Local Black Shield Police Association worries endorsement could damage community relations

CLEVELAND-- Who should Cleveland police officers endorse for president: Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

On Friday, police union members will take a vote to decide, but some officers believe they should not publicly take a stand at all.

The Cleveland Police Patrolmen’s Association let its members vote last week on whether they should hold a vote on an endorsement.  By one vote, the members said yes.

"It would just be not a good thing for us to be involved in endorsing anyone right at this particular time," said Lynn Hampton, president of the local Black Shield Police Association.  It is an organization founded to look out for the interests of black Cleveland police officers.

According to a letter CPPA president Steve Loomis sent to all police union members Wednesday, "The Membership voted by a narrow margin that the Cleveland Police Patrolmen's Association WILL make an endorsement in the upcoming election for President of the United States.

"Everyone should be respected by the law and everyone should respect the law... Right now that's not the case in a lot of our neighborhoods," said Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton during Monday night’s debate.

"Secretary Clinton does not want to use a couple of words... That's law and order. We need law and order. If we don't have it, we're not gonna have a country," responded Republican candidate Donald Trump during the debate.

Racial tension, specifically between the police and some minority communities nationwide, has been a contentious issue during the campaign.

Hampton fears if the CPPA votes to endorse Trump, it could lead to more mistrust from many minority residents.

"I think it would give wind and give fuel to people who think that way about the police department," Hampton said.

Earlier this month, Loomis attended a roundtable discussion in Brook Park with Trump, although Loomis has not publicly endorsed either candidate.

Hampton said he believes the diverse police union should remain neutral when it comes to politics, especially in today's racial climate.

"A vote to endorse Hillary or Trump, so there's not a third party choice of not to endorse at all, which I would have loved to have that on the ballot as well, to give people that option of just staying out of it," Hampton said.

FOX 8 tried several times to reach Loomis for comment, but he was unavailable.

Union members will cast their votes on Friday.

A few weeks ago, the national Fraternal Order of Police endorsed Trump for president.