The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police and its President, John Ortolano, tonight sent the following letter to Gary Kiehne’s campaign for Congress:
Mr. Gary Kiehne
Kiehne for Congress
P.O. Box 1974 Eagar, AZ 85925
Dear Mr. Kiehne:
The Arizona Fraternal Order of Police represents more than 7,500 police officers around the state while our national parent organization represents more than 327,000 public safety officers around the nation. These men and women on the frontlines risk their lives daily to protect Arizona’s communities and to ensure that the American system of justice remains a model around the world. We do our jobs with the realization that not everyone will agree with the work we do, or even demonstrate basic respect for the risks we take and the sacrifices we make.
With that said, it’s rare that a candidate for the United States Congress makes a statement as repugnant and offensive as your comments to the Arizona Republic reported on Monday, May 19, 2014. Your reference to Nazi agents in your remarks about the work of Arizona police officers during the 2011 Wallow Fire evacuations – and your statement that you believed officers were willing “to shoot you and me” – is not only unconscionable, but part of a pattern of objectionable and ignorant statements that we believe are a discredit to your candidacy and to the campaign itself.
While we understand that you may believe outrageous statements are necessary to do what politicians call “increasing your name ID,” we believe that doing so on the backs of peace officers, immigrants to America and mass shooting victims is beyond the pale. On behalf of police officers across the state and the nation, the Arizona Fraternal Order of Police calls on you to immediately resign from the race for the 1st Congressional District seat. Simply put, you have lost any and all credibility in the eyes of thousands of police officers, our families and the millions of Arizonans who believe in the cause of public safety.
It is our group’s understanding that since making these remarks you have issued an apologetic statement through your campaign – a written release in which you sought to give yourself kudos for deciding to “own up to” your misstatements. Frankly, sir, even a child has the good sense to apologize for outrageous conduct. And a child likely would have had the good sense never to make such hurtful statements in the first place.
We need adults in office, Mr. Kiehne. For that reason alone, you should terminate your campaign immediately.
We await your response.
Very Truly Yours,
Sgt. John Ortolano
President, Arizona Fraternal Order of Police