Alexandria Police Union endorses Catherine Davidson for mayor

The Alexandria Police Officer’s Association, Local 833, has voted to endorse Catherine Davidson for Mayor of Alexandria.
Published: Sep. 11, 2022 at 4:58 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 11, 2022 at 5:08 PM CDT
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ALEXANDRIA, La. (KALB) - The Alexandria Police Officer’s Association, Local 833, has voted to endorse Catherine Davidson for Mayor of Alexandria following a mayoral forum the association hosted on Sept 1.

This endorsement marks the first time ever that the local police union officially supported a candidate for public office.

Of the five candidates running, Davidson was one of three to attend, including former Mayor Jacques Roy and local business owner Lorenzo Davis, Sr. Mayor Jeff Hall could not attend due to an illness. Local teacher Harry Hayes also did not attend due to an illness.

The endorsement was announced in a letter to Davidson that states in part:

“The Association voted to endorse your candidacy as a result of your continued, vocal, and active support of the men and women of the Alexandria Police Department, the issues they have faced in the past and continue to face, and your commitment to public safety. We trust and look forward to working with you on matters of public safety and mutual concern, including officer retention and recruitment, compensation; deficient and worn-out equipment; increased training, community policing, and the lack of specific, departmental budgeting to fully addresses the diverse needs of a modern law enforcement agency - all of which have contributed to the current public safety crisis.”

This is the first time in history the Union has endorsed a candidate for public office.

Alexandria Police Officers Association Local 833's letter to Catherine Davidson.
Alexandria Police Officers Association Local 833's letter to Catherine Davidson.(Credit: KALB)

In an interview with KALB, Davidson said for the union to endorse her with the current mayor and former mayor also running in this election, it sends a message to the public that while public safety is a top concern, it hasn’t been addressed by previous administrations.

“There are things that need to be addressed,” said Davidson. “[Mayor Hall’s] administration did not inherit a utopia. We’ve been on the decline and crime has been on the rise for 10 years, so it really speaks volumes that the police officers really want some help. They want leadership. They want guidance. The current administration, he’s a good man, but he just cannot rise to the challenge.”

Since her time on the council that began back in March of 2021, Davidson and Mayor Hall’s administration have seemingly butted heads numerous times in legal battles. One of those being when the city council approved for two million dollars to be given to the Alexandria Police Department for officer pay raises during last year’s budget session.

This year, Davidson has asked the council to consider spending over $5 million allocated from the American Rescue Plan Act to purchase better equipment for officers including body cameras, tasers and units.

Matthew Nowlin, an attorney representing the union, said these efforts plus her answers during the forum were why the union ultimately decided to officially endorse Davidson.

“I would imagine there would be some unswayed voters that this would way into their analysis as they go to vote,” said Nowlin. “Certainly her vocal commitments to the men and women of the police department including but not limited to pay raise issues, equipment issues and generally putting herself out there as the union saw it.”

Following the forum, members of the union began placing their votes on if they should endorse a candidate for the first time ever, and if so which candidate. Nowlin told News Channel 5 that the union was not forced to endorse a candidate. He added that an approximate two-thirds majority vote decided to endorse a candidate and from there, a majority of the votes went to Davidson.

News Channel 5 has reached out to all four other candidates running for mayor on the union’s decision to endorse Davidson. At this time, every candidate has provided a response except for former mayor Jacques Roy.

"I am aware of the police union endorsement and recognize it for what it is. The very candidate the union endorsed worked to undermine the city’s budget while I worked through positive negotiations for a new union contract with increased pay and benefits. I wholeheartedly support our officers as they have hired new recruits, protected this city and put crime on a downward trend. This endorsement comes as a surprise to many, especially some of the men and women the union represents. We will continue to focus on all the voters of the City of Alexandria in our efforts to develop better communications, build more relationships and focus forward to finish the work we started. We ask voters to focus on our accomplishments and help us in our forward fight.”

Mayor Jeff Hall's response to Police Union endorsing Catherine Davidson for Mayor

“I would like to congratulate Catherine Davidson on her endorsement from the Alexandria Police Union. I stand with Mrs. Davidson in solidarity understanding her vision for the public safety is paramount to building a safer more livable Alexandria. I appreciate the Alexandria Police Union for the welcome to present my vision, but unfortunately, I was not able to make it due to my recent battles with Covid/Pneumonia. May God bless Mrs. Davidson on her continued endeavors and I look forward to seeing her on the campaign trail as soon as I recover.”

Harry Hayes' response to Police Union endorsing Catherine Davidson for Mayor

“My team is very excited. We knew leaving the debate that there would be a change and they would want a new leader. I was convinced they would not want to go backwards. I knew it would be between me or Catherine. We know that there will be a change in leadership. All three candidates were strong in that debate, but I knew after talking to officers afterward that they did not want to go back. I call it a win for the people of Alexandria.

Lorenzo Davis Sr. on the Police Union endorsing Catherine Davidson for Mayor

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