am the chief of police of the Chaska, Minnesota, Police Department. The city of Chaska is located 20 miles southwest of Minneapolis. The population of my city is 24,000; the department has 24 officers and a total workforce of 29 people. We are a small police department; as such, we are representative of most police departments across the United States.
I have been a member of the Chaska Police Department for 32 years, and I have had the honor to serve as chief since January 2000. During the course of my career, I have served as a patrol officer, a school safety officer, a detective, a training officer, a field training officer, a firearms instructor, and a police fitness instructor. Prior to being appointed to chief, I held the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and deputy chief of police. My complete biography can be found at www.mnchiefs.org.
I have three daughters whose ages are 25, 22, and 3 (yes, three years old), and I have a four-year-old granddaughter. My wife and I are very blessed.
I accepted Minnesota’s request and nomination to run for IACP fourth vice president—a great honor to receive—because I want to be the voice of the small police agency on the IACP Board of Officers. When I started my career, I often worked alone as many of you do or have done. Many times my safety and survival were dependent on quality backup. Many times I was positioned to provide backup to officers in my neighboring communities. I want to be your backup on the IACP Board of Officers.
I would like to share my passion for the following law enforcement issues:
- Officer safety
- Federal funding
- Public-private partnerships
- The IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP)
- Information management and technology
Officer Safety: In 2007, the United States lost a total of 181 officers. Last year was sadly and tragically a record year for lost life. At the time of writing, the country has lost 70 officers in 2008. Although that is a 42 percent reduction from the same point last year, a good sign, there are still 70 more sister and brother officers who will not return to their families. As chair of the IACP Firearms Committee, I have made officer safety my absolute priority and mission. I have testified before Congress and have met with many congressional members on issues related to officer safety. I am very proud of our IACP summit report Taking a Stand: Preventing Gun Violence in Our Communities. I have given numerous presentations across the country on this topic, to police executives, officers, lawmakers, judges, and public policy makers.
The numbers mentioned here do not reflect the much greater numbers of officers who have been injured—officers who suffered line-of-duty injuries that kept them from working for a period of time or that forced them to retire altogether. Presently, there is no national database to which we can turn to obtain these numbers, which would enable us to view trends and adapt training and equipment applications accordingly.
As such, I fully support and advocate for the SACOP Division’s SafeShield initiative. We need to do all we can to be sure that all departments are knowledgeable of and engaged in our SafeShield efforts.
Federal Funding: We all know that federal funding for domestic law enforcement agencies has been radically reduced over the last eight years. As Minnesota’s SACOP representative, I have joined your states’ representatives walking the halls of Congress, lobbying for our needs. We point out that this lost funding, coupled with severe reductions in state and local budgets, has stripped hiring, training, and equipment budgets. Many agencies are trying very hard to avoid officer layoffs. We are indeed on the cusp of a funding crisis. I have been, and will continue to be, your voice and advocate for federal funding.
Public and Private Partnerships: Partnerships are so very necessary to our mission. Both public and private partnerships, which I have a long history of promoting, go to the heart of community policing. They also create avenues for innovative problem solving and funding to accomplish our many common goals. As a sign of my dedication to collaboration between the public and private sectors, I am a member of ASIS International, the private-side counterweight to the IACP.
SACOP: With all due respect to the other divisions of the IACP, I refer to SACOP as the “Senate” of the IACP. SACOP is the division for local/municipal agencies large and small—especially small. As SACOP representatives, we serve you. SACOP must be kept strong and vital; we need to bring it up to the same level as the other IACP divisions and upgrade the IACP staff position from SACOP manager to the director level.
Information Management and Technology: If you are not familiar with, and involved with, the Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) Section, you need to be. The success of your agency literally depends on your department’s level of engagement with LEIM and all the section has to offer.
As I have campaigned across the country, I have been honored by so many of you who have given your endorsements and pledges of support. Thank you. I sincerely want to be your voice—your backup. I humbly ask for your vote.