The Bossier Parish (La.) Sheriff’s Office is boycotting its local Ford dealership because of Ford Motor Company’s support for protests of the National Anthem by National Football League (NFL) players at games, Sheriff Julian Whittington announced Wednesday.
Sheriff Whittington sent a letter to Hixson Ford of Alexandria notifying the dealership that his office would no long purchase Ford vehicles for “as long as Ford sides with these who have no regard for the men and women who protect and serve this great nation”:
“Yes, the NFL players have a right to protest as they deem necessary, but we, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office and the taxpayers of Bossier Parish have a right to spend our money elsewhere,” Whittington says in his letter posted on the office’s Facebook page.”
“It is my hope that this letter will cause you to encourage Ford Motor Co. to change their advertising choice and cease to support the NFL with advertising dollars until the NFL leadership demands its players show proper respect for our nation’s colors.”
After the letter to Hixson Automotive was received by Dallas L. Hixson, the Sheriff discussed the issue with Mr. Hixson, the Sheriff's office told CNSNews.com. Mr. Hixson informed Sheriff Whittington that he was not aware of Ford Motor Company’s support for NFL players who wish to protest during the National Anthem or during the game.
Hixson told Sheriff Whittington that such a stance concerns him as well, and he will be taking the Sheriff’s letter with him to Detroit to present to Ford Motor Co. leadership in the near future.
Sheriff Whittington says he is sending copies of the letter to each of the state’s 63 other sheriffs, as well as both the national and Louisiana sheriffs’ associations.
National Sheriffs' Association (NSA) Executive Director Jonathan Thompson tells CNSNews.com that NSA has received the letter and that sheriffs have both the authority and obligation to authorize, or decline, purchases based on the best interests of law enforcement and their communities:
"Sheriffs have the obligation to decide which products they authorize for bids, procurements and purchases. They choose, based upon a variety of requirements and capabilities, but also whom they believe is best able to support the broad needs of law enforcement and the communities they protect…"
Since 2016, the Bossier Sheriff’s Office has spent $747,132 and purchased 29 vehicles patronizing Hixon Autoplex. The Sheriff’s Office provided the following breakdown to CNSNews.com:
In 2016, BSO purchased 14 vehicles from Hixson Autoplex, costing $346,519.50. They included:
- One 2015 Ford F-150
- Two 2015 Ford F-250
- Six 2017 Ford Police Interceptor
- One 2017 Ford Explorer
- Three 2016 Ford Taurus
- One 2017 Ford Taurus
In 2017, BSO purchased 15 vehicles from Hixson Autoplex, costing $400,612.50. They included:
- Fifteen 2017 Ford Police Interceptor
Ford Motor Company issued a statement in late September supporting the right of the players to protest the National Anthem at NFL games, Bloomberg reports:
“Ford, for example, said the automaker would ‘respect individuals’ rights to express their views, even if they are not ones we share. That’s part of what makes America great.’”