Police & Fire Department in Oklahoma Will Not Fundraise for Salvation Army (June 18, 2019)

Both the Claremore Police Department and Claremore Fire Department will no longer use official time and resources to fundraise for the Salvation Army after FFRF pointed out the unconstitutionality of such practices.

A local Claremore resident informed FFRF that multiple police officers rang bells for the Salvation Army during the 2018 holiday season. The Claremore Police Department reportedly competed with the Rogers County Sheriff’s Office and the Claremore Fire Department to fundraise for the religious ministry.

FFRF Staff Attorney Ryan Jayne wrote to Chief of Police Stan Brown and Fire Chief Sean Douglas to inform them of the explicitly religious nature of the Salvation Army. “The Salvation Army is not merely a charity or chain of thrift stores — it is a church denomination with an evangelical mission,” Jayne wrote.

Claremore City Attorney Bryan Drummond responded to FFRF’s complaints with assurances that the fundraising will not continue.

“I have spoken with the fire chief and police chief and informed them that no fundraising activities can take place during duty time or in an official uniform,” Drummond wrote. “I have also informed them that if individual members of either department or their unions want to do fundraising activities for the Salvation Army, it must be done on non-duty time and not in their official uniforms. Both chiefs have assured me that they will ensure this does not happen again.”

Freedom From Religion Foundation