David Stevens is president of the Fraternal Order of Police.
WHAT IS THE FRATERNAL ORDER OF POLICE?
“We are the voice of the police. Our mission is to improve the terms and conditions of employment for law enforcement officers. While the officers protect the community, the Fraternal Order of Police protects the officers. We are also very active in the political arena lending support to individuals who will best serve our community and its interest. Not only does the FOP lobby for the benefits of its members, but guards the public’s safety as well. Also, our lodge is the largest labor lodge in Florida and is the seventh largest lodge in the United States.”
HOW MANY YEARS HAVE YOU BEEN INVOLVED WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT?
“It will be 24 years in September; seven years as a patrol officer, then to the Traffic/Special Operations Unit, then to the Vice Squad as a detective. In 1993, I was promoted to sergeant and then to lieutenant. I was always active in the union and felt the Fraternal Order of Police played an important role in the lives of all officers so when the opportunity came up to run for president of FOP in January 1998, I decided to run and won. I was installed as president of the FOP for a two-year term in 1998 and re-elected for another two year term.”
WHAT IS YOUR TOP OBJECTIVE AS PRESIDENT OF THE FOP?
“To improve the image of the Fraternal Order of Police and to create and maintain strong relationships with City government, the sheriff’s office and our brother and sister unions.”
FUTURE GOALS FOR THE FOP?
“We are working toward creating a non-profit foundation for our chosen charities and do away with the phone solicitations.”
WHAT CHARITIES DOES THE FOP SUPPORT?
Boy Scouts of America, Spina Bifida Association, Sickle Cell Foundation, Easter Seals, Pop Warner, AMA, Police Athletic League, MDA and the Justice Coalition. “In addition to financial assistance, FOP members donate thousands of hours of volunteer time each year to these and other organizations.”
WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE AS PRESIDENT OF THE FOP?
“Balancing communication between the officers and the administration. Knowing when to pursue an injustice and just doing the right thing.”
WHAT IS THE BIGGEST MISCONCEPTION REGARDING THE FOP?
“Most people think we are the same administration as the sheriff’s office. While the officers are protecting the public, we are protecting the officers.”
BORN AND RAISED?
“Right here in Jacksonville.”
WHAT WAS YOUR FIRST CAR?
“A Dodge Polaris. It was a white tank, a babe magnet, absolutely huge.”
WHAT WAS YOUR MOST EMBARRASSING PROFESSIONAL MOMENT?
“I was hired as a patrol officer under the age of 21. I was old enough to police but not old enough to buy bullets for my gun. With great reluctance, I let my mother purchase bullets for me.”
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SPORT?
“Baseball. I volunteered as security with the St. Louis Cardinals and play baseball with the FOP league every opportunity I can. Time is pretty limited, though.”
“The Florida Gators are my No. 1 passion.”
“I dated my high school sweetheart, Paula, for five years before we married in 1978. We have an incredible son, Justin.”
IS THERE ANYTHING YOU WANT THAT YOU DON’T HAVE?
“On a personal note, I would love to have a Harley Davidson motorcycle. On a professional note, I am constantly working on building the relationships between the stronger unions such as the Firefighters Association. When great powers join efforts for the greater good of charities and politics, so much can be accomplished.”