This week the Merrillville Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 168 endorsed a slate of candidates for the Merrillville Town Council Primary election coming up on May 2, 2023. Candidates selected include:
All candidates listed, except for one are current Town Council members. Keesha Hardaway is not an incumbent candidate. All are running as Democrats and seeking their party’s nomination to serve on the Town Council.
In a letter to the candidates from FOP President, Ian Davidson-Dugan, the brotherhood said, “We want to express our excitement to continue building on the positive relationship the Lodge and the current Councilmen mentioned above. We believe this continued relationship with the addition of Miss Hardaway, will continue to grow the police department and the community in new and creative ways. Best of luck to these candidates on May 2nd.”
It is an honor to be endorsed by the FOP and shows great respect for the council and the FOP membership. We have worked hard to increase benefits and pay for our police officers and continue to look for new ways to fund police department needs. Just having the willingness to sit at the same table and discuss ideas to make the department better for our officers is rewarding. Negotiations went smoothly this year, and the council recently signed a 3-year contract with the FOP setting salary increases and other benefits that were presented to the council. Working together is what makes it work!
We all had the same goal which was what can we do to keep and attract officers to work for Merrillville? Neighboring cities and towns have all been struggling to hire qualified professionals to serve as officers. We have a better chance to attract good candidates the more we can offer to our officers not only in pay, but in other benefits like our 12-hour patrol division work shifts, more equitable days off programs, fitness rewards, and many other great ideas that were presented to us this year by the FOP membership. The town truly did all that it could to accommodate requests made.
Although we agree that it is never enough, we know that we have made great strides to increase benefits making the Merrillville Police Department more attractive and we sincerely want to keep our fully trained professional officers right here in our great town.
Thank you to the FOP membership for their confidence in us and for working together with the council. I promise to continue my support of our law enforcement professionals and to continue to keep the MPD the best place to work in the region. -Rick Bella, Town Council President – Ward 5 Representative