As I prepare to complete my term as President of the International Association of Chiefs of Police, I want to thank you all for your service as law enforcement professionals and your work and leadership on behalf of the association. It has truly been an honor to serve as your president for the past year, and the highlight of my career.
When I was sworn in as your president in San Diego, California, nearly one year ago, I vowed to you that, during my term, we would remain committed to our vision of Serving the Leaders of Today, Developing the Leaders of Tomorrow. Our IACP staff, working together with the IACP Board of Officers, the Executive Committee, and a number of IACP committees, has done just that. We have enhanced and improved the availability of policing best practices, services, training, information, and programs and produced some incredibly promising work that will without a doubt have far-reaching positive outcomes for police administrators for many years to come.
We have strived to enhance and further develop our methods of outreach and membership communication in order to strengthen our organization and allow us to better serve our members. One of the ways in which I wanted us to accomplish this was by completely revitalizing our website, thereby improving its content and making it less difficult to navigate. I am pleased to announce that with the help of MicroSoft we will be unveiling a preview of the new website at the 120th IACP Annual Conference and Expo in Philadelphia. The new website will be officially launched in December 2013.
The IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness has continued to work to protect law enforcement officers from the threats and the dangers inherent in policing. Building upon the efforts of Immediate Past President Walter A. McNeil, the IACP teamed up with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) to host a national symposium on law enforcement officer suicide this year. Subject matter experts on the issues and from the fields of law enforcement, health, mental health, and suicide prevention gathered together to discuss the issue and how officer suicide can be prevented. The IACP is currently working to compile the findings and information learned during the symposium in order to develop a national strategy that provides guidance to law enforcement officers to amplify the awareness of suicide and mental health issues at early stages thus reducing and preventing future officer suicides.
We also formed a committee of IACP members representing geographic and demographic diversity to conduct a comprehensive review of the IACP Constitution and the IACP rules and regulations to ensure that they reflect the modern realities we face. The last time a comprehensive review was done was 2001. Generally accepted non-profit association practices recommend a review every three to five years. The goal of the committee was to make sure the constitution supported our efforts to streamline the IACP and usher in contemporary, 21st Century Policing and successful nonprofit association practices and remove any existing bureaucratic roadblocks and rules that inhibited the ability of the association to meet its objectives. I am pleased to report that the work of the committee is now complete, and they have recommended that 12 proposed amendments to the IACP Constitution be placed before the membership at the Annual Conference and Expo in Philadelphia.
I am also thrilled to say that we, as an association, also worked hard to review and update our strategies for officer-involved shootings.
Fortunately the vast majority of officers will never fire their duty weapons in defense of themselves or the defense of others. The same is true for police organizations. Many will go years between an officer-involved shooting, if ever they have one. However, the IACP wanted its members to be prepared in the event an officer-involved shooting should take place. That is why IACP committees and sections worked together to develop a set of comprehensive guidelines on how to handle officer-involved shooting investigations. They also took a deeper look at the mental health issue surrounding officer-involved shootings. These incidents not only affect the officer involved, but can also affect other officers at the scene and dispatchers. All of you are encouraged to attend the plenary session that will be held on this research at the conference in Philadelphia.
Finally, we confronted the issue of working in a time of diminished resources. A component of this topic involved the numerous times police officers were dispatched to cover false burglar alarms. You are encouraged to attend the plenary session at the conference in which all of the response options available will be discussed.
It has been a great year for the International Association of Chiefs of Police. Your dedication and leadership not just with IACP but also as law enforcement professionals, has been a true inspiration to me in my career and during my time served as president. I look forward to continuing to be part of the association and the work it does on behalf of the leaders of today and tomorrow.
There is not enough room in this article to thank everyone who made this a special year for me. Suffice to say the relationships between and among the Board of Officers has never been stronger as we worked together on multiple issues confronting the association. Bart Johnson, our executive director has done a fantastic job in looking at every facet of the association’s operations and determining where money could be saved and work done more efficiently. The staff of the IACP are truly a dedicated and hardworking group of women and men that make the IACP run flawlessly behind the scenes, and are rarely recognized by the membership for the phenomenal efforts they put forth every day.
Finally my thanks to the many past presidents that are still active in the association. They provided the historical context and reasons for decisions made over the history of the IACP. They provided valuable input into some of the decisions that were made by the Board of Officers and Executive Committee and for this we are grateful. ♦
Please cite as:
Craig T. Steckler, “The Year in Review,” President’s Message, The Police Chief 80 (October 2013): 6.