TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Tampa’s police union sent a survey out to candidates running for office and the questions are raising some eyebrows. One question asks candidates whether or not they support black lives matter and that’s not all.
As the upcoming election approaches in the City of Tampa, candidates have received a 28 question survey from the Tampa Police Benevolent Association.
“I filled out the questionnaire. I returned it back to the PBA,” said Councilman Orlando Gudes of District 5. “Some of the questions on there I thought were offensive.”
As a former police officer, councilman Gudes said he’s received calls from concerned officers who received the questionnaire.
Mayor Jane Castor, a former police chief, said: “I don’t think that candidate survey reflects the views of the fine men and women of the outstanding Tampa Police Department.”
The 28 question survey from the PBA asks ‘why do you think morale at police departments is at an all-time low, do you own a gun and have you ever supported Black Lives Matter.’
“It’s a racist because you know what, I didn’t say it, didn’t say ‘Are you a member of the Proud Boys? What’s your views about the clan? What are your views about the ongoing systemic problems that Black people are having in this country?” said Connie Burton, community activist.
During Thursday’s council meeting, Burton said she wants the city council to denounce the survey.
Brandon Barclay, Tampa PBA President shared this statement with 8 On Your Side:
“Like other groups, The Tampa Police Benevolent Association uses its questionnaire to help determine the depths and extent of a political candidate’s experiences and positions as they relate to police and our membership without regard to party, race, orientation or gender. We value candor and honesty in the process and we have even endorsed individuals who differ and disagree with us on issues because they were the right person for the job. To describe our intentions in any other light is not only dishonest, but shameful and indicative of the discourse many politicians in our area want to continue in order to distract from their own personal and professional shortcomings.”
“I am hopeful and prayerful that the PBA administration will look at it and see that the community is outraged at what has happened and may retract it and do a public apology,” said Gudes.
This survey comes on the heels of the recent exit of former police chief Mary O’Connor. On the ballot in March, Tampa voters will decide if they want the city council to have the final say over department heads.