By John Douglass, Guest Blogger; Chief, Overland Park, Kansas, Police Department and General Chair, IACP Mid Size Agencies Section
The IACP’s Mid Size Agencies Section concluded its 2012 midyear meeting one week ago at the Embassy Suites in Old Town Alexandria, Virginia. With generous support from the FBI National Data Exchange Program (N-DEx) and CARFAX Police Crash Assistance, the IACP was able to host more than 60 police executives from 27 states.
Agenda highlights included
- a presentation on cooperative media relations from Gail Pennybacker of ABC-7 News and Julie Parker from the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department Media Relations Office;
- presentations by representatives from the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), IACP Alzheimer’s Initiatives, IACP/FBI-N-DEx, and CARFAX;
- keynotes from John Cohen of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and Bernard K. Melekian of the office of Community Oriented Policing Services; and
- field trips to attend the National Peace Officers Memorial Service and tour the FBI headquarters.
A roundtable breakout discussion to identify problems and priorities of midsize agencies and translate those into action items for the section was a key element of the proceedings. Common among the myriad identified challenges for midsize agencies are
- budget reductions;
- recruitment of qualified candidates, particularly those from diverse backgrounds;
- training of officers to respond to persons with mental illness and coordinate with local service providers; and
- prescription drug abuse and the crime that often results from it.
Advancing and focusing the work of the section are immediate next steps, including research into a nationwide benchmarking survey and identifying leading practices for policing in difficult economic times. The next meeting of the IACP Mid Size Agencies Section will be at IACP 2012 in San Diego, California, on Monday, October 1, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.
The IACP Mid Size Agencies Section provides a voice within the association for members from jurisdictions with populations ranging from 50,000 to 500,000 and an unparalleled opportunity to network with peers experiencing similar situations.