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Back to Archives | Back to November 2007 Contents 


The 2008 National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference, July 21–26, 2008

The 2008 National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference will host thousands of participants for the 16th biennial National Law Enforcement Exploring Conference. The conference will take place July 21–26, 2008, at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. This highly successful event began in 1979 at Michigan State University, with nearly a thousand participants. One of the reasons for the success of the conference has been the advisers’ active support and participation.

The conference program consists of several days of exciting competitions and events. The team competitions include arrest and search techniques, bomb threat response, crime prevention, crime scene search, domestic-crisis intervention, shoot/don’t shoot, hostage negotiation, burglary in progress, traffic accident investigation, traffic stop, white-collar crime, and emergency field first aid. Individual events include police physical performance testing, air pistol competition, pistol competition (9mm), sample written examination, drill competition, bike policing, and an emergency vehicle operations course.

Seminars are held throughout the conference and include such topics as bomb investigations, combating terrorism in the United States, executive protection, exploring leadership development, fugitive investigations, gang recognition and identification, hate crimes and terrorism on the Internet, narcotics trafficking and interdiction, protecting U.S. national borders, psychological profiling, surveillance methods and technology, and self-defense.

The IACP sponsors a few events at the conference. At the career fair, Explorers can learn about career opportunities with law enforcement agencies. Exploring USA is a program that features displays promoting exploring and a successful post program.

The conference is open to all law enforcement exploring posts; however, the number of Explorers that can be accommodated is limited. Police departments with Explorers should therefore consider right away whether they wish to attend. For more information, contact Law Enforcement Exploring at 1325 West Walnut Hill Lane, S210, Irving, TX, 75038. Conference information is available online at .

Reducing Gun Violence

Nearly 30,000 U.S. lives are lost to gun violence each year—a number far higher than in any other developed country. Since 1963, more U.S. citizens have died as a result of non–combat-related gunfire than perished in combat in the whole of the 20th century. The impact goes far beyond the dead and injured; gun violence reaches across borders and jurisdictions and compromises the safety of everyone along the way. No other industrialized country suffers as many gun fatalities and injuries as the United States—and no community or individual is immune.

The law enforcement profession understands and embraces its leadership role in combating gun violence. When U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation data for 2006 showed gun violence rates rising for the second consecutive year, with many Midwestern cities leading the trend, the IACP convened a meeting of law enforcement leaders and others concerned with gun violence from around the Midwest in Chicago in April 2007 at the Great Lakes Summit on Gun Violence, with support from the Joyce Foundation. Attendees reviewed the research, listened to experts, shared information, and worked together to draft recommendations. The report resulting from this summit may come from a regional group, but it addresses a national problem; therefore, it demands national attention. The recommendations focus on three key concerns:

  • Keeping communities safe by improving public understanding about the risks of gun violence, working with community leaders, and reducing easy access to firearms, especially for at-risk individuals

  • Preventing and solving gun crimes by stopping the flow of illegal guns, sharing information among jurisdictions, and training officers to respond to gun crimes, including tracing all guns

  • Keeping police officers safe by reducing the firepower available to criminals, providing protective technologies, and improving training and support for officers in handling guns and situations involving guns and their aftermath

The full report is available on the Internet at; click on publications and the report title: Taking a Stand: Reducing Gun Violence in Our Communities.

New Report on Fusion Centers

The decentralized U.S. law enforcement system, consisting of more than 18,000 separate police departments in the United States, serves as both a strength and a weakness, as outlined in the new Manhattan Institute’s Center for Policing Terrorism report, State Fusion Center Processes and Procedures: Best Practices and Recommendations. The strength is that U.S. police are better attuned to their local communities and are directly accountable to their concerns. In contrast, the weakness in the post–September 11 world, where information sharing is key, is caused by the sheer number of agencies, which impedes information sharing.

Fusion centers—state and regional intelligence centers that pool information from multiple jurisdictions—are the primary platforms for improving law enforcement’s intelligence sharing capabilities. Federal agencies are not built to be the eyes and ears of local communities; local law enforcement—with the right training and support—can be. Yet there is still much to do to fully enlist state and local law enforcement in the war on terrorism.

In the report, the Manhattan Institute’s Center for Policing Terrorism offers 12 recommendations for establishing new—or enhancing existing—fusion centers. Since the resources available to state and local governments are constrained, the report provides recommendations deemed to be both necessary and resource-neutral components of a well-functioning fusion center.

To view the report, visit the Manhattan Institute Web site for the Center of Policing Terrorism at


From The Police Chief, vol. 74, no. 11, November 2007. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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