Two Major Police Unions Make Endorsements in State-Wide Recall

With this summer’s state-wide recall elections quickly approaching, two major police unions have made their endorsements in the race for governor.

The Wisconsin Professional Police Officers Association (WPPA), an umbrella group that represents officers from smaller police agencies, has endorsed Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.  This is an interesting decision, especially since Barrett figuratively put a gun to the leadership of the Milwaukee Police Association (MPA)—a group whose members were exempted from Gov. Walker’s Act 10 budget repair bill—and threatened furlough days for Milwaukee police officers if they refused  to accept Act 10 provisions.

So how can Barrett advocate for the repeal of Act 10 and then demand than his city’s police officers, who received an exemption, comply with the provisions of this act for the purposes of trimming millions of dollars from the City of Milwaukee’s budget?

“At a news conference at WPPA headquarters,” Real Clear Politics reports, “Barrett insisted he supports collective bargaining rights for all public workers. He said he made the request to expand the law to Milwaukee police and firefighters because he realized Walker was trying to “divide and conquer” public workers and he couldn’t afford to pit city workers against one other.”

But other labor leaders are suspicious of Barrett, as they believe the mayor gladly used the provisions of Gov. Walker’s budget repair bill. One of the state’s largest public employee unions released a video highly critical of the Milwaukee mayor.

Moreover, one has to challenge the wisdom of Jim Palmer, the current WPPA Executive Director.  Why would a police union endorse Barrett—a politician who insists that police officers, who received an exemption from Act 10 by Gov. Walker, lose their exemption?  Why not endorse Kathleen Falk, who has made a quid pro quo deal with state unions to repeal Act 10 or support Gov. Walker, who exempted Palmer’s members from Act 10?

Some of you might recall that Palmer from this prior SF post.

On the other side of the coin, the two public safety unions that know Barrett best—the Milwaukee Police Association and the Milwaukee Professional Firefighters Association—have endorsed Gov. Walker.

“Gov. Walker has a strong record of supporting public safety with an unwavering commitment to first responders,” said Michael Crivello, president of the Milwaukee Police Association.

As the recall election quickly approaches, it remains to be seen how these law enforcement endorsements will affect the outcome.  However, if the last state Supreme Court race is a barometer, a few hundred votes might decide who wins or loses.


Steve Spingola is an author and retired Milwaukee Police Department homicide detective. His new book, Best of the Spingola Files, is now available at

If your group is in need of a fascinating guest speaker, consider the Spingola Files Psychology of Homicide presentation.  For more information, visit

© Steven Spingola, Wales, WI, 2012

9 Responses

  1. Tony

    No Surprise Here! Endorsed Kloppenberg as well last year against the wishes of their membership! WPPA (Palmer) doesn’t represent no one but themselves. Palmer is an Attorney tooting his own horn along with a group of other Madison Socialist Labor Activist at the expense of real cops! Check out the Attorney Brian Austin blog and his Occupy Police site. Shame, Shame, Shame!

    Looks like your not the only one perplexed by WPPA’s (James Palmer) endorsement of Barrett!

    And then the Woman Hater Sly takes his lap dog to task with an interview!

    April 29, 2012 at 1:58 pm

  2. Martin

    My brother, a former Milw. Co. Deputy explained it perfectly. He was a member of the Sheriff’s Dept. when Toma Ament was Co. Exec. At contract time, the Unions that were represented by the major Unions were able to get most of not all of what they wanted. The Deputy Sheriff’s Assoc. received nothing. At that time a little known State Assemblyman from Wauwatosa helped the Deputies Assoc. and stood up for them during the contract negotiations. Guess who that assemblyman was? Yep, it was Walker.

    April 29, 2012 at 3:46 pm

  3. Glenn Frankovis

    Walker will crush whoever his June 5th opponent happens to be. I only hope after he does so, that he and the Republican legislature quit dicking around with these people.

    April 29, 2012 at 5:58 pm

  4. James

    Hey Tony…I remembered Brain Austin writing some rant on this site back in 2011. Click this link and read the comments section. He posts under his actual name.

    This guy’s spend too much time on the Madison looney farm.

    April 30, 2012 at 1:26 am

  5. Tony

    @James..I followed that thread back then, along with the Dane County Deputy that was making an idiot of himself on video too. A bevy of self promoters. You don’t have to look to far to see that they hijacked our profession for their own advancements. It’s disgusting and I’m sure that outside of the Dane County Zip codes, no other law enforcement agency would put up with their officers using its image or titles in the way that they do. I also found it offensive that most of these self promoters are disingenuous about their relationships tied to other socialist activist interests. To use Jim Palmer’s own words of characterization, they are “an embarrassment” !

    April 30, 2012 at 2:21 am

  6. The only reason, let me say this again, THE ONLY REASON MPD and MFD support scooter is to get open residency period. One issue,one platform, one goal.

    May 1, 2012 at 3:12 am

  7. Steve Spingola


    I could not disagree with you more. Look at the cuts in staffing to both the MPD and MFD that Barrett has implemented. The MPD is working with about 30 percent fewer detectives than it had 10 years ago. Depending on who one talks with the MPD has between 200 to 350 vacancies in the police officer rank that are not being filled. As a result, people are waiting three or four hours for the MPD to respond to some relatively serious calls. The JS actually did a few articles about MPD response times for calls for service.

    Moreover, even though Wisconsin has 72 counties, about half the prison population emanates from Milwaukee County. This is where Jim Palmer and his fellow travlers at the WPPA really tick a lot of MPD officers off. In order to continue spending like no tomorrow, Gov. Jim Doyle ordered prison bureaucrats to release convicted felons from prison early. Standing at Doyle’s side giving him political cover, when this so-called program was announced, was none other that Jim Palmer.

    Professional law enforcement officers care more about protecting the community than their own bottom lines. When Walker was a state rep, he authored Wisconsin’s truth-in-sentencing bill that finally held liberal judges, as well as those convicted of crimes, accountable. What did Barrett do on this issue when he served in the state leglislature?

    May 1, 2012 at 11:18 pm

  8. Tony

    Wisconsin Professional Police Association hijacked by Lefty Liberal Thug James Palmer endorsed Barrett! What a slap in the face to all of the rank and file cops, including those associated with the WPPA

    Shame, Shame, Shame!

    May 18, 2012 at 8:34 pm

  9. Diane

    So, any chance the WPPA will pull their endorsement of Barrett now that he turned his back on the police memorial event to attend a fundraiser?

    Palmer and the WPPA are the PERFECT demonstration of why Act 10 was necessary for reigning in public employee unions. Their leaders are entirely political and selfishly motivated. It is not in the txpayers’ best interest to have union leadership in bed with the ppl they should be negotiating with. It’s tough with police and fire because there is no private sector to make wage comparisons like you can with teachers, admin staff, etc. So I can see why they would be exempted. The MPA and MFA endorsements of Walker say almost as much about Barrett I think. It’s all quite interesting.

    I hope we can keep the Walker supporters energized until the election and that somehow we can keep it all clean. I have lots if worries about Chisolm’s office. They must be working overtime trying to find something in Walker. They’ll wait til the eleventh hour. And there will certainly be reports of voter fraud that Chisolm will conveniently overlook if Barrett pulls out a victory (God forbid!).

    May 20, 2012 at 4:34 am

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