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Back to Archives | Back to October 2008 Contents 

Project of the Historic Committee: Collecting, Preserving, and Displaying the IACP’s History

By Mary Ann Viverette, Chief of Police (Retired), North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, and IACP Past President; Michael J. Carroll, Chief of Police, West Goshen Township Police Department, West Chester, Pennsylvania, and IACP Second Vice President; and David G. Walchak, Chief of Police (Retired), New Braunfels, Texas, and Chair, IACP Past Presidents Committee



t the direction of the IACP Executive Committee, the association is continuing its efforts and its commitment to capturing the association’s history and to bringing it before various law enforcement and public audiences.

The IACP has made significant contributions to the development of the law enforcement profession since its establishment in 1893. From its early work on uniform crime records and fingerprint identification to today’s efforts focusing on community policing programs, less-lethal weapons, and terrorism, the IACP has a rich and significant history in working to lead and advance policing services around the world.

As an association, we are working to pull the pieces of our history together in a manner that will allow us to tell our story or to share it with others through a display of historic artifacts. We need to collect these kinds of items to accomplish our goal, and this effort sets the IACP out on a long and somewhat complicated mission, which can be successful only with the support of the entire membership.

The IACP already has in its possession a variety of colorful and interesting items that are relics from our past. For example, we have a badge that was given to delegates at the 1939 annual meeting in San Francisco, California; a program from the Eighth Annual Convention, held in May 1901 in New York City; photos of all the delegates assembled in one place from a variety of early IACP conferences; and the content of a November 1892 letter that Chief Webber Seavey of Omaha, Nebraska—the IACP’s first president—sent to several police chiefs inviting them to join him in Chicago to discuss creating an association for law enforcement executives.

These are the kinds of items we seek, and we need to gather a good deal more.

To govern this collection process, the IACP Executive Committee approved a collections management policy document that governs our history-related activities. The document outlines the types of items of historic significance the association needs to secure. It suggests items such as publications, original correspondence, reports, photographs, audio and video recordings, conference banners and badges, gifts presented to the association, uniforms, hats, and equipment. All items selected for the IACP collection must have a clear connection to the association.

The policy addresses how these artifacts will be solicited and how they are to be added to the program. Any items offered to the association are to be described in correspondence to the IACP’s executive director. Items offered will be assessed for value and exhibition potential, uniqueness, the ability of the association to care for the object submitted, and a clear understanding of ownership or title of the item.

No item offered to the IACP will be accepted if it presents a danger to people or property, is a living collection, is a part of human remains, or if it violates international treaties or agreement laws. Items submitted for the collection must be in good condition and should not require extensive restoration work. They can be made available to the IACP as a gift, a bequest, or a loan.

We are grateful to the members who have been in touch with us and have contributed items to the collection. Again, this year in San Diego, we will be providing a display under this initiative in the IACP booth at the annual conference. Copies of the collection policy and other information regarding this initiative will be available.

All members are urged to stop by the display and to learn more about this program. We look forward to seeing you in November! ■


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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXV, no. 10, October 2008. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.








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