Members Of Police Order Battle Over Endorsement

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The president of Fraternal Order of Police, Gila Lodge Number Six, said its members still support Darrell Stubbs for Gila County Sheriff, despite the state lodge's decision not to endorse Stubbs or incumbent John Armer.

Gila Lodge President Robert Duber said he does not know why someone told the state lodge his group had not voted to support Stubbs.

"I don't know who did, or why it was done," Duber said. "But our secretary has the vote on the books."

Duber said he suspects someone did it maliciously, to hurt Stubbs.

On May 14, Stubbs, a lodge member for more than 20 years, asked the local lodge for its endorsement. The group unanimously voted to ask the state lodge to support Stubbs for sheriff.

"I showed up and represented myself and said I would like to have their endorsement," Stubbs said. "They explained that the local lodge can't endorse, but the state lodge can."

The lodge has about 80 members, but some were not present at the time of voting.

Duber said if a member was not at the meeting, their vote did not count.

"We take the best interest of the members at that point," he said. "It is going to make some people mad, not everyone is happy," he said of the endorsement.

At the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) convention on July 23, the state lodge voted to endorse Stubbs, Duber said.

But on Aug. 22, someone told the state lodge that lodge number six had not voted to support Stubbs.

"They won't tell us who did it," Duber said. "I think they know."

Stubbs said he believes Armer went and filed a complaint because he did not get an endorsement.

"I think the truth will come out that he is behind it," Stubbs said. "He had it pulled because he thought it could hurt me."

State lodge president Bryan Soller called Duber to say the state group would pull its endorsement.

"The state lodge pulled their endorsement without waiting for us to confirm or deny the statement," Duber said.

The state lodge is currently not supporting either candidate.

Sheriff John Armer, said in a statement, "It is apparent that lodge number six has a very specific agenda driven by its president, Bob Duber Sr., without regard or input from its membership. It is time those members take back their lodge."

Armer, a FOP member since 1968, said the state lodge determined there were improprieties in the vote.

Members of the lodge told Armer they were upset they were not advised of Stubbs' endorsement or allowed to vote their preference.

Duber said he contacted several lodge members who continue to support Stubbs.

"I don't know why this is getting out of hand, it's just stupid," Duber said. "It makes everyone look bad."

The FOP is a group made up of certified current and retired police officers.

The primary is today, Sept. 2. Polls remain open until 7 p.m.

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