#WhyIWearTheBadge Wednesday – I Wear the Badge For You

This post is part of our on-going #WhyIWearTheBadge Wednesday blog series.

woodway1Guest blogger: Sergeant Khalil Abdallah El-Halabi, Woodway, Texas, Police Department

“Son… serve these people with everything you have.” I can still remember those words being whispered to me in Arabic by my father on the night of my Police Academy graduation. Why I wear the badge requires a multifaceted answer, an answer that stimulates a rush of emotions that are incredibly difficult to accurately put into words, but it is my duty to try. I was born in an area south of Beirut, Lebanon, during its bloody civil war. I was born to a father who fought for our safety and a beautiful mother that spent many of her nights shielding us in poorly built bomb shelters underground. My father is a man of great integrity who waited decades for a simple green card in order to get his wife and four children out of the path of danger and to the “Land of opportunity.” He overcame adversity of family members murdered and his homeland ravaged to no comparison. The stories I have to tell are scars that words cannot suffice to accurately explain.

I can still remember our first day in America; we were taking pictures at a McDonald’s in our euphoria! We did not care who was staring or laughing at us, we were in America and safe from the poverty and dangers of our past. I recall walking around at a young age thinking how peaceful and beautiful this country was and how blessed I was to be living in it. As I entered high school, my family and I moved to Woodway, Texas. After high school I left home and eventually acquired a Master’s of Science Degree and became a Public Safety Officer with the City of Woodway. My life has been peaceful; I look at the news of my homeland and look at the path I could have gone down, and I thank God that He saved a sorry sinner’s soul like mine every day.

There is one experience that stands out in my mind that really impacted my decision to join law enforcement and it was the events of September 11, 2001. Everyone knows where they were that moment, but all I can remember is how I felt. I was 14 years old and the anger I felt mixed with the love I felt for my country forced me to make a decision that I would give back to it in some way when I was old enough to do so. I had never seen my father, my hero, show as much emotion as he did on that day; his love for the United States is a love formed out of a comparison to his past and his experiences. My father knows what freedom and safety means; therefore he knows what love for this country is.

So why do I wear the badge? I wear the badge to assure that the streets of this country will never turn into the streets of the country I was born in. I will give my last breath to assure this. I wear the badge to shatter preconceptions of law enforcement; to show kindness in the face of ridicule and animosity towards the badge. I wear the badge to be THERE even if I am hated simply because of the uniform I wear; to freely assist anyone in need regardless of the stereotype they place on me and regardless if they do to me what they do not want done to them. I wear the badge to be a beacon of light in a crumbling world; to show the love of Christ through the work of my hands. The badge is something I wear in order to minister to those in need of the good news. I wear the badge to give back to a country that has given me absolutely everything. This badge is worn as a testament of a Lebanese immigrant who came to America at the age of 3 with a father who had only $300 in his pocket. To show that this country does not discriminate against anyone who performs with the absence of excuses. To show that the best way to change something is to not complain about it, but to become part of it and create the change yourself.

I am 27 years old and I wear my badge for YOU, regardless of who YOU are. I will continuously respond and protect you regardless of how you feel about me. I love you and your safety is my responsibility because I wear this badge. I will protect you from the wolves at any time and at any cost. I am your public servant, and I wear this badge as a reflection of the trust you have placed in me. I wear this badge as an illustration of my honor and duty to you. I could go on and on, but as I stated in this introduction, why I wear this badge requires a multifaceted answer, an answer that stimulates a rush of emotions that are incredibly difficult to accurately put into words, but I have tried.

Posted in Community Policing | 3 Comments

IACP Committees, Sections, and Divisions – Working For You

If you follow us on Twitter, you’ve likely been seeing a lot of buzz about committee midyear meetings, section conferences, and new resources that are being released during these events. So what exactly are these groups and what do they do?

Committees, sections, and divisions work in the field toward a common goal and help further the IACP’s mission. These groups produce new resources, promote resolutions, and bring subject matter expertise to various projects. Becoming a part of a committee, section, or division is a great way for members to get more involved in IACP and to further their own careers.

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IACP’s Firearms Committee at their midyear meeting at the National Harbor in Maryland.

Committees

Committees are focused on a particular issue in the law enforcement community. Some examples include the Police Investigative Operations Committee, the Civil Rights Committee, the Homeland Security Committee, and the Highway Safety Committee. Committees typically meet twice a year and work toward furthering the IACP’s mission in their particular focus area. Committees also have a set number of members and members serve three year terms.

IACP President Beary speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2015 LEIM Conference.

IACP President, Chief Richard Beary, speaks at the opening ceremony of the 2015 LEIM Conference.

Sections

IACP sections are dedicated to specific disciplines. The Police Physicians Section, Public Information Officers Section, and Smaller Department Section are all examples of IACP sections. These groups bring together individuals from similar fields and with similar interests so that they may work together to solve some of their discipline’s most pressing issues. Some sections hold their own conferences throughout the year and others have educational tracks during the IACP Annual Conference and Expo. IACP members may apply to join a section.

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SACOP General Chair, Chief John Letteney, looks on during the SACOP meeting at the IACP Annual Conference.

Divisions

In addition to committees and sections, IACP has three divisions: State and Provincial Police (S&P), State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP), and International Policing. These divisions are comprised of individuals from specific segments of the IACP’s membership. The divisions are broken down into geographic regions, which helps facilitate regional information sharing and collaborative problem-solving. Each division holds conferences and meetings throughout the year to provide educational and networking opportunities for members.

Sign up today to be an IACP Member and this will enable you to contribute through IACP’s many committees, sections, and divisions.

Posted in Committees, Divisions, Sections, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

FBI Releases 2014 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty

Guest Blogger: Chief Kent Barker, Tualatin (OR) Police Department; IACP Vice President At Large; and Chair of the IACP SafeShield Committee

This week is National Police Week, a time to remember the men and women who lost their lives in the line of duty. The FBI has released their 2014 Preliminary Statistics for Law Enforcement Officers Killed in the Line of Duty, providing statistical information on the incidents behind the deaths of these courageous men and women.

The statistics show that 51 law enforcement officers were feloniously killed and an additional 44 also lost their lives in 2014.The most troubling statistic is that the 51 felonious deaths represents an increase of almost 89% when compared to the 27 officers feloniously killed in 2013. More than half of these officers lost their lives from injuries inflicted as a result of answering disturbance calls (11), conducting traffic enforcement (10), and in ambushes (8). Also disturbing, is the fact that offenders used firearms in 46 (90%) of the 51 felonious deaths. Of the 44 non-felonious deaths, 28 were killed in car crashes.

The IACP Center for Officer Safety and Wellness is actively addressing the recurring topics that led to these tragedies. The IACP continues to work with the SafeShield Committee and other stakeholders to encourage a cultural shift within law enforcement by emphasizing the values of safety, health, and wellness. Through cooperative agreements with federal, private, and nonprofit partners, the IACP is dedicated to enhancing officer safety and to seeing all of these numbers reduced in future reports.

To honor our fallen officers, we are making every effort to reduce line of duty deaths through leadership, implementation of good policies, and an emphasis on officer safety and wellness. We want to ensure that all officers have the necessary tools and resources to be Ready for Duty by wearing our vest, being physically and mentally ready, and being aware of our surroundings and the possible challenges we may face.

Posted in Center for Officer Safety and Wellness | Leave a comment

Indian Country Law Enforcement Section Members Honor Fallen Officers

On Thursday, May 7, 2015, IACP Indian Country Law Enforcement Section Chairman Chief Bill Denke, Vice Chairman Chief Patrick Melvin, and numerous section members participated in the 24th Annual Indian Country Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Service at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center in Artesia, New Mexico.

The memorial, designed with Native American traditions, honors law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty while serving Indian Country. Five names were added to the memorial this year: Officer Jair Cabrera, Salt River Police Department; Sergeant Patrick Johnson, Alaska State Troopers; Trooper Gabriel Rich, Alaska State Troopers; Village Public Safety Officer Ronald Zimin, Alaska State Troopers; and Special Agent Colin Clark, Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice services. These additions bring the total number of officers listed on the memorial to 108.

Director Darren Cruzan of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Office of Justice Services led the service which featured speeches from Deputy Secretary Mike Connor, Department of the Interior; Director Michael S. Black, Bureau of Indian Affairs; Deputy Director Kenneth Keene, Federal Law Enforcement Training Center; and others.

ICLES MelvinOn behalf of the Salt River Police Department and Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian community, Section Vice Chairman Chief Patrick Melvin shared stories and memories about fallen Salt River Officer Jair Cabrera from his family, fellow officers, and community members. From Officer Cabrera’s father, Chief Melvin shared the following:

“Jair’s name in Hebrew means ‘God Enlightens.’ Each time we saw each other I truly saw that light in him in his courage, commitment, and dedication; plus, we all know he has an awesome sense of humor. His presence literally did shine like a beacon of light. You could see it in his eyes, his handshake, and his devotion to duty and family. His light was also in truth, service, and helping others.”

Officer Cabrera was shot in his vehicle while conducting a traffic stop on May 24, 2014.

ICLES MerrillSection member Captain Andrew Merrill of the Alaska State Troopers (AST) gave a heartfelt tribute to Sergeant Patrick Johnson and Trooper Gabriel Rich who were shot and killed on May 1, 2014, while responding to a call in Tanana, Alaska, and to Village Public Safety Officer Ronald Zimin who was ambushed and shot while responding to a domestic violence crime on October 22, 1986. Captain Merrill said, “All three of these men represent the best of what we are and what we can be.” In their honor he shared a letter from Sgt. Johnson’s wife and an AST cadence about tradition of honoring the memory of all those troopers serving the “blue and gold.” He concluded, “We will remember them for what they stood for, not that they died, but that they lived; and the way they lived is why we honor them.”

A traditional Native American blessing of the memorial was performed, and a traditional drum group comprised of Native American BIA officers played during the service. Following the blessing, all 108 fallen officers were named and honored.

You can read more here or view the full memorial service at http://www.ksvpradio.com/BIA/index.php, password biamemorial.

Posted in Center for Officer Safety and Wellness, Indian Country | Leave a comment

Apply Now for the 2015 IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award!

Would you like to win a trip to the 122nd Annual IACP Conference in Chicago, Illinois?

Has your agency implemented an innovative program that demonstrates a dedication to improving the quality of life within your community?

If you answered yes to both of these questions, consider applying for the IACP/Motorola Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement.  Two representatives from each of the top three winning agencies will be recognized at the IACP Conference for their efforts.  The deadline to submit an application is Friday, June 19, 2015.  Application guidelines can be obtained at the Webber Seavey Award webpage.

Last year’s winners from the Hamilton Police Service, Milwaukee Police Department, and the Rialto Police Department showcased programs on crime prevention, student engagement, and body-worn cameras.

Hamilton (Ontario, Canada) Police Service – ACTION Strategy Initiative

Hamilton2Several studies concluded this city had potential, but there was a need to restore safety and security in the downtown core, which had become a hot spot for violent crime. Analysis revealed that officers continued to encounter repeat offenders and at-risk individuals. To develop alternative options to arrest, an evaluation was conducted into internal and external factors and stakeholders. Provincial and federal government grants provided the revenue to implement a crime prevention strategy in a city with very tight budget restrictions. Highly visible officers on foot and bike addressed violent crime and disorder issues. Uniformed volunteer auxiliary officers were deployed in the core for over 1,400 hours. The police service also worked with several partners to develop a street-level proactive wrap-around social service solution to help break the cycle of arrests. The strategy has led to a decrease in crime and an increase in the perception of safety and security. The downtown area is already in the process of revitalization.

Milwaukee (Wisconsin) Police Department – Students Talking it Over with Police (STOP) Program

Milwaukee2This school-based program addresses the relationship between young leaders, ages 12-17, and police with the goal of decreasing an initial volatile interaction while cultivating sustainable positive relationships. For one hour per day, one day per week, for seven weeks, officers educate juveniles on not only the nature of police work, but also on how to appropriately communicate and interact with officers. A process and outcome evaluation assesses measurable effects of the training. Analysis results indicate that STOP is successful in improving general knowledge, proper behavior during a police stop and a better perception of the police. Officers are aware that juveniles have been informed of the appropriate ways in which police should act, thereby creating a two-way accountability mechanism. Approximately 94 percent of participants reported feeling better about the police after taking part in the program.

Rialto (California) Police Department – Body-Worn Camera Program

Rialto2This partnership-based, yearlong study evaluated the effects of body-worn video cameras on police use-of-force and officer complaints. The randomized controlled trial represents the first experimental evaluation of body-worn video cameras used in police patrol practices. Frontline officers participated in the experiment and wore HD cameras. All data from the cameras were collated using a web-based computerized video management system. Comparing similar 12-month time frames, the study revealed significant reductions: Use of force incidents were reduced by 87.5 percent and complaints were reduced by 59 percent. Additionally, public contacts by officers increased by 3,200. Analysis of a second year of data showed little change to the experimental year results. This scientific approach to dealing with police misconduct introduces the concept of testing and evaluating new initiatives.

Contact webberseavey@theiacp.org for more information.

Posted in Awards, Best Practices, Conference, Webber Seavey Award for Quality in Law Enforcement | Leave a comment

Three Things to Do During National Police Week

Established in 1962, National Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week provides a time for the nation to come together to recognize law enforcement officers who lost their lives in the line of duty. It is also a time for us to honor all of the law enforcement officers who protect and serve their communities each and every day.

Here are just a few ways that you can celebrate this time of honor and recognition for our nation’s law enforcement officers.

1. Thank an officer (even if you are one). Publicly, privately, it doesn’t matter, just say thank you. Officers not only risk their lives, but also deal with incredibly tough situations on a daily basis. It can often times feel like a thankless job. Showing that you appreciate those that serve the community in which you live, work, do business, or just visit, can go a long way. If you are an officer, thank a colleague or a mentor. There have likely been countless officers who have helped you during your journey to where you are today, so thank them, and thank each other.

2. Attend Police Week events. National Police Week events are being held in Washington, DC and in communities across the country. If there is nothing happening in your area, look into starting a memorial service or other event to honor those who protect and serve.

"I wear my badge as a reminder of my responsibility to provide a safe community and to protect the innocent. My grandson reminds me too of that too." - Chief Kent Barker, IACP Vice President at Large

“I wear my badge as a reminder of my responsibility to provide a safe community and to protect the innocent. My grandson reminds me of that too.” – Chief Kent Barker, IACP Vice President at Large

3. Join the #WhyIWearTheBadge campaign. The IACP has developed a campaign to highlight the diversity and commitment of law enforcement officers. Using the hashtag #WhyIWearTheBadge, we encourage officers to use social media to share their stories and let people know why they chose this profession and what keeps them motivated as they protect and serve. For more information on this initiative, visit the #WhyIWearTheBadge webpage.

We hope you will join us this week as we remember and honor those who work hard to keep our communities safe.

Posted in Community Policing, IACP Leadership, Law Enforcement Leadership | 1 Comment

Three Reasons to Attend IACP 2015

Registration and housing are now open for the 2015 IACP Annual Conference and Expo. But why attend? Budgets are tight, issues are increasingly challenging, and you need to be there for your community. And that is exactly why you should attend IACP 2015. You read that correctly. These are just three reasons it is more important than ever to attend.

1. Budgets are tight. The current budget climate pushes you to do more with less and to find creative solutions to challenging issues. What better way to gain expertise than to connect with law enforcement leaders from around the globe who are facing similar situations. At IACP 2015 you are able to share experiences and exchange best practices that will allow you to work more effectively and efficiently. The cost to attend conference is far outweighed by what you will receive. That’s a return on investment you can’t refuse.

2. Issues are more challenging than ever. From community policing concerns to ever-changing technology, you, as a law enforcement leader, are facing challenges daily. IACP 2015 brings together some of the best instructors and presenters who will be addressing emerging issues and offering real solutions. In addition, you will have the opportunity to view the latest technologies, innovations, and equipment to improve the overall performance of your agency.

3. Your community needs you. Your community needs you more than ever before. But they don’t just need you. They need you to be prepared, knowledgeable, and ready to protect and serve. That is why we have designed our annual conference and expo to provide you with the tools you need to return home with practical solutions that will allow you to serve your community even better.

Registration and housing open today so visit the conference website for more information on how you can attend the premier education, training, and expo event for law enforcement and secure your place in an official conference hotel.

Give yourself an edge. Register today.

Posted in Conference, Conference -- General Information

This is What Community Policing Looks Like: The Homeless Outreach Team

One important aspect of community policing involves identifying a problem and thinking creatively to fix it in the most efficient way possible. That is exactly what Sergeant Steve Wick and his team have done with the Houston, Texas, Police Department’s Homeless Outreach Team.

Sergeant Wick became frustrated when a mother and daughter continually ended up back on the streets after he found them a shelter. Sergeant Wick knew that sometimes you have to do more than simply put a homeless person on a bus and hope for the best. Sometimes you have to shepherd them through the process to ensure that they get the help they truly need. Sergeant Wick used his access to the right resources and out-of-the box thinking to create the Homeless Outreach Team to genuinely help the homeless individuals of Houston get off the streets and back on their feet.

The Homeless Outreach Team is comprised of one sergeant, four officers, and three mental health case workers. The team partners with dozens of outreach organizations to provide housing, healthcare, food, identification cards, and jobs to the homeless.
The team truly gets to know these people that need assistance to increase their quality of life. Since the team began in 2011, it has helped almost 500 homeless people. Sergeant Wick and his officers first approach homeless individuals and ask if they want help to get off the streets. Then, the team conducts one-on-one meetings with “the regulars”, those they encounter repeatedly under the various bridges. This technique has taught them the biggest hurdle between the typical homeless Houstonian and a better life is that most of them can’t adequately – and legally – identify themselves. Many of the homeless do not have the personal identification necessary to access resources.

The team members operate out of a wheelchair-accessible van fully loaded with Mobile Data Terminal software and portable access to criminal histories, a handheld Automated Fingerprint Identification System, mug shots, and enough technology to enable them to fingerprint anyone at the drop of a hat. The ability to fingerprint on the spot allows the team to accurately and quickly identify the individual, which gets them one step closer to getting the homeless off the streets. They also have a donated color printer for documents of all kinds. They follow and assist those that want help by providing them with their Social Security entitlements, medical checkups to be cleared for independent living, and haircuts and new clothes to make them prepared for job interviews. The team does not just point the homeless in the right direction, these officers help individuals through the maze of forms, appointments, and contacts needed to successfully get off the streets.

The 2014 Houston Homeless Count showed there are approximately 5,400 homeless people in the Houston area on any given night. According to the Houston Chronicle, that number is a 16% decrease from the number of homeless people in 2013, and a 37% drop from 2011. And that mother and daughter? They have been in a permanent housing situation since being placed in 2011.

Sergeant Wick knows that he is not the solution, but a tool to utilize to get to that solution. Most importantly, he is someone in a uniform that cares for the homeless population of Houston.

To see the officers in action check out this video of the Homeless Outreach Team.

Posted in Community Policing

Art Around the Rock

Guest Blogger: Commander Jason Lyons, Castle Rock, Colorado, Police Department

Can Badges, Brushes, and Paint Change History?

Castle Rock, Colorado, Police Department’s (CRPD) Art around the Rock program proved the answer to that question is yes. The project came to fruition after Officer Seth Morrissey spent the summer of 2013 on the Castle Rock Police Bike Unit. He and his partner rode the Castle Rock trails system every day as part of their daily duties and noticed that some of the trails and overpasses had many years of unaddressed graffiti. That summer they took multiple reports of graffiti type vandalism along the trails and knew something had to be done. Later that year, the CRPD hosted a Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) course, which Morrissey attended. One of the main points discussed in the course was the benefit of designing an area which encourages people to come and spend some time. If you can bring people to an area where individuals do not normally frequent; it will increase the amount of “eyes” on the area and lessen the chances that crime will occur.

In 2014, Morrissey transferred to the department’s Community Oriented Policing and Problem Solving Unit and put his CPTED training to work, focusing on cutting down on the increasing graffiti problem. Initially a reactive response to an ongoing criminal concern, Community Policing officers initiated the mural project, which came to be known as“Art around the Rock”. Officers looked at 18 areas that were “tagged” regularly and came up with a goal to complete three murals that summer. Partnering with local artists, organizations, businesses, and other Town of Castle Rock departments, the first mural began in May 2014. By the time the Colorado winter began, Community Policing officers had orchestrated the work and completion of 15 murals throughout Castle Rock. The program was so successful, a proactive response is underway to paint murals in areas not yet subjected to graffiti.

rockmuralbefore

rockmuralafter

Murals Are Done, Now What?

One of the main concerns while the murals were being painted was “what if they get tagged”? Morrissey and his partner Officer Kevin Torrens utilized trail cameras to keep an eye on the murals until an “anti-graffiti” coating could be applied. What they found was a major increase in pedestrian traffic in the area and citizens spending time in front of the murals. Some even had picnics. The idea of creating an environment where people would come and spend time worked… even better than expected.

“Are My Tax Dollars Being Used On This Project”?

Believe it or not, officers heard that question from only one citizen, but that was the only citizen complaint. The Town of Castle Rock’s Facebook page was filled with positive comments about the project. Citizens were posting “selfies” of themselves in front of the different murals. One of the favorites was painted by Artist Janene DiRico-Cable and titled “American Heroes”. It features a 25 foot tall American Flag with 18 foot tall silhouettes of a police officer, firefighter and soldier. Along the pillars that hold up the bridge that it is painted under are 8 foot tall silhouettes of all branches of the Armed Services.

rockmural1

Not a single tax dollar was spent on the mural project. Collaborating with local businesses, more than 500 gallons of paint were donated by organizations and corporations.

Documenting the Process.

Fifteen murals were painted during the summer of 2014, with two more due for completion this summer. The program has been successful in eliminating acts of graffiti in areas where murals have been painted. The Town of Castle Rock still experiences the occasional act of graffiti related vandalism, but not a single incident where a mural has been designed. The use of our trail system has increased substantially and the overall quality-of-life for those who use the system has increased immeasurably.
The Community Policing officers documented the project from the beginning. Below are some before and after shots. The Town of Castle Rock designed an interactive map which shows the locations of each mural, along with photos and a description.

Questions or comments can be directed to Seth Morrissey at smorrissey@crgov.com or 303-663-6153.

Posted in Community Policing

Calling all Law Enforcement Exploring Alumni

Guest Blogger: Bob Tompkins, Chair, National Law Enforcement Exploring Alumni Association

Former Law Enforcement Explorers often go on to have distinguished police careers, many rising to command and executive level positions within their agencies. Are you one of them? If so, the National Law Enforcement Exploring Alumni Association would like to hear from you!

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The newly formed alumni association is working hard to connect former Explorers with each other and with current and future Explorers. By collecting and cataloging alumni success stories, the group hopes to inspire a new generation of Explorers. The IACP is helping share these stories – like this one from Major Karen “K.C.” Carr – by posting them to the association’s nationwide police recruitment website, www.discoverpolicing.org under the Real People, Real Stories section.

Law Enforcement Exploring, for more than 55 years, has helped over 3 million young adults, ages 14 – 21, make more informed decisions about future careers. Today’s youth are still looking for hands-on, real world career experiences from subject matter experts. If you are a former Explorer, reconnect, share your memories, and help a new generation of Explorers with their career decisions.

The IACP has a long-standing relationship with Law Enforcement Exploring. IACP Past President Richard Clement (1975-1976) of Toms River, NJ, served as the first National Chairman for Law Enforcement Exploring in 1976. Since that time the Association has held a seat on the National Law Enforcement Exploring Committee and been actively involved in the planning and execution of Exploring’s biannual conference.

Join the National Law Enforcement Exploring Alumni Association and share your story with the Alumni Association Chair, Bob Tompkins at NLEEAA@yahoo.com.

Posted in Uncategorized