The union representing more than 3,000 Baltimore police officers has hired Gerard E. Evans, one of the most influential and expensive lobbyists in the state, to press law enforcement issues in Annapolis.
Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 also is forming a political action committee to raise money to "defeat those elected officials who have demonstrated their lack of support" for police officers, the union said in a statement released yesterday.
Members of other law enforcement agencies -- from Maryland State Police to the Prince George's County sheriff's office -- have hired lobbyists and set up PACs, and yesterday they welcomed city officers who are joining their political cause.
"Elected officials play such an integral part of a police officer's day-to-day life, [from] enacting laws that we enforce to signing our paychecks," said Officer Gary McLhinney, president of the city police union. "It's important that we have a significant say in the political process."
In 1995, the city union was outspoken in the mayoral election, supporting challenger Mary Pat Clarke over incumbent and ultimately victorious Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, whom they criticized as being unable to deal with the city's crime problem.
"Public officials have a tough job in allocating resources," Evans said yesterday. "I don't think police officers have gotten the resource allocations that they deserve." But the lobbyist, who also represents the Washington Redskins football team, said any political activism will be positive.
"We are not going to be negative in going after people," he said, adding that he has "casually" talked to Schmoke about his new client. He said the mayor took the news with "guarded optimism. He clearly wasn't happy with the way things went" in the last election.
"We want to do positive things for the city," Evans said. "The mayor is the first person we're going to reach out to."
Evans comes from a law enforcement family. His wife was chief of the narcotics unit of the Prince George's County state's attorney's office, and he has two brothers who are police officers. His clients include the Maryland and Prince George's police FOP lodges.
In June 1996, according to the latest public financial filings for lobbying groups, Evans was ranked Annapolis' highest-earning lobbyist for the previous six months, billing his 37 clients $751,875.
Evans said he typically charges clients $50,000 for his services. He charges the Maryland FOP $30,000 to $40,000, but he said the city union would get his services for a "fraction of that cost." Terms are still being negotiated.
McLhinney said his organization plans to push for laws protecting officers' rights when they are accused of wrongdoing and will examine the voting records of local and state politicians. He said the union is looking for pro-law enforcement, pro-labor politicians.
The union head said he expects PAC donations to come from members.
John Bartlett, president of the Prince George's County FOP Lodge 89, said its PAC funds on hand range from $5,000 to $40,000. His group supported Wayne K. Curry in his successful run for Prince George's County executive. His group also has hired Evans.
"He's the big gun," Bartlett said. "He makes messages known. He knows the right buttons to push in Annapolis."
Evans said that police groups have been slow to get involved in politics. "We need better police protection and that's what we're all about," he said. "The police are going to have a strong voice politically. Money talks."
Pub Date: 1/02/97