On June 29th, 2015, Walt McNeil picked up the endorsement of the Big Bend Police Benevolent Association in his run for Leon County Sheriff in 2016.
Suddenly that has changed. In a press release sent to TR today, the Big Bend PBA announced they have withdrawn the endorsement.
The press release stated:
On June 29, 2015, the Big Bend Chapter of the Florida Police Benevolent Association endorsed Walt McNeil’s candidacy for Leon County Sheriff. Recently, Mr. McNeil stated that he opposed unions and would fight against a union at the sheriff’s office if elected. Mr. McNeil’s position is disappointing to the PBA and is contrary to one of the fundamental purposes of the organization.
Big Bend PBA President Steven B. Slade stated “this Association cannot and will not endorse anyone who does not support deputies’ rights to collectively bargain;” therefore, the Big Bend Chapter has withdrawn its endorsement of Walt McNeil for Leon County Sheriff.
McNeil is the former chief of the Tallahassee and Quincy police departments. The Big Bend PBA represents approximately 500 law enforcement officers in North Florida, including the Florida State University and Florida A&M University police departments.
McNeil is in a race with current Sheriff Mike Wood and former Leon County Sheriff Office veterans Tommy Mills and Charlie Strickland.
TR is seeking comment from all candidates.