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Candidates for 2008 IACP Office Gary L. Vest

am campaigning for IACP fourth vice president on the belief that the issues facing local law enforcement agencies and local communities are underrepresented as national and international problems and that through the IACP, we can work for changes that directly affect local crime and serve a broader purpose. If elected, I will represent the important goals and needs of members from both large and small agencies represented in our organization. The IACP is, most importantly, about its members: identifying key challenges and moving toward solutions, to the benefit of all members.

I have served for the past 12 years as chief of police in Powell, Ohio. Here I strive to meet the highest standards of ethics and integrity that my community expects, and I have been fortunate to experience the challenges and rewards that leading a small-town force brings. At the same time, as an elected member of the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police Executive Board and as its president (2006–2007), I have gained state, national, and international experience and brought about significant changes for Ohio’s law enforcement community.

Bringing together community, government, and business organizations has been a formula I have found effective as the lead officer in the creation of the Ohio Local Law Enforcement Information Sharing Network (OLLEISN), a highly effective program now enabling over 750 agencies across Ohio to share information electronically. I was instrumental in bringing Florida’s child abduction response team (CART) concept to Ohio. I served as a member of the Functional Standards Committee for the Law Enforcement Information Technology Standards Council (LEITSC), a national project supported by the IACP, the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE), the National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA), and the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF), resulting in published standards for law enforcement dispatch and record management system design. In addition, I have participated in the summit on intelligence-led policing as well as the mentoring program on behalf of the IACP, among other programs. I believe that the synergy of local law enforcement partnerships with state and federal agencies creates a superior result for all parties.

Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the world often seems upside down for local law enforcement agencies. Our funding streams have been diverted from the traditional Byrne Grants, Local Law Enforcement Block Grants, and Justice Assistance Grants to homeland security. Changing the funding strategies has not necessarily resulted in a safer, better-prepared local law enforcement community. If elected, I will work to bring local, state, and tribal alongside federal law enforcement agencies at the planning table, rather than jump through the federal bureaucratic hoops after the plan is developed.

Current grant programs designate terrorism prevention and response as the top priorities for local agencies, but terrorism is still not a statistical reference in either the Uniform Crime Report or the National Incident-Based Reporting System. The distribution of funding has failed to support a national strategy to create cross-jurisdictional interoperability of voice and data communication, which is essential to fighting all forms of crime. The backbone of voice and data communications must be paid for at the federal level, and the burden should not be a local problem. I will lobby for funding to help build a national infrastructure to support law enforcement data sharing and communication in collaboration with the Law Enforcement National Data Exchange (N-DEx) and other federal initiatives. I will use the same collaborative methodologies that I found effective in creation of the Ohio information-sharing model, currently the largest of its kind in the United States. Our greatest challenge will be to close a very large gap between agencies that have resources and those that do not.

Even before the fusion center concept became widespread, we already had regional task forces, Regional Information Sharing Systems (RISSs), Law Enforcement Online (LEO), the International Justice and Public Safety Information Sharing Network (NLETS), and a variety of other systems. We need to build on the existing infrastructure and take advantage of the accomplishments of those that have gone before us, with a goal of identifying and eliminating redundant programs that essentially seek to achieve similar outcomes.

I love this profession and believe that only through our association can we make the effective changes necessary to support local law enforcement agencies. I pledge to be a strong voice for these agencies, representing your interests at the national level. For those of you unable to attend the conference in San Diego, due to financial or other reasons, I sincerely wish to voice your concerns and represent your interests. To this end, I invite you to visit my Web site,, to contact me or to learn more about my candidacy.



From The Police Chief, vol. LXXV, no. 9, September 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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