Chief of Police My name is Scott Knight. I am the chief of police of the Chaska, Minnesota, Police Department. The City of Chaska is located 20 miles to the southwest of Minneapolis. The population of my city is 24,000; we have 24 officers and a total work-force population of 29 people. We are a small police department, and, as such, we are representative of most police departments across the United States.
Candidate for Fourth Vice President
I have been a member of the Chaska Police Department for 33 years, and I have had the honor to have served as the chief since January of 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 the chief of police, I held the ranks of sergeant, lieutenant, and deputy chief of police. My complete biography can be found at www.mnchiefs.org.
In brief, I am the chair of the IACP Firearms Committee. I am a member of the IACP Executive Board and represent agencies whose populations are from 10,000 to 25,000. I am Minnesota’s SACOP representative. I am a graduate of the FBI National Academy. In 2008, I received the State of Minnesota Human Rights Award.
I have three daughters whose ages are 26, 23, and 4 (yes, four years old), and I have a 5-year-old granddaughter. My wife and I are very blessed. I am an avid runner and enjoy competitive racing. I am involved in and a supporter of the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run.
I accepted the request and nomination to run for IACP fourth vice president, which is 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 was dependent upon quality backup. Many times I was positioned to provide backup to officers in my neighboring communities. I strive to be your backup on the IACP Board of Officers.
I am very passionate about officer safety; federal, state, and municipal funding; public and private partnerships; SACOP; and information management and technology.
Officer Safety: In 2007, we lost a total of 181 officers. That year was sadly and tragically a record year of lost life. In 2008 we saw a dramatic reduction in officer line-of-duty deaths, with the lost number totaling 55. At the time of this writing, we have lost 66 officers in 2009. That is a 20 percent increase from 2008. These sister and brother officers will not return to their families. As chair of the IACP Firearms Committee, officer safety is my absolute priority and mission. I have testified before Congress and met with many congressional members on issues related to officer safety. I am very proud of our 2007 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.
It is vital to acknowledge that the numbers herein do not reflect the numbers of officers who have been injured on duty. The number of officers who suffered line-of-duty injuries that have kept them from working for a period of time, or retired them altogether, can only be estimated. Presently, there is no national database to which we can turn to learn these numbers and view trends in order to adapt training and equipment applications. I fully advocate for and support 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 had been radically reduced over the last eight years, and only now is slowly being restored. 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 and/or furloughs. We are indeed in a police- and public safety–funding crisis from state to state. I have been, and will continue to be, your voice and advocate for funding.
Public and Private Partnerships: These partnerships are so very necessary to our mission. These partnerships go to the heart of community policing. They also create avenues for innovative problem solving and funding to accomplish mutual goals. I have a long history of promoting these partnerships. I am a member of ASIS International, which is the private security–side counterweight of the IACP. Indeed the IACP has long maintained a robust committee—the Private Sector Liaison Committee (PSLC)—to enhance and keep strong public/private partnerships.
SACOP: Local and municipal agencies large and small, especially small, SACOP is your division. As SACOP representatives, we serve you. SACOP must be kept strong and vital. It is important that all state associations are active and engaged in SACOP affiliation.
Information Management and Technology: If you are not familiar with, and involved with, the Law Enforcement Information Management (LEIM) Section, you should be. The success of your agency literally depends upon your department being engaged with LEIM and all it has to offer. As your representative, I will assist our LEIM stakeholders with all of their endeavors.
As I have traveled across the country, to campaign, teach, train, and participate in state association and IACP meetings, I have been honored by so many of you who have given pledges of support. Thank you. I sincerely want to be your voice—your backup. I humbly ask for your vote.