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Back to Archives | Back to September 2006 Contents 

Collecting, Preserving and Displaying IACP’S History

By Chief Michael J. Carroll, West Goshen Township Police Department, West Chester, Pennsylvania, IACP Fourth Vice President, Chief Scott Finlayson, Springville Police Department, Springville, Utah, IACP Executive Committee, and Chief (Ret.) David G. Walchak, New Braunfels, Texas, Chair, IACP Past Presidents Committee


t the direction of the IACP Executive Committee, the association is launching an effort this year aimed at capturing the association's history and bringing it before various law enforcement and public audiences.

IACP has made significant contributions to the development of the law enforcement profession since its establishment in 1893. From its early work on uniform crime records and fingerprint identification to today's efforts focusing on community policing programs, less lethal weapons and terrorism, IACP has a rich and significant history in working to lead and advance policing services around the world.

As an association we have not, to date, pulled the pieces of our history together in a manner that will allow us to tell our story or to share it with others through a display of historic artifacts. We need to collect these kinds of items to accomplish our goal and the effort that we are initiating this year sets IACP out on a long, and somewhat complicated mission, that can only be successful with the support of the entire membership.

IACP already has in its possession a variety of colorful and interesting items that are relics from our past. For example, we have a badge that was given to delegates at the 1939 annual meeting in San Francisco, California, that is pictured with this announcement. We also have a program from the Eighth Annual Convention held in May 1901 in New York City; photos of all the delegates assembled in one place from a variety of conferences; and, the content of a November 1892 letter that Chief Webber Seavey of Omaha, Nebraska—IACP's first president—sent to several police chiefs inviting them to join him in Chicago to discuss creating an association for law enforcement executives.

These are the kinds of items we seek and we will need to gather a good deal more.

To govern this collection process, the IACP Executive Committee approved a collections management policy document at its August meeting that will govern our history-related activities.

The document outlines the type of items of historic significance the association needs to secure. It suggests items such as publications; original correspondence; reports; photographs; audio and video recordings; conference banners and badges; gifts presented to the association; uniforms; hats; and equipment. All items selected for the IACP collection must have a clear connection to the association.

It addresses how these artifacts will be solicited. Collection efforts will be made through notices in the Police Chief and on the IACP Web site; presentations made at meetings of IACP Division of State Associations of Chiefs of Police, Division of State and Provincial Police and the International Policing Division; and initially, at the IACP Exhibit at the annual conference.

Significantly, any items offered to the association are first to be described in correspondence to IACP's executive director. The policy requires that items offered will be assessed for value and exhibition potential; uniqueness; the ability of the association to care for the object submitted; and a clear understanding of ownership or title of the item.

No item offered to IACP will be accepted if it presents a danger to people or property; are living collections; are part of human remains; or if it violates international treaties or agreement laws. Items submitted for the collection must be in good condition and should not require extensive restoration work. They can be made available to IACP as a gift, bequest, or on loan.

Every proposed piece for the collection will be presented to the IACP Board of Officers and it will decide if the item will be accepted by the association. Before physical possession of any item is made, the Board must approve plans developed by the Executive Director for the care and use of all collection items.

We will be providing our first display under this initiative within the IACP Booth at the conference this year in Boston. Copies of the collection policy and other information regarding this initiative will be available.

All members are urged to stop by the display and to learn more about this program. We look forward to seeing you in October! ■



From The Police Chief, vol. 73, no. 9, September 2006. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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