Soliciting causes concern

By Sabryna Cornish

A local union is using NIU’s name to help solicit funds, and the department of public safety doesn’t like it.

The Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 86 has contracted a company to solicit donations from DeKalb residents. The telemarketers are asking for donations that will be used for drug and alcohol pamphlets and the purchase of bulletproof vests, said lodge President George Liepins.

The department of public safety is upset, however, that the solicitors are using the University Police’s name when asking for donations.

James Elliott, NIU director of public safety, said that the University Police are not involved in the fund-raising effort.

“We are concerned that there is some confusion going on with this fund-raiser,” Elliott said.

Liepins, however, said the lodge’s official name is the NIU FOP Lodge 86, according to their charter and the solicitors use the NIU name because “there is no other way to advise the general public where we are.”

Liepins said the soliciting is “strictly above board and there is nothing secretive going on.”

The fund-raising has raised $20,000 for the projects, but JAK Productions Inc. refused to comment on how much of the solicited money they were keeping.

The lodge employed JAK Productions to do the soliciting so as not to cause any problems by having police officers solicit, Liepins said.

The members of the lodge include police officers and dispatchers from the UPs.

Liepins said he wants to purchase bulletproof vests for officers to wear all the time. And that is another issue that doesn’t sit well with Elliot.

“The entire issue of bulletproof vests is emotionally driven and implies to the public that NIU is a violent jurisdiction,” Elliott said.