With the introduction of 24/7 media outlets, social media, and YouTube, we can’t seem to get away from politics… anywhere.

Be it at work, with friends or eating dinner with the family, it seems like it’s just not safe to have a difference of opinion when it comes to which side of the aisle you stand on. This is especially true when it comes to campaigning.

Now, a Connecticut police captain is being investigated for his involvement in smearing the reputation of a local politician who is running for office.

Let’s look at the picturesque and posh town of Greenwich, Connecticut. Greenwich is referred to as part of the ‘Gold Coast’ of the quaint New England state, boasting a population of nearly 63,000 with a median household income of roughly $95,000 a year and an average home price of $950,000, according to the US Census bureau. (Yeah, you read those numbers right – no, I didn’t accidentally add a zero.) 

 

Connecticut is currently in the process of their municipal elections where voters will go to the polls Tuesday November 5, and the control of many Connecticut towns have the potential to shift from one side of the aisle to the other. 

Candidates in the state must raise all the money that they intend to spend during these campaigns and every penny spent needs to be accounted for. It’s even overseen by the Special Elections Enforcement Commission and their local town clerk’s office. Additionally, any piece of political advertising needs to be approved by a candidate before they are sent out to the voting public to see it, be it mail pieces, political adds, lawn signs, etc.  

A current sitting member of the Connecticut House Republican Office, Fred Camillo who represents a portion of Greenwich at the state level, is in a municipal race for the First Selectman seat. Around the end of October, lawn signs with the messaging,

“Trump/Camillo.  Local elections matter. Vote Republican, Vote Team. Make Greenwich Great Again.”

started to spring up in yards across town.  However, neither Camillo nor his opponent knew where they had come from or who had created them. And a lot of finger pointing began.

Now at this point you may be wondering, how do any of these things have a single thing to do with law enforcement?

Enter Greenwich Police Capt. Mark Kordick, who after an investigation finally admitted that he was behind the attempt to smear candidate Camillo. Camillo has been a public supporter of President Trump, however according to the New York Post, “in 2016 locals voted for Hillary Clinton over the billionaire in the presidential race, 57 to 39 percent.”

 

Capt. Kordick, who is a 54-year-old registered Democrat and a 31-year-year veteran of the force, had this to say to in a statement:

“I was trying to point out [Camillo’s] hypocrisy. You can’t distance yourself from your own party. I was making an honest association. It was certainly designed to provoke thought. Every person in Greenwich who doesn’t have the same privilege I do as a white male heterosexual is affected by Republican national politics when it comes to issues of racial equality, ethnic equality, women’s rights and LBGTQ rights.” 

Kordick also explained to the New York Post that he is one of only a few [outwardly] “progressively minded police officers” on his department.

Camillo explained to reporters in regards to Kordick’s actions, “He [Kordick] was very deceptive. He was deliberately misleading the voters. This is a police officer; it could have been Camillo/Reagan or Camillo/Roosevelt. I didn’t authorize this. That’s the issue here.”

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This is also not the first time that Kordick has been disciplined by his department for pushing his political views.

According to The Post, “In 2015 he used his official email for political purposes and was forced to undergo counseling.”

Kordick has appeared in the news at other points in his career, as the Greenwich times reported in 2018, “Kordick was taking part in a meeting on the town’s retirement board of which he is a member. His behavior during the meeting led to letters of complaint, according to the report, leading to disciplinary action.”

Kordick’s view on the whole situation comes down to this:

“I’m a resident, a taxpayer and a registered voter here.  I’m entitled to have political views and participate in the political process. I should have the same rights as anyone else to put up political signs.” 

It is unclear whether Kordick violated any laws regarding Connecticut’s State Election Enforcement Commission, or his own department’s policies and procedures, when he purchased the signs with his own money and placed them around town.

However, Kordick did tell The Post that, “They [the police department] haven’t actually identified any violation of policy, I edited our 600-page policy manual. I am certainly not aware of protected political speech that occurs off-duty that is a violation of policy in any way.”

The police department is currently still investigating.

In an odd contrast however, as a State Representative, Camillo has been a large supporter of the police, and his own local department and officers.  In 2017, Camillo testified before the Public Safety & Security Committee at the Connecticut Legislature on a bill he created, H.B. No. 5174, An Act Concerning the Penalty for Assault of an Off-Duty Police Officer or Department of Correction Employee.

 

According to the CT Patch, “The bill call[ed] for the punishment of any individual who deliberately assaults, and causes bodily injury to, an identifiable, off-duty police officer or corrections officer, assuming the off-duty official is not the initial aggressor. The law would serve to protect off-duty law enforcement officials who are specifically targeted because of their profession, and possibly due to a prior incident where they arrested or testified against an individual.”

At the time of his testimony Camillo commented, “We all benefit from having law enforcement professionals live amongst us in each of the 169 municipalities.  As we all know and observe each day, these brave men and women are never truly ‘off duty’.  Instead, they provide us comfort in knowing they are out in public, and are usually always there to protect us, even when ‘off the clock’. I think it is imperative that we afford them the same peace of mind and degree of protection off-duty as they provide when they are on-duty and coming to the aid of their fellow citizens. Without this, I fear there will come a day when off-duty police officers will not be willing to do what comes natural to them: protecting innocent citizens.”

It appears from the Connecticut General Assembly website that in 2017 the bill never made it out of the committee process.

Regardless of Camillo’s municipal race that will be decided on Tuesday, he was concerned about how this news would affect the men and women who serve on his police department.

“My main concern is about the [reputation] of the police department being tainted by this,” Camillo stressed to reporters, “In no way does this reflect upon the police department. This is the actions of one guy.”


 

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