PALM SPRINGS, Calif. -

Local law enforcement is now getting involved in the 36th Congressional District race. Monday six area police officer associations criticized Dr. Raul Ruiz for remarks he made as part of a protest in college.

Dr. Ruiz is challenging incumbent Mary Bono Mack for the Coachella Valley seat.

The Bono Mack campaign first brought the controversial comments to light last week when it released an audio recording.
     
"If Leonard Peltier is guilty, then we are all guilty because we seek out history," Ruiz said in the recording.

Leonard Peltier is a Native American activist convicted of killing two FBI agents in 1975 serving life in prison.

William Hutchinson, the president of the Palm Springs Police Officer's Association, says, "Anybody that comes out in support of cop killers and clams police brutality and goes back and forth about their statement, those are all concerns to law enforcement. "

The police officer's associations in Palm Springs, Cathedral City, Desert Hot Springs, Indio, San Bernardino and Corona; all were offended by Ruiz's remarks.
 
Mike Soubirous, the president of the Riverside County Peace Officer Memorial Foundation, says, "You just find it offensive when people have made comments such as labeling a man a hero for being a convicted cop killer.  That tarnishes the reputation of the lives that are laid on the line by these officers."

But, Dr.Ruiz says that's not him at all.

"I support law enforcement and I support everything that they do for our community," said Ruiz.

Ruiz says he read from a letter while he was in college more than 10 years ago.

"When we talk about what this campaign is about, it's not about looking at what I did in college, its about what we are going to do as a community for the future," said Ruiz.

But, these officer associations don't buy it.

"We don't understand how he can write this off as simply someone who is young and dumb and in college and made a stupid decision.  He was a 27-year-old man at the time he was older than a couple of these officers that were brutality murdered by these men when he was reading these statements," said Hutchinson.

Ruiz says he no longer supports those views.

"I think that seniors and our middle class and our students are frustrated that Congresswoman Bono Mack is participating in the politics of personal destruction and personal attack when what really matters to our seniors and middle class and students is medicare we talk about the issues that they care about," said Ruiz.

The bottom line is the police officer's associations want to see action.

Hutchinson says, "What has Dr. Ruiz done has he reached out to the families of these murdered men?  Has he reached out to them to express any condolences to express his new position on this? What has Dr. Ruiz done in the last ten years to support law enforcement?"

We contacted Mary Bono Mack's campaign, and they told us that the congresswoman agrees with these police officer's associations, even going as far as to call Dr.  Ruiz's comments outrageous and inappropriate.

We should note none of these associations have endorsed either campaign.