Flood Column: The Cash, The Club, The FOP


The Cash, The Club, The FOP
A Commentary
IPSN July 16, 1997

By John J. Flood
President, CCPA

I was driving in my car the other day and the only thing on my mind was what I was going to make for dinner that night — should I mash the potatoes or should I slice them?

The big concern, of course, was, should I buy the fancy Potato Slicer or a competitor’s nifty little potato masher?

While I was driving, the answer came to me in the form of the suave voice of Bill Nolan, the President of the problem plagued Fraternal Order of Police, which is supposed to spend all of its time fighting for the rights of Chicago’s 10,000-plus Police Officers.

There was Nolan, a longtime bureaucrat who hasn’t walked a police beat in years, hawking on behalf of “The Club” in a radio commercial that was being broadcast on WBBM AM Radio.

When I talk about “The Club,” I’m not talking about Bare Assets, the strip joint for men. I am talking about that red and silver metal bar that snaps onto your steering wheel and that allegedly sends would-be car thieves scurrying home out of frustration to their mothers.

Nolan bragged in this radio commercial that he has been advocating that the public purchase “The Club” for some four or five years.

And, he asserted, that, thanks to The Club, car thefts are down.

That was interesting to me, because I read in the newspaper the same day that car thefts were actually increasing in Cook County. Seems that some clever car thieves figure that the best place to steal cars is from the parking lot of a Cook County court house. All the cops are too busy fighting with over-lenient judges to worry about whether or not a car is being stolen outside.

Obviously, not too many people in the law enforcement profession agree with Nolan’s unequivocal endorsement of The Club as a real deterrent for vehicle theft, or else there wouldn’t be so many cars stolen from right under their noses at court houses around Cook County.

But, it made me wonder, anyway!

Why is Nolan flakking for The Club?

Could it be because it works so well, which is currently the subject of dispute?

Or, because the FOP just needs the extra cash?

(I don’t even know if Nolan is being paid for the commercial, although I assume he is because there is no disclaimer on the radio advertisement claiming he is doing it for, say, the sake of police safety, for example.)

I think it has more to do with the FOP’s priorities in life.

Is Bill Nolan thinking about the interests of Police Officers these days, as their union representatives? Or are they busy thinking about other things?

We know the FOP has a poor record of standing up for their men in places like Cicero, where the mob runs rampant over police rights. They’re not very good negotiators, either. Just ask any Chicago Cop. Some police officers think they got a terrible contract deal with the city, and that it is the FOP’s fault.

But, if the concern is just “The Cash,” I can understand Nolan taking time out from his FOP responsibilities to sit behind a microphone and peddle nifty little gadgets like The Club.

Good voice, Bill. That’s a key to radio success.

Who knows, maybe there is a future for Nolan in hawking gimmick inventions like The Club. Someone at the Home Shopping Network might hear Nolan’s voice on radio pushing people to buy The Club and hire him to help them peddle other things, like Cubic Zirconia, or recyclable bullet-proof vests.

Or, maybe he can take his shtick on the road and help raise money for politicians and judges, while he’s at it.

God knows, when you are the FOP and you represent Chicago’s 10,000-plus Chicago Police Officers, you have a lot of time on your hands to fight for other things besides police rights, like … The Club, or raise money for politicians, and the Judges.