Police group turns back on ex-chief - East Valley Tribune: East Valley Local News

Police group turns back on ex-chief

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Posted: Tuesday, February 24, 2004 8:47 am | Updated: 5:51 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Elements in the Chandler Law Enforcement Association have never really go tten along with re tired Police Chief Bobby Joe Harris.

Now the dispute has apparently carried over into the Chandler City Council race, in which Harris is running.

David LeVoy, president of the association, said the roughly 200-strong unofficial union is backing Martin Sepulveda and Matt Orlando for City Council — instead of their former boss and incumbents Dean Anderson and Lowell Huggins.

Though LeVoy said he appreciated Harris’ past service to the city, he said it is time for a change.

"We don’t believe Mr. Harris would be the best choice for council," LeVoy said. "We feel that we need some new leadership in our city."

But not all police officers agree. A statewide organization that includes the Chandler Lieutenants and Sergeants Association has endorsed Harris.

"The lieutenants and sergeants are more than happy with Bobby Joe Harris," said Jim Park s, a Tucson police officer and president of the Arizona Conference of Police and Sheriffs.

Harris said his disagreements with the Chandler Law Enforcement Association focused largely on its leadership, not on the members. Harris said he still sees support among the rank-andfile officers who make up the association’s base.

"I’d like to see them take a poll of their members," Harris said. "I’m still going to support public safety. As far as the troops, the men and women of the department, they’re wonderful."

The association, composed of employees and officers under the rank of sergeant, has had a rocky road with management.

That bitterness peaked in October 2002, when Harris fired officer John Carboun, then president of the organization, saying that Carboun lied to the city manager while bringing up a list of safety concerns. Carboun appealed and was later reinstated.

Chandler’s primary election will be March 9. If needed, a run-off election will follow on May 18.

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