| ||John J. Bennett|
Chief of Police
Paradise Valley, Arizona, Police Department
Candidate for Fourth Vice President
s a candidate for IACP fourth vice president, it is vital to address important issues that affect us all. More important, how can we succeed in resolving them? I will not belabor you with a lot of verbiage about who I am or what I have done because I am like you in terms of experience, education, and dedication to our profession. But it is important that you do know something about me:
- 40+ years experience (Pennsylvania & Arizona)
- President (2012) Arizona Police Chiefs Association
- IACP member since 1996 – Civil Rights Committee (2005-present)
- FBI National Academy (188th) & LEEDS
- Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation – Phoenix Chapter Board Member
- Arizona Veterans & Military Leadership Alliance – Board Member
- Military Order of the Purple Heart – Arizona LE liaison
- Arizona Special Olympics
- Villanova University – BA degree
Like all past successful IACP candidates, I too will do my best to enhance the tenants of a strong, effective IACP. I will ensure that IACP continues to successfully support you, the membership, in endeavors that will contribute to your success in protecting your communities.
I will do my best to help IACP attain breakthroughs against barriers we have faced for decades in fighting crime. In spite of our dedicated efforts, we continue to have unacceptably high levels of serious crime. Then, factor in concerns of terrorism, immigration, gun control, human trafficking, and explosions of drug use with limited funds to confront these issues. It is a wonder we do not say, “Should I look for a less challenging career?” But that is not how we are built. We will not throw in the towel.
Never in the history of IACP, have we ever had such experienced, educated, dedicated, and courageous leaders as today’s members. We have the capability, now more than ever, to effect positive change. We cannot afford to repeat ineffective practices and expect to see different outcomes. But we can apply our collective knowledge to the current problems and make a positive difference. So, let us start to do things differently.
Survivorship I believe that one of the greatest detriments to our success is “Survivorship.” It can take years to change policies, cultures, practices, and attitudes that must change for us to be effective. Being courageous is not enough. Too many times, it leads to dismissal, either voluntary or involuntary. Our average tenure is not long enough to effect meaningful change. Most of us do not have the independence in authority to do the right thing in all aspects of our position. Some are forced into an expedient, safe, and politically correct modes of operational survivorship.
I am prepared to begin an effort to change the process of how effective police leaders are appointed and retained that can lead to more independence and mutual benefits for both the entity (town, city, county, or state) and the chief. The process can begin by interacting with the appointing authority organizations (U.S. Conference of Mayors, associations of county and city managers, city councils, and county supervisors) to inform them of the mutual benefits of a more uniform practice of hiring, retaining, and relieving chiefs that protects the interests of both sides. We have nothing to lose and everything to gain.
IACP must continue its strong presence and speak out forcefully on issues that may be controversial, but in our hearts we know will better protect the public we serve. IACP’s value to the membership is its commitment to act on issues and speak on their behalf when individual chiefs cannot. We have the political acumen, strength, and experience for this type of engagement.
Terrorism The uniqueness of terrorism is that its occurrence is similar in nature with the same inherent challenges in every country around the world. Never has the word “international” been such an essential component and as fundamental to IACP as it is today. Terrorism has further raised that bar. We must continue to strengthen our relationships and interactions with our international members. Communication and information sharing has never been more critically important among our world membership. This will be a major focus for me.
Immigration This is not just a problem of individual states. It is a national challenge and only meaningful federal legislation can deal with it once and for all. IACP must have a strong voice in helping craft that legislation. After all, we help to enforce it. Officer safety Every member has this as a major priority. I fully support SACOP’s SafeShield initiative and IACP’s Center for
Officer Safety and Wellness. IACP must continue its current effort to make sure that all agencies are fully connected to those initiatives and have effective policies and training in place that safeguard our personnel.
Military veterans This one is very important to me. Our military veterans deserve our admiration and respect. They are well trained and disciplined. They also deserve an open pathway to a law enforcement career if they desire. How do we do this? The COPS Office “Vets to Cops” program has helped enormously in this effort. But several states have Veteran Preference laws that allow points to be added to a veteran’s entry exam score. I would use the power of IACP to help make this a federal law.
I am asking for your support to help achieve these goals and look forward to the opportunity to contribute and further enhance this great association.
I hope to see you in Philadelphia. ♦