said.

"Rank-and-file police officers have never had a better friend in the White House than Bill Clinton," national FOP President Gil Gallegos said in a statement released before the announcement.

The FOP's endorsement committee met Friday in Houston and voted 19-10 in favor of Clinton, with 10 members not voting.

Over the past month, Clinton got the backing of two smaller police unions, the International Union of Police Assns. and the 185,000-member National Assn. of Police Organizations.

News of the latest endorsement came as Clinton dashed into Iowa to open a three-day Midwest campaign swing.

In barely four hours in the state, the president pumped hands and posed for pictures at a $500-a-couple meeting with contributors at River Oak Farm. Then he stopped by the 19th annual steak fry thrown by Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin. The picnic cost $15 a person, and Harkin said 12,000 people showed up. Afterward, Clinton met privately with big-money donors, people who contributed $5,000 to $25,000.

As Clinton surrounds himself with police officers today, Dole is heading to Pennsylvania to pledge to use the bully pulpit of the presidency to cut teenage drug use in half in his first term.

The GOP nominee is scheduled to appear with more than a dozen Republican governors to pledge better coordination of state and federal crime-fighting resources. At that event, aides said, Dole will add several new proposals to a previously announced anti-crime agenda. Among them:

* Doubling federal funding for prison construction to at least $810 million.

* Requiring inmates to work at least 40 hours a week to pay the cost of their incarceration and for any restitution to victims.

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