National Police Support Fund works tirelessly to make sure law enforcement officials all over the country are supported and represented in the political process. With their recent nationwide efforts and projects, it is easy to overlook the day-to-day functions that make it all possible and the people behind the movement. We sat down with the Executive Director Simon Lewis to learn more about the organization, his background, and the passion that drives their efforts.
Interview with Simon Lewis of National Police Support Fund
How did you become involved with this organization?
You know, it really seems like law enforcement officers are constantly being portrayed in a negative light, especially over the past five or six years. It’s something that’s always bothered me personally; public service is an important part of my life and something we should value in our communities, and it seems like there has been a loss of that respect for the sacrifices police officers make every day. So, about three or so years ago, I was approached by a group of local leaders, current and former law enforcement officers, activists, and we decided we should try and pool our resources and our individual knowledge and experience and try to make a difference if we could. I took the lead as executive director to be able to provide day to day leadership and try and chart a course for success.
Can you tell me about the work National Police Support Fund does?
National Police Support Fund is a pretty unique organization, actually. We are in a unique position to be able to provide a political voice to police officers and their supporters at the state and local level. Since we’re a political organization, we are able to build relationships with partners across the country to gain insight on issues our officers face every day, with issues ranging from lack of support from elected officials, to weak or lenient judges, to the concern of losing benefits or not having the resources to pay for essential equipment. One trend we’re seeing across the country is a dearth of budget money earmarked for hiring and training new officers. That leads to a scarcity of officers, officers being overworked, and just a general attitude that police officers aren’t valued or respected for the difficult job they do every day.
What differentiates you from other organizations?
This ties in to what we just talked about, and the uniqueness of National Police Support Fund. We are able to directly affect the political process on behalf of officers, supporters, and other organizations that may not have the access, expertise, or ability to make their voices heard. We bring the fight directly to elected officials on behalf of their constituents and ensure we’re doing what’s right, ethical, and necessary to support our officers.
What results does your organization achieve?
We have really tried to make as significant impact as possible towards meeting our mission statement. In the last couple years, we’ve impacted state and local elections around the country, fought for referendums for victims rights, and helped support great leaders get elected to state office. We’ve also built and maintained relationships with other organizations around the country, specifically the Fraternal Order of Police and the National Troopers Coalition, and we’ve attended great events like National Police Week to show our solidarity.
How has your program improved over time?
Just being able to focus our efforts and build partnerships has been instrumental in our success of the past couple years. We began with a mission and a great vision, and by working with our partners, attending some of these events and conferences, and being able to bounce our ideas and goals off of our supporters, has lead us to be able to hone our messaging, our goals, and really ensure we’re working towards the political goals that police officers and their supporters need to see met.
What is your strategic plan for the next three to five years?
It’s actually pretty simple: keep building on the foundation we’ve laid. We need to keep our ear to the ground and get ahead of the curve on some of these legislative issues, referenda, that are going to a vote, and ensure we stand up for law enforcement officer’s needs.
My personal goal is to continue to broaden and deepen the personal relationships I’ve made in the industry space, and to continue to have the best and brightest, most connected individuals around to provide National Police Support Fund with insight and advice. Keep growing and stay educated.
In the short term, we have a really great project in the works that is focusing on historic and future legislation and will, we hope, help lawmakers understand the minutiae of how to make bills successful and help shine a light on what kind of legislation has the biggest impact on law enforcement not only nationally but state and locally as well.
What barriers are in your way?
Politics is tough. There’s no way around it, there’s always going to be opposition, those who are diametrically opposed to what you stand for and what you’re trying to accomplish. I’m not trying to push partisan politics; in my opinion that really shouldn’t be an issue area for our law enforcement officers. I’m focusing on legislation and elections that will enable them to do their jobs on the ground each and every day, keep them safe, and ensure they receive fair pay and benefits for the sacrifices they’ve made.
Also, unfortunately, sometimes we have to stand up to the media who love to publish headlines about police violence, impropriety, mistakes, you know what I mean. Law enforcement is a difficult, challenging job. You’re out in the community every day upholding our laws, and split-second decisions are often necessary. This is proper training, equipment, staffing comes into play. It’s easy to see an officer make a mistake, maybe make a bad decision, and jump on the entire profession. Sure, there are bad actors in every profession, and those kinds of individuals, bigots, racists, people who let authority go to their heads, those kind of people have no place in the law enforcement community. But it’s up to the law enforcement community to deal with those people properly, through the correct channels, and not necessarily through the court of public opinion. The media and the public most often get a skewed view of reality, and we can’t let that detract from the realities of policing and the truth that the vast, vast majority of those who make the sacrifice, and serve their communities, are doing it for the right reasons, who want to uphold the law, and who want to be 100% certain that justice, real justice, is served.
Building a movement takes time and dedication. Executive Director Simon Lewis is leading the National Police Support Fund with a clear vision and with purpose. Law enforcement officials need our support more than ever, and it is going to take a movement to create a future where those that put their lives on the line for our communities are respected and appreciated. Will you join us?