If their union has its way, rank-and-file Philadelphia police officers will be able to buy all the tickets they want to political beef-and-beer nights.

And maybe even some that they'd rather not purchase.

For the average cop, the lawsuit recently filed by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 5 to overturn the city's decades-old ban on political giving by police officers could fall into the category of things for which you shouldn't wish.

Officers now shielded from any requests that they contribute to political causes could find themselves being hit up for fund-raisers on a regular basis.

While the prohibition on making campaign donations has been lifted for firefighters, and restrictions on political activities loosened for all municipal workers, at least the City Charter ban on political contributions by police officers remains pretty much in force. That's as it should be, since citizens need to know that police services will be delivered without fear or favor based upon any political concerns.

The FOP insists that police shouldn't be treated like "second-class citizens" in being barred from exercising their political clout, even though one court ruling after another has upheld a city's right to sensibly limit politicking by municipal workers.

Certainly, there isn't much evidence that the local police union ever has trouble getting the ear of elected officials. The FOP's muscle when it comes to matters of concern to its members ranks up there with any other city union or special-interest group.

Were police officers freed to make campaign donations, no doubt the FOP's political-committee efforts might be even better armed.

On the flip side, citizens would have to wonder whether their police protection will become another area of City Hall at risk of being politicized. Their hope should be that the ban on political contributions by police officers survives the FOP challenge.