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Back to Archives | Back to April 2004 Contents 

2004 SACOP Midyear Conference: Representing the States' Views

J. Scott Finlayson
J. Scott Finlayson, chief of police, Springville, Utah, and general chair, IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police
The IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP) recently concluded its 2004 midyear conference and meetings with congressional leaders during Day on the Hill. Seventy-five delegates representing 33 states met from February 29 to March 3 to address the concerns of law enforcement administrators. J. Scott Finlayson, chief of police in Springville, Utah, and general chair of SACOP, led the conference.

SACOP, one of three IACP divisions, regularly brings together the leaders of the state associations to help them establish new levels of communication, coordinate state association activities, and create a forum for balancing the states' views on significant law enforcement issues. Membership in SACOP is available only to chief executives of police departments who are current officers in a state association of chiefs of police.

Federal Initiatives Affecting States
FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III met with the SACOP membership during the midyear conference; in his remarks to the group he emphasized the critical role local law enforcement plays in combating terrorism and stressed the need for strong interagency relationships. Citing specific examples, he illustrated the shared commitment of the FBI and local law enforcement to providing greater security for the nation. Representatives from the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of State, and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration addressed the members on a variety of federal initiatives and listened to the concerns of the state associations.

Robert S. Mueller
Robert S. Mueller III, director, Federal Bureau of Investigation

Focus on the Future

SACOP has initiated projects designed to increase officer safety, address the problems facing smaller police agencies, and promote greater involvement in the association as a whole. The executive directors of the state associations have collaborated on a plan to increase their activity in SACOP and improve the exchange of information among the state associations. SACOP has also responded to a call from IACP President Joseph M. Polisar, chief of police in Garden Grove, California, by providing regional representatives to help the IACP develop a comprehensive position paper to address the critical issues of immigration enforcement by local law enforcement.

Police Officer Safety Technology Project: SACOP is studying the issue of officer safety and how personal protective garments and equipment can be integrated in a personal protective system to reduce the number of officers killed or injured in the line of duty. The Police Officer Safety Technology (POST) Project critically examines existing and developing technology for the purpose of incorporating this technology into the peace officer's uniform. Chaired by Mark Whitman, commissioner of police in York, Pennsylvania, the POST Project will identify the gaps in protective clothing and equipment that when used will minimize, and eventually eliminate, officer injuries. The long-term goal of the POST Project is to apply technology to the personal protective systems for the police officer of the future.

SACOP has identified the type, frequency, and severity of injuries that officers sustain in executing their daily duties. During the midyear conference, SACOP members discussed the results of a POST study that identified the major injuries and their causes.
The four corporate partners of the POST Project, DuPont, ITT Industries Night Vision, Motorola, and W.L. Gore and Associates, continue to lend their support to the chiefs in SACOP by providing technical and analytical insights.

Smaller Department Assistance: The SACOP Smaller Department Section 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, and retention. The chair of the section, Terry Milam, chief of police in Saint John's, Missouri, serves on the IACP advisory group to a Department of Justice grant for providing services, support, and technical assistance to smaller police departments.

Day on the Hill

Carl R. Peed
Carl R. Peed, director, Office of Community Oriented Policing Services
The biannual Day on the Hill on March 3 provided the SACOP membership with an opportunity to present members of Congress with information on the proposed budget cuts in state and local law enforcement assistance and the affect the cuts will have on law enforcement's ability to perform its most basic services. Of particular concern were the funding reductions for traditional law enforcement programs such as the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program, the Edward Byrne Memorial Grant Program, and the Community Oriented Policing Services Programs. The message delivered was clear: targeting these and other critical programs for such large reductions could significantly weaken the ability of state and local law enforcement agencies to protect our communities from both crime and terrorism.
Joined by members of the legislative committee and the IACP State and Provincial Policing Division, approximately 75 law enforcement executives covered 230 meetings in one day.

SACOP Partners

Members of the IACP Board of Officers attended the SACOP meeting. President Polisar addressed the membership during the general business meeting. Also contributing their support, advice, and insight to the division's deliberations were IACP vice presidents Mary Ann Viverette, chief of police in Gaithersburg, Maryland, Ronald Ruecker, superintendent of the Oregon State Police, Russell B. Laine, chief of police in Algonquin, Illinois, and Michael J. Carroll, chief of the West Goshen Township Police Department in West Chester, Pennsylvania, and Past President Joseph Samuels.

Sponsors: The SACOP midyear conference enjoyed the support of many industry leaders and law enforcement partners. Assisting the division with its work were Motorola, the IACP/DuPont Kevlar Survivors Club®, ITT Industries Night Vision, D.A.R.E. America, W. L. Gore and Associates, and the Security Industry Alarm Coalition. Considerable support was provided by the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police and the Fredericksburg, Virginia, Police Department. The Texas Police Chiefs Association will host next year's meeting, in San Antonio.

SACOP encourages all IACP members to become active in their state associations. State associations can have a tremendous impact on the energies and direction of the IACP.


From The Police Chief, vol. 71, no. 4, April 2004. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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