By Mark Dunaski, Chief of Minnesota State Patrol and General Chair, Division of State and Provincial Police
Colonel Mark Dunaski, chief, Minnesota State Patrol, and general chair, Division of State and Provincial Police
During the State of State Police discussions, “doing more with less” was a challenge voiced by many of the attendees.
Michael J. Carroll, chief of police, West Goshen Township Police Department, West Chester, Pennsylvania, and IACP President
he 2010 IACP Division of State and Provincial Police (S&P) held its midyear meeting March 9–12 at the Hilton Alexandria Old Town hotel in Alexandria, Virginia. Representatives attended from 41 of the 52 member agencies, marking an unprecedented level of participation at an S&P conference. Each year, this midyear meeting offers an outstanding opportunity to engage with state police superintendents, highway patrol commissioners, and provincial police chiefs who share critical responsibilities.
While in the Washington, D.C., area, the S&P members joined with members of the IACP Legislative Committee and the Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP) on March 9 for the IACP’s biennial Day on the Hill. IACP representatives held individual meetings with members of Congress and their staffs to explain IACP’s position on issues important to the law enforcement community.1
The State of State Police
On Wednesday and most of Thursday, the S&P members hosted the State of State Police, a strategic planning session. Despite the depth and breadth of state police responsibilities, S&P members have been concerned that there is an inherent lack of understanding of what the state and provincial agencies are and the integral role they play in law enforcement’s efforts to protect citizens and establish safer communities. In addition to providing traditional law enforcement functions and answering calls for service throughout their states, these agencies also serve as the primary providers or the sole sources for such specialized services as emergency management, government security and executive protection, marine, aviation, canine, SWAT, explosive detection, and urban search and rescue units.
Planned in partnership with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), the State of State Police session was designed to gauge the status of state police today, provide a blueprint for future operational and policy directions, and educate key stakeholders on the essential roles state police play in public safety.
The session opened with addresses from IACP President Chief Michael J. Carroll and BJA Acting Director James Burch. Each voiced support of the S&P as an essential resource for information and direction on critical law enforcement issues. Acting Director Burch also encouraged information sharing among all justice stakeholders through initiatives such as Suspicious Activity Reporting (SAR) and Data-Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS).
When surveyed during the session on what they thought were the top critical issues, S&P members responded that budget difficulties, increased operational responsibilities, and technology were the most critical issues, not only today but also for the past 10 years and for 10 years in the future. “Doing more with less” was a challenge voiced by many of the attendees and some examples offered included networking with other state agencies to share best practices and saving money by consolidating with other agencies on responsibilities such as SWAT, bomb squads, and training.
A majority of the members said that their agencies are in a weaker financial position compared to 10 years ago. Some of the ramifications for budget deficits have been staff reductions, furloughs, training reductions, and equipment maintenance—all of which may affect officer safety.
A collective plan for the division’s future direction includes expanded use of Webbased collaboration among S&P agencies, engaging retired members for their input and participation in S&P activities, benefiting from regional meetings as feedback for agenda topics for the S&P annual conference, and promoting the value of S&P membership with states that don’t attend the meetings.
Memorial Service for Fallen Troopers
Each year, S&P holds a memorial service for those fallen in the line of duty. Joining S&P for this annual service was Craig Floyd, chairman and chief executive officer of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. The ceremony honored and remembered 12 state police officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2009.
Trooper of the Year Award
For 15 years, S&P has recognized the IACP/Motorola Trooper of the Year. This award acknowledges the dedication and courage of state and provincial law enforcement officers. Nominations for the 2009 award recognize officers for either a single event or multiple or interrelated events occurring between January 1, 2009, and December 31, 2009.
At the beginning of the award process, one nominee from each state police or highway patrol agency, one nominee from each of the provincial police agencies of Ontario and Quebec, and one nominee from each of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) four regions are selected, and their nominations are submitted to the appropriate S&P regional chair. The S&P members of each region then select one finalist to represent the region. All participating member agencies have one vote when selecting a candidate to represent their regions. A panel of appointed judges reviews the nominations of the four finalists submitted by the regions and makes the final selection for the Trooper of the Year. The panel consists of one representative from each of the four S&P regions and one panel member from either the RCMP or one of the provincial police agencies. Members of the final judging panel are selected from agencies that do not have a finalist under consideration. The recipient of the Trooper of the Year designation remains secret until announced at an awards banquet held at the conclusion of the S&P midyear meeting.
At this year’s banquet, Trooper Robert Lombardo of the Pennsylvania State Police was named Trooper of the Year for his heroic actions in response to a suspect who had threatened his wife with a handgun and abducted their nine-year-old son. Trooper Lombardo and Trooper Joshua Miller, also of the Pennsylvania State Police, pursued the abductor for approximately 40 miles and brought the vehicle to a sudden stop. As the two troopers approached the disabled vehicle and began to shatter the driver’s side window, the suspect opened fire, striking Trooper Lombardo in the left shoulder and Trooper Miller in his neck and right thigh. To secure the safety of the child, Trooper Lombardo—despite knowing that Trooper Miller was wounded and that his own arm was paralyzed from the force of the impact—did not seek cover but instead apprehended the suspect with only one arm. Trooper Lombardo received medical attention for his wounds and Trooper Miller was airlifted to a local hospital where he died from his wounds. Trooper Lombardo is dedicated to service at Pennsylvania State Police and remains hopeful that he will return to active duty.
From left: Debora Courtright, Motorola; Colonel Frank E. Pawlowski, commissioner, Pennsylvania State Police; Trooper Robert Lombardo, Pennsylvania State Police; Colonel Mark Dunaski, general chair, Division of State and Provincial Police; Michael J. Carroll, IACP President
From left: Trooper Michael Gillis, Alabama Department of Public Safety; Trooper Robert Lombardo, Pennsylvania State Police; Trooper Kevin Caldwell, Michigan State Police; and Officer Joshua Hatfield, California Highway Patrol
All four regional winners and their spouses were guests of the division at the midyear meeting. Each of the finalists received an eagle’s head bust inlaid with gold and silver and mounted on a marble base.
Robert S. Mueller III, director, Federal Bureau of Investigation
An engaging part of the S&P meeting is the opportunity to hold face-to-face discussions with heads of important federal agencies. Delivering keynote addresses to S&P members were Robert S. Mueller III, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation; Ray LaHood, secretary of the Department of Transportation; and Bart R. Johnson, principal deputy under secretary for Intelligence and Analysis of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
S&P Business Meeting
On March 12, S&P members wrapped up the midyear conference with their business meeting on Friday, during which they discussed organizing, directing, coordinating, and promoting IACP programs relating to the needs of state and provincial police agencies. The division is a membership organization comprising 49 state law enforcement agencies, the RCMP, and the Ontario and Quebec provincial police agencies. S&P business is conducted throughout the midyear meeting, with committees meeting and reporting to the membership on their findings.
At the request of the Resolutions Committee, S&P members voted to submit a resolution to the IACP Highway Safety Committee regarding DUI child endangerment statutes to protect children by fighting recidivism. The members also passed three resolutions of gratitude: one to the Virginia State Police and the Maryland State Police for their hospitality; and a second one to Gwen Boniface, commissioner (retired), Ontario Provincial Police, and Steven Paré, colonel (retired), Rhode Island State Police, for leading discussions during the State of the State Police. The third resolution was presented to Acting Director Burch in recognition of BJA’s unyielding support of the S&P and the strategic planning event.
A Canadian report was provided as part of the business proceedings. In addition to the committees, there are three sections within the S&P that meet and report to membership:
- The State and Provincial Police Planning Officers Section facilitates the exchange of planning information and experiences among its member agencies.
- The State and Provincial Police Academy Directors Section creates and sponsors activities that advance the principles and competence of professional law enforcement instructors.
- The State and Provincial Police Retired Officers Section provides a ready source of knowledge and experience to members in advisory and assessment capacities.
Every year, the division holds an annual meeting in conjunction with the annual IACP conference, in addition to its midyear (spring) conference in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area. The four regions of the division (North Atlantic, North Central, Mountain Pacific, and Southern) conduct regional meetings at their discretion during the summer months.
The S&P Division recognizes and appreciates the corporate sponsors who played a major part in making this year’s midyear conference and banquet successful. They appear below. ■
1Details about IACP legislative positions are available on the IACP Web site at www.theiacp.org. Click on Legislative Actions in the top navigation bar.
Please cite as:
Mark Dunaski, "Provincial Police Address the State of State Police at Midyear Meeting," The Police Chief 77 (May 2010): 30–34,
http://policechiefmagazine.org/magazine/index.cfm?fuseaction=display&article_id=2081&issue_id=52010 (insert access date).