The Fraternal Order of Police just tried to bribe me!

Or did they?

I, like and idiot, neglected to check Caller ID when the phone rang. That’s how I ended up on the phone with a very pushy FOP shill.

Now, I don’t mind supporting the fuzz. They have what could be the world’s most difficult job, and most of the time, they do it with distinction. I ended up telling the guy to send me the info by snail mail, that I would indeed donate (no problem there,) and NO, I will not “pledge” any set amount while on the phone.


“How about just $1? Surely you could pledge just…”


OK. So, par for the course for phone spam so far. What skeeved me out was this one thing he said:

“Yeah, if you donate, we’ll send you an “active supporter” card. You just place it behind your driver’s license and…it will identify you as an active supporter of the police.”

The ellipsis up there came across as a very pregnant and significant pause. Maybe I’m imagining it, but it seemed to me that there was a definite wink nudge implication in it, as if, you know, this card might very well get me a little extra consideration when in minor, yet awkward, legal situations like a traffic stop.

I recognize that it may also have just been a strategy to lever money out of people that might not otherwise have supported the FOP, with the implied “understanding” that they might get something out of the deal.

I know the guy didn’t do anything illegal, and that he can’t guarantee such consideration from cops in the field in any case, but it left me a little icky. It just did not seem appropriate at all, regardless of the reasons.

You’re aware that no cop ever does phone solicitation work for this stuff; it’s always all hired out to a marketing firm, and quite often one of the sort of high ethical standard that will be glad to let you infer that it’s a cop you’re talking to, even though it isn’t. (It makes their percentage of contributions a lot higher.)

Did you ask what percentage of the money went to the cops and what percent to the marketing firm? I used to give every time these folks called, until our local paper ran an expose on the marketing firms used. Since then, I ask every time if the caller is a professional fund raiser, and what percentage is paid to the fund raising company. The usual answer is that the police or firefighters are guaranteed “at least 20% of the funds we raise.” Which, if I understand the information in the article correctly, is also the most the charity will make. I then tell them my charitable dollar has to go a lot further than that before I will donate, and do not call back.

It sounds like you already know what a rip-off the FOP are. I was harrassed by them for a very long time (and posted about it) and it took several letters to various folks and a couple of formal complaints to official organizations to get them to quit calling here. Lying and “innuendo” are not beneath them to get some of your money.

How do they lie, let me count the ways…

Sneaky snakes.

These calls have always sounded to me like some kind of extortion racket – or at least that they want you to think that. Never been offered the “friend of police card” though.

I have the same policy of not donating in response to phone solicitations, but I get very few of those these days.

Wow. I be inclined to report that to somebody. I’m sure it’s not illegal, but that just… doesn’t seem right.


The FOP rarely does phone solicitation, but a number of con men do, posing as FOP solicitors.

Hmmm…I dunno. We’ll see if they send me something in the mail, and how it looks. That would certainly go a long way toward explaining why he was desperate not to let me off the phone.

I’ve had callers promise me the “active supporter card” you mentioned or a window sticker for the car. Of course the implication is that this will get you out of speeding tickets, so I ask point-blank if they will do so. The caller usually hems and haws and avoids answering. It’s pretty funny. Another thing to do is to tell them that you’ll send the check directly to the local FOP, so that 100% of the money goes to the FOP.

In my area, phone solicitation it the FOP’s primary means of fund raising, but they hire a ‘service’ to make the calls. The service takes a big cut (the amount varies and they are reluctant to reveal the actual amounts, with some estimates ranging as high as 50 to 80%!) and the FOP gets the leftovers. From the leftovers, the FOP then parses the money out into their programs. The bulk of the money the FOP gets is spent on political lobbyists and insurance for members. As near as I was able to determine, if you gave the telephone guy ten bucks, you could expect about 15 to 25 cents to be used in the FPO’s “community programs”. I’m not convinced the FOP is a charity, either- it’s not mentioned on my FOP’s website and the FOP president declined to answer me when I asked about it.

I tried to get the actual current figures during my 2-3 year harrassment, but the FOP and the fundraiser both refused to reveal their figures to me and never gave me any paperwork at all. I asked every time we corresponded citing their exempt status, asking questions , etc., and they either neglected to provide details or simply refused to continue corresponding with me on those topics (except to take a little break and begin yet another round of phone solicitations).

I’m not any kind of investigator and don’t know much about the laws or ins-and-outs of fundraising. I’m just a mother who got tired of answering her phone as many as three times a day and hearing the FOP fundraiser either pretend he hadn’t called me before or attempt to feed me some kind of lie such as pretending to be a police officer or pretending my husband had promised a donation, etc.

Because the fundraiser is operating in a grey area they can get away with alot. Technically, the are not a charity (they are a fundraidser FOR a charity, but who also makes a hefty profit on the money collected), and are therefore subject to the “Do Not Call” list. Because they only make implications (that they are police or a charity or whatever), they are not technically committing fraud. No official entity that I could contact was interested in the business practices of the FOP and their fundraisers. The FOP declined to tell me the name of their fundraiser and no one would send me any paperwork (unless I donated first, of course).

I quit looking into it because they have finally quit calling me- I haven’t had a call since October 25th. I kept notes because of the sheer number of calls.

Hey, that reminds me… In the last correspondence I had with the FOP president, he said he was going to check their records and let me know how many times I had been called… with the dates and times. He claimed all calls are computer generated, logged, and recorded. He never got back to me…

(…and I’m not really gonna contact him!)

They won’t send you anything in the mail unless you donate first. They have told me this several times.