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College Station mayor responds to questions about police support letter

College Station mayor responds to questions about police support letter

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College Station residents might soon receive a letter from the National Police Association — an organization asking people to sign a “Police Pledge of Support” and to donate to their group.

The letter caught Brazos County resident Judy LeUnes’ attention because the front read “College Station Mayor Karl Mooney needs to hear from you,” leading her to believe it might be a message from the city. Instead, the letter outlined several other items, including concerns related to the Black Lives Matter Movement, the ACLU and national conversations about defunding the police.

At the end, the letter asks recipients to allow their names to be added to the “Police Pledge of Support,” which they say will be sent to Mooney. The pledge asks for Mooney to support “quality of life policing.”

Before LeUnes told Mooney about the letter, he said he had never heard of the NPA. He said the city of College Station has no affiliation with the organization and has no record of the NPA contributing funds to College Station law enforcement.

“My word of caution to folks who get the letter would be to — like you should with any organization that’s asking for money — check it out and make sure it’s legitimate before you do that,” he said.

The NPA website says that the nonprofit organization’s mission is to “educate supporters of law enforcement in how to help police departments accomplish their goals.” The website lists an Indianapolis address, and a Stafford, Texas, address, which is what was written on the letter LeUnes received.

Several other cities have received the letter as well, Mooney said, including residents of Garland. On Sept. 8, the Garland Police PIO Twitter page tweeted saying that the NPA has no affiliation with their police department or the city. Garland Mayor Scott LeMay took to Facebook on Sept. 7 to say that he is not familiar with the group, that he supports local law enforcement and said that anyone who wants to express concerns can go directly to him.

At the bottom of the letter LeUnes received, a note states that contributions to NPA are used “where the need is greatest.”

When asked where the donations collected through this letter campaign will go, a NPA spokesperson told The Eagle via email that examples of how donations are spent can be found on the organization’s website under the “NPA in the News” tab. There, the NPA keeps links to articles about their work. Examples include a $5,000 reward the NPA funded for information in a hit-and-run of a Travis County deputy and PSAs that the group created asking people for things such as help assisting officers in danger. The nonprofit’s 990 forms are publicly available on the website.

The spokesperson declined to comment on other questions, including how many College Station residents they sent the letter to, if other nearby cities are going to see it as well, when the NPA will be sending information they receive to Mooney and how long the NPA has been running this particular letter campaign.

Bryan city and police officials said they have not had any residents come to them with concerns regarding the NPA letter.

In September, The NPA told KXAS-TV in Dallas-Fort Worth, that the average turnaround time for presenting the “Police Pledge of Support” reply forms to the mayor is somewhere between 90 and 120 days, according to the news station’s website.

LeUnes said that the letter didn’t accurately portray the city of College Station and was startling because it makes the reader feel as if they have to donate to the NPA in order to show that they support law enforcement.

“And I feel like our community is very supportive of the city,” she said. “And when they’re not, they talk to the leaders about it.”

Since the letter gives the impression that Mooney has endorsed the NPA’s message even though he has not, Mooney said he alerted City Attorney Carla Robinson about the matter. However, Mooney said he doesn’t believe anything will come of that since the letter is carefully worded to avoid falsely stating something that Mooney has said or done.

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