Page 39 - March 2021
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  sure members understood that the Lodge will keep fighting those in Springfield whose mindset is against law enforcement. “There’s also the aspect that not only is he talking to us, but anyone in the public can hear it, too,” Carroll submits. “So it’s his thoughts as president of what’s going on in the union, what is good, what is bad and what needs to be changed. It’s our job to get that message out that he is speaking on behalf of all of us
as a union.”
The current Lodge leadership always had a vision for inno-
vative ways to connect with members, something beyond the monthly general meetings that many do not, or cannot, attend. In October, they began looking at mechanisms such as podcasts and social media platforms to make that connection. With the average age of the Department getting younger, Catanzara set- tled on YouTube as the best way to reach members who weren’t coming to meetings and provide them with updates.
He started out in January using a cell phone to tape the re- ports. Carroll then tapped into his experience as a veteran member of the News Affairs Unit to find the right equipment for making videos. The Lodge purchased a high-tech camera with a wireless microphone and a tripod that is really a mobile tele- vision studio.
He has even filmed one of the episodes while attending a conference in Nashville. The reports have been weekly since the beginning of January. They are filmed on late Friday afternoon and posted immediately.
Nearly every episode has generated more than 4,000 views. The reports have become popular enough that when Catanzara missed one in early February, he received a bevy of messages questioning whether he was backing off.
Anybody who has seen one knows that is not that case. Take the Feb. 5 broadcast, for example, when he addressed the De- partment’s statement of moving to fire him by saying, “I don’t walk away from a fight, and this certainly isn’t going to scare me.”
This YouTube channel is vintage Catanzara, to be sure.
“It’s all off the cuff. Nothing is scripted,” he confirms. “I don’t want it to look like it’s edited. It’s all me. It’s from the heart. And it’s the way I’m going to keep it.”
And he will try not to pull any punches. So you can bet that more than a few reports will include discourses like this one from the Feb. 5 cast.
“In general, it shouldn’t be a surprise to anybody that this mayor is doing anything she can to muddy the waters, whether it’s to call me out, attack officers and, you know, anything they can do to make CPD look bad, they’re going to do. That’s sadly what they’ve resorted to, yet they kiss the feet of the teachers every single time. Hopefully, in the near future we can flip the script a little bit on that, but we’re going to keep fighting the good fight.”
The first wave of broadcasts has featured the Lodge 7 presi- dent pretty much going one-to-one with viewers. Like the start of a rollercoaster ride, he starts out stoically generating antici- pation but ultimately goes full-on voice of the members.
The Feb. 26 episode was the first to include multiple loca- tions, with the start in the courtyard and the shift back to the office. Catanzara revealed that future episodes will include oth- er voices and go on location in the districts, at outdoor events come spring and other venues.
More subscribers come on every week. Reading some of the comments from viewers confirms the impact of the communi- cations, including posts that read:
We need more police officers like this whom get it.
Do not allow them to conquer and divide! Now is the time for
Keep fighting the good fight. I think I can speak for all our
brothers and sisters here on the other side of the state line in Northwest Indiana that we support you.
And a rather interesting comment came following the Feb. 26 report from follower Johnny LoGalbo:
Thank you for all the good information John. I’m very sorry the union and all of you police officers are dealing with this conflict. I’m running for mayor in 2023. I support Law and Order and I support the police union and all the police officers.
Clearly, the impact of Catanzara and Lodge 7 on YouTube is palpable.
“Having John being able to speak about the issues and take back the narrative is important because a lot of times, it’s hard for the FOP to get traction in the media because of preconceived notions of who we are,” Carroll clarifies. “We get to hear what John has to say from his own mouth, and not just an interview that might be one-sided. That really enhances our presence.”
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