t is an honor to be elected the president of the greatest police executive association in the world. The IACP is rich in history, culture, and tradition and I am humble with the opportunity I have to continue and add to this legacy.
As I assume the presidency, I do so knowing that I have a tremendous amount of support and that I am not alone in leading the IACP over the next year. I am both proud and honored to embrace the important responsibilities you have entrusted to me.
A great vision is like a magnet, attracting, challenging, and uniting people. The IACP is proof of this maxim. From its earliest days, the vision of the IACP founders and our first president, Webber Seavey, has guided our association and allowed us to remain at the forefront of law enforcement leadership worldwide. We have accomplished much over the last 112 years, but much remains to be done.
The IACP is also proof that the greater the vision, the more winners it has the potential to attract. Today, our organization has more than 19,000 members representing more than 90 countries worldwide. The success of the IACP is a credit to our members, who are the association's heart and soul; the volunteers who serve on the governing body, divisions, sections, and committees; and our dedicated staff, who work each day to make the IACP the great organization that it is.
Every member of this organization has a place where he or she can add value. Our members are involved and they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves. And when we provide effective leadership, it becomes the catalyst to make things happen, to effect change, to accomplish our mission, and to fulfill the vision of our founders.
Remarkably, the vision set forth over a century ago remains relevant today. Many of the concerns that brought our predecessors together in 1893 still confront us today. Yet, although much has remained the same, we as police chiefs in the 21st century find ourselves confronting individuals who perpetrated crimes and acts of terror that were unthinkable in the 19th century.
As a result, the leadership and membership of this organization have focused our efforts and taken the lead to strengthen the first line of defense in protecting the security of our homeland, our nation's law enforcement agencies. Only by ensuring that our police agencies have the capability to protect our communities effectively can we hope to protect our homeland.
The accelerating and unprecedented challenges faced by 21st century police executives are not exclusive to one nation or one region of the world. To be successful in fighting the global menace of crime and terror we must look beyond our borders and work in cooperation with our colleagues around the world. It is for this reason that the I in IACP has never been more important, and it is the IACP that we look to for leadership, guidance, and forum to accomplish our latest mission and defeat this terrible foe. The IACP is leading the way for law enforcement leaders around the world as we proactively seek out opportunities to integrate and coordinate our efforts locally, nationally, and internationally to create a truly united front in the fight against crime and terrorism.
Principles, values, and uncompromised commitment to public service are the threads that bind us across borders, jurisdictions, and nations. Increasingly, it is clear that we are all in this together.
We share a common enemy; we share a common purpose; and we share a common goal: to protect the citizens we serve from the horrors of crime and violence.
This is not a new goal. Our communities have always needed leaders who create a better place to live. The public is entitled to no less. The police leader's job is not an easy one. Regardless of the trials and tribulations and the sometimes unwarranted criticism, we must remain confident that we are a value-added contribution toward the maintenance of an orderly and just society.
As law enforcement leaders, it is our responsibility to set and maintain the temperament of our respective organizations and the profession as a whole. So too is our responsibility to nurture and promote public trust and confidence in our profession.
We must continue to work cooperatively with all stakeholders in our respective communities in order to confront situations that compromise the safety, security, and quality of life of all law-abiding people.
We are so fortunate to be a part of this noble profession. In policing, we have the opportunity to make a difference in our communities, and we do every day. We are similarly fortunate, all of us, to be members of the IACP.
As did every president before me, I come to this office with goals and aspirations of my own, while at the same time committing myself to the goals and objectives of the IACP Strategic Plan. I am also committed to representing the best interests of the IACP and our members in our common pursuit of achieving the greater public good in all that we do. As a result, in the coming year we will continue to hone our approach and vision for the future in this dramatically changing world.
The IACP leadership and staff will continue and expand on our Taking Command Initiative and strive to ensure that our ability to protect our hometowns is an essential element in our effort to protect our homeland.
As Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath have made clear, there is much that remains to be done to ensure that federal, state, tribal, and local law enforcement officials can work together in an effective partnership that will allow us to better protect the citizens we all serve. I am confident that the experiences of our fellow law enforcement officers from the Gulf Coast region will provide the public safety community with valuable lessons learned and help guide the development of future homeland security policies.
We will also be assuming a leadership role on the increasing problem of identity crime. Working in partnership with the Bank of America, the IACP will develop a national strategy to combat identity crime that will encompass the critical roles that must be played by law enforcement, the private sector, and the public.
In addition, building on efforts already under way at IACP, we will focus on the continuing problems of human trafficking and violence against women.
Finally, I will use the authority provided to me by the constitution and rules of the association to establish several committee coordinating panels to focus on issues related to diversity in policing and also on proposals to make online training available to the membership.
This short list of priorities is certainly not exhaustive, but it does provide some sense of where we will be going as an association over the coming year.
As I conclude my president's message, I would like to take this opportunity to share a few thoughts on our noble profession.
Law enforcement is not, and must not be, simply about survival in admittedly difficult times. We are about problem solving and uncompromised professional public service. We must always strive to uphold the three principles that must form the foundation for the character of all police officers: decency, honor, and integrity.
And as law enforcement leaders we promote a positive attitude and exude public confidence that our officers are respectable and dedicated professionals who, with only rare exceptions and without complaint, routinely rise to face danger, meet difficult challenges, and constantly strive to help those in need.
I am fortunate to serve with the finest law enforcement professionals in the world. With our combined effort and dedication, the IACP will continue to provide the framework for our profession to improve service delivery, to enhance safety in our communities, and to prepare for what lies ahead.
I am thankful for the opportunity to serve as your president for the coming year and will remain always grateful for the support, trust, and confidence that you have shown me. ■