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President's Message

IACP Constitutional Review: Time to Make Your Voice Heard

By Craig T. Steckler, Chief of Police (Retired), Fremont, California, Police Department

At the beginning of my term as President and with the concurrence and approval of the Board of Officers and Executive Committee, I convened a committee to review the IACP Constitution. This committee was tasked with performing an in-depth review of the association’s governing document. Such a review ensures that the goals of our organization remain clear and consistent with the desires of the membership, and at the same time, that modern, professional and meaningful business practices are at work in support of our goals. The general accepted practice for nonprofit associations is to have their constitutions reviewed every three to five years. The last comprehensive review of the IACP constitution was in 2001–2002 more than twelve years ago.

The members of this committee were carefully selected to reflect the geographic and demographic diversity of our membership as well as to provide a variety of perspectives and experience. The committee was chaired by IACP Parliamentarian Ellen Hanson and its members were selected for this committee because of their long association with the IACP, their exposure to its operating principles, and their dedication to ensuring the association’s future success.

The following members of the IACP Board of Officers and the Executive Committee served on the review panel: Chief Ronal Serpas, Third Vice President; Chief Dwight Henninger, Vice-President Treasurer; Colonel Nelson Garcia, International Vice President; Chief Russell Laine, Chair of the IACP Past Presidents Committee; Chief Susan Riseling; and Chief Randy Lane. In addition, I also asked Ms. Leslie McGill, Executive Director of the California Police Chiefs Association, and Chief James McLaughlin (retired) Executive Director of the Texas Police Chiefs Association in order to benefit from their perspectives as the leaders of two of the many successful state police chief associations. The Committee was staffed by IACP Executive Director Bart Johnson and Gene Voegtlin, director of the IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police.

During their deliberations, the committee was guided by two key principles:

  • The IACP Constitution must support our efforts to streamline the IACP and usher in contemporary, 21st Century Policing and successful nonprofit association practices; and,
  • Remove any bureaucratic processes and rules that inhibit the ability of the association to meet its objectives.

At the same time, the committee also worked to ensure that it kept in place safeguards that are afforded by a modern constitution and set of rules.

The committee members met several times throughout the year, invited comments and suggestions from the membership, and provided the Executive Committee with updates on their deliberations. Throughout the process, all parties involved were focused on the potential impact that these changes could have on our association and its future.

I am pleased to report that the work of the committee is now complete, and they have recommended that 12 proposed amendments to the IACP Constitution be placed before the membership at the Philadelphia conference. As required by the IACP Constitution, the proposed amendments have been reviewed and approved by the IACP Executive Committee at their August board meeting in Alexandria. In addition, a copy of these proposals has been mailed to all active members. (They are also available for review on the IACP website.)

Each of these proposed amendments represents an opportunity to ensure that the IACP adopts modern, professional, nonprofit association business practices; provides for greater representation of the membership; and allows our association to adapt its operations to reflect the needs and concerns of the membership. I, along with the Board of Officers and Executive Committee, am fully supportive of all 12 amendments and believe that their adoption is essential to the future growth and continuing success of the IACP. I urge you to support them as well.

In order to be adopted, a proposed amendment to the IACP Constitution must receive the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the active membership present and voting during the annual conference. Voting on proposed amendments will take place on Monday, October 21. The polling booths will open at 8:00 a.m. and close at 4:00 p.m.

If you are attending the 2013 IACP Annual Conference in Philadelphia, I encourage you to make your voice heard by taking the opportunity to vote on these important amendments. It is my firm belief that approval of these proposed amendments will enhance the governance and operation of our association, ensure the continuing success of the IACP, and allow us to fulfill our vision of “Serving the Leaders of Today and Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow.” ♦

Please cite as:

Craig T. Steckler, "IACP Constitutional Review: Time to Make Your Voice Heard," President’s Message, The Police Chief 80 (September 2013): 6.


PDF Version of this Article


From The Police Chief, vol. LXXX, no. 9, September 2013. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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