The Turlock Associated Police Officers (TAPO) Political Action Committee announced that they have endorsed Gary Soiseth for Mayor of Turlock and Bill DeHart and Matthew Jacob for Turlock City Council for the November election.
TAPO PAC’s endorsements come after the TAPO board selected these individuals who have a “focus on public safety and quality of life in Turlock.”
In August, TAPO, the Turlock police union, announced the formation of the PAC so it could support candidates that it wanted to see in office.
Questionnaires and interviews were conducted to determine which candidates share a similar commitment to the safety of Turlock residents.
“TAPO has 87 dedicated public servants committed to keeping our community safe, to treating all persons with dignity and respect, and to engaging fully with the community,” said TAPO President Russell Holeman. “These candidates share our commitment to keeping Turlock safe for all residents. They also recognize that a strong, well-funded police department is exactly what is needed to make Turlock an attractive community for residents and the economy.”
After the Turlock Police Department lost five officers to other agencies in approximately a year, TAPO has been advocating that the City take steps to offer Turlock police officers competitive compensation package to attract new, qualified officers.
“These candidates understand that there are a number of challenges confronting law enforcement in Turlock that make it harder to do our jobs…but that working with City Government and the people of Turlock, we can solve them,” said Holeman. “We are understaffed and struggle to attract top talent. Our next Mayor and Council can and must choose to invest in public safety to serve our growing population.”
According to a release by TAPO, the endorsement means that candidates may use its name on fliers, mailers, and in public statements during the campaign.
It has not been decided at this time if the PAC will make monetary contributions to the endorsed candidates, but the money is available if they choose to do so.
“We do have a fund in out PAC committee,” said Holeman. “…We may make monetary contributions to the candidates.”
At the time the PAC formed, Holeman told TurlockCityNews.com that the TAPO PAC held a fund with a dollar amount comparable to the Turlock Firefighters PAC. As previously reported on TurlockCItyNews.com, as of the filing period ending June 30, the Turlock Firefighters PAC held $22,233.17.
On Thursday, Holeman confirmed with TurlockCityNews.com that the PAC does have “five figures” in the fund.
As for funding of the PAC, approximately $87 is extracted from TAPO members’ paychecks each month, with some of that money going towards the PAC. Holeman previously told TurlockCityNews.com that while members do not have a chance to opt out — and have their dues only go to TAPO’s general fund and not the PAC — “essentially all the membership voted to increase the dues” years ago in support of developing funds for a PAC.