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Solutions for the Smaller Agency

Guest Editors: Elaine Deck, Senior Program Manager, Smaller Law Enforcement Agency Program, IACP; Ben Ekelund, Project Manager, Smaller Law Enforcement Agency Program, IACP; and Erin Vermilye, Manager, Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP), IACP

ore than 94 percent of the more than 12,500 local police agencies across the United States serve populations of 50,000 or fewer. Since 1998, the IACP Smaller Law Enforcement Agency Technical Assistance Program, with support from the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), has reached thousands of smaller, rural, and tribal police agencies in the United States with resources and training that are designed for and delivered by smaller agency executives.

Please visit the Smaller Law Enforcement Agency Program’s website at Resources currently offered through the program include the following:
  • Best Practices guides
  • The New Police Chief Mentoring Project featuring new online profile mentorboard
  • Internal and community surveys
  • Online training for supervisors, commanders, and executives
  • The Big Ideas for Smaller Law Enforcement Agencies newsletter
  • The Smaller Agency Certificate Track at the annual IACP conference
An advisory group of smaller agency leaders, who assist in the development and the distribution of resources, guides the IACP’s Smaller Agency Program. The program also collaborates with the IACP Smaller Agency Section to address the issues of members and bring a collective voice to this underrepresented majority.

This month’s issue of Police Chief magazine will explore the topic of solutions for smaller agencies. Articles featured this month include

  • “Transforming Underperforming Smaller Agencies into High-Performance Organizations,” by Chief Paul Schultz from the Cannon, Colorado, Police Department;
  • “Staffing the ‘Small’ Department: Taking Stock of Existing Benchmarks and Promising Approaches,” by Jeremy Wilson, PhD, and Alexander Weiss, PhD, from Michigan State University;
  • “Evidence-Based Policing in Smaller Agencies: Challenges, Prospects, and Opportunities,” by Cynthia Lum, PhD, from George Mason University; and
  • “The Future of Policing in America: Bringing the Voice of Smaller Agencies to the National Dialogue,” by Ben Ekelund, IACP

Amid the current emphasis on adopting evidence-based practices (EBP) in the field of law enforcement, the editorial staff sought submissions from researchers and practitioners nationwide that discussed the application of EBP in smaller agencies. Oftentimes, smaller agencies are not the focus of research in the field, and existing best practices do not always translate to a smaller agency. By bringing the needs and the concerns of smaller law enforcement agencies to the fore through the IACP Smaller Agency Section and Program, the IACP hopes to foster partnerships among academics and smaller agency practitioners to develop those practices that will allow smaller law enforcement agencies to thrive in the 21st century.

We hope you enjoy this edition of the Police Chief magazine!  ♦

Please cite as:

Elaine Deck, Ben Ekelund, and Erin Vermilye, "Solutions for the Smaller Agency," The Police Chief 80 (April 2013): 26.


From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 4, April 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

The official publication of the International Association of Chiefs of Police.
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