Last month, it was the president of the Beverly Police Benevolent Association apologizing for "the unprofessional conduct of our fundraising company."This week, it was Danvers police Chief warning residents of that town about solicitors for a union-sponsored charity event "representing themselves as a police officers."It's time public-safety unions call a halt to fundraising activities that do far more to tarnish their profession than benefit the community.Anyone who's glanced at the lists of top city and town wage earners will scoff at the idea that police officers, an increasing number of whose compensation runs to six figures, need help affording dress uniforms — which is ostensibly one of the purposes of the Danvers police union's comedy night fundraiser planned for March.While it may not have been the case in the past, today's police officers and firefighters are well-compensated and enjoy benefits that are virtually unheard of in the private sector. Besides, according to figures compiled by the attorney general's office, well over half of the money raised goes not to the sponsoring organization or its members, but to the company making the calls.
We agree with Danvers Police Benevolent Association Vice President Eric Clarizia that "it would be ethically and morally wrong" for uniformed officers to solicit donations from the people they are paid to serve. But anyone who's been on the receiving end of a call from All Pro Productions or one of the other professional fundraisers the unions employ has heard the spiel: Won't you help your public-safety professionals out by making a donation?The process smacks of high pressure and intimidation and ought to be halted.Yes, those unions may have to curb some of their charitable activities. But we're certain most will understand and appreciate not being bothered by those pesky solicitors.