By Elizabeth Currier, Manager, IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police, Alexandria, Virginia
|(Left) Lieutenant Adrienne Quigley, Arlington County, Virginia,|
Police Department, receives an appreciation plaque from
Chief Terry Milam, St. John, Missouri, Police Department
and SACOP general chair, for her work as a fellow with the
division in the SafeShield Project.
(Right) President Laine addresses the division membership
at the general business meeting.
he IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP) recently concluded its 2009 midyear conference in Irvine, California. Fifty-eight delegates representing 28 states met March 7–9 to address the concerns of law enforcement administrators and the state associations. Terry Milam, chief of police in St. John, Missouri, and general chair of SACOP, led the conference.
SACOP, one of three IACP membership divisions, regularly brings together leaders of state associations to help them establish new levels of communication, coordinate state association activities, and create a forum for balancing states’ views on significant law enforcement issues.
|(Left to right) Chief Michael Robinson, Oklahoma State |
University Department of Public Safety, Stillwater, Oklahoma;
Chief Val Shupe, South Ogden, Utah, Department of Public Safety;
Chief James Billings, Pueblo, Colorado, Police Department;
and Chief Barry Bedford, Coralville, Iowa, Police Department,
discuss concerns at the Chiefs Issue Roundtable.
Photographs by Erin Schrad, Virginia Association
of Chiefs of Police
Programs Affecting States
SACOP maintains an active role in encouraging and supporting committed traffic enforcement, especially for sustained enforcement efforts in three priority areas: impaired driving, speed, and occupant restraints. As part of that commitment, the plenary session at the midyear meeting dealt with traffic safety issues.
Michael Brown, California deputy secretary for public safety, addressed SACOP members during the plenary session. He provided the background on a unique partnership between the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Assistance and National Institute of Justice. This partnership is focused on reducing social harm and improving the quality of life within local communities by demonstrating Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS). Working with nonfederal partners, DDACTS facilitates a local law enforcement operational strategy built around timely and accurate data collection, mapping techniques, and analysis to indentify the nexus of crime and traffic safety. The presentation outlined the strategies of six demonstration sites for the project. It is expected that a guide explaining the process, demonstrating the benefits, and outlining the demonstration sites’ successes will be issued for municipalities to use as a template in their communities.
Additionally, Jack Champlin, deputy regional administrator for NHTSA Region 9, presented an overview of the NHTSA’s key life-saving traffic law enforcement initiatives, including such national high-visibility enforcement mobilizations as “Click It or Ticket” to increase seat belt use and the “Drunk Driving. Over the Limit. Under Arrest.” crackdown on impaired driving. Champlin also discussed emerging strategies in speed management.
The SafeShield Project is a long-term SACOP initiative that examines existing and cutting-edge technology, training, and policy with the goal of providing all officers with a protective environment so that they can return home safely every day.
During the midyear meeting, the SafeShield Committee discussed seeking funding for an 18-city pilot study on officer injuries. This study is intended to collect and organize data on officer injuries and to provide the basis for sound decisions regarding officer safety, whether in equipment design, training programs, or policy development.
SafeShield Committee members and their corporate partners also discussed the business plan of the project—specifically, how it can receive greater publicity and acceptance in the law enforcement community—and the establishment of an officer safety award. The committee also enjoyed several presentations, including updates on current injury research projects, safety product enhancements, and a Motorola project that analyzes the physical responses of human beings in high-stress situations.
Smaller Department Section
The SACOP Smaller Department Section, chaired by Chief Milam, focuses on the needs of police departments that serve populations smaller than 25,000 or have fewer than 25 sworn officers. Those concerns include training, budgets, recruitment, annual IACP conference attendance, and retention. This group advises the IACP regarding the use of a U.S. Department of Justice grant that provides services, support, and technical assistance to smaller police departments.
The main project of this section has been the formation of a scholarship program to allow chiefs from smaller agencies to attend the annual IACP conference. The Police Chief’s Scholarship Program is designed to allow several police chiefs who are members in good standing of their state chiefs associations to attend the annual IACP conference for the first time. It is a common problem that police chiefs from smaller agencies, who constitute a very large majority of the IACP’s membership, do not attend because of funding difficulties. The Police Chief’s Scholarship is intended to provide complimentary conference registration, hotel accommodations up to four nights, and airfare. Additional costs, such as meals and local transportation, would be borne by the recipients. The plan for the scholarship is finalized and funding is secured; final approval from the IACP Board of Officers is still pending.
SACOP Educational Program
In addition to the plenary presentations, SACOP conducts specific educational programs for leaders of state associations. This year SACOP held roundtables for state association chiefs and executive directors.
Chiefs Issue Roundtable: SACOP continued its successful roundtable forum for presidents of the individual state associations. Attended by 47 chiefs, several items were discussed, including decriminalization of marijuana, donning and doffing acts, border enforcement, and illegal immigration issues. Many of the issues discussed centered around employment issues: standards for hiring, recruitment, collective bargaining, physical fitness requirements, tattoos and piercings, and Fair Labor Standards Act issues dealing with compensable hours and exemption rules. The roundtable provides an opportunity for chiefs to exchange ideas, share best practices, and raise concerns to the IACP leadership.
Executive Directors Committee Meeting and Roundtable: Executive directors of the state associations were provided with an opportunity to discuss matters of concern for the associations. The Executive Directors Committee works to strengthen each state association by exchanging best practices and programmatic information. The goal of instituting an online reference Web site for state associations was furthered at this meeting. The Web site will provide all the executive directors with a means to access best practices, management tools, and information from other chiefs associations. It is expected that the Web site will be functional in the next few months, as further refinements are implemented. The committee also worked on putting finishing touches on the mission statement and the strategic plan for the group.
The committee held focused roundtable discussions on association management issues, including sharing best ideas for successful state conferences, generating revenue in lean times, and effective communications with their members.
Chiefs Training: SACOP members attended several presentations at the conference. D.A.R.E. America presented an overview of evidence-based elementary and middle school over-the-counter and prescription drug abuse prevention.
Officer safety training modules developed by the division’s SafeShield Project were presented. These training modules are suitable for presentation during training sessions, conferences, or roll call. Four of the ten modules were presented by Lieutenant Adrienne Quigley, Arlington County, Virginia, Police Department. Lieutenant Quigley developed the modules as part of her yearlong fellowship with the division working on the SafeShield Project.
Finally, another session addressed the critical budget situation facing so many agencies. The process of prioritizing and making tough budget decisions was discussed using case studies. Jerry Needle, the IACP’s director of programs and research, led an interactive discussion with a panel including Yost Zakhary, chief of police and city manager, Woodway, Texas, and David Maggard, chief of police, Irvine, California, Police Department.
IACP Board of Officers
Members of the IACP Board of Officers attended the SACOP meeting. President Russell B. Laine addressed the members during the general business meeting on several legislative and programmatic initiatives. Also contributing their support, advice, and insight to the division’s deliberations were first vice president Chief Michael Carroll and fourth vice president Chief Craig Steckler.
The SACOP midyear conference enjoyed the support of many industry leaders and law enforcement partners. Assisting the division with its work were DynCorp International, the Security Industry Alarm Coalition, Motorola, DuPont Advanced Fibers Systems, D.A.R.E. America, SureFit, and W. L. Gore and Associates.
The California Police Chiefs Association hosted the event, providing a hospitality room for networking and much-deserved relaxation after the daily meeting and training. Additionally, Host Chief’s Night was held at Orange County Great Park and featured great food, a tethered hot-air balloon ride, and an overview of the ambitious plans for the further development of the park.
The Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police will host the next midyear meeting of the division in the Northern Virginia area in March 2010.
SACOP encourages all IACP members to become active in their state associations. State associations can have a tremendous impact on the focus and the direction of the IACP. ■