Robert R. Snow didn’t need to attend today’s first-timers’ orientation in San Diego.
In fact, at the rate he’s going, Snow might be able to run the annual IACP conference himself. The 119th Annual IACP Conference in San Diego, California, now through October 3, is Snow’s 50th consecutive one.
“Back then, it was buckles, boots, batons, and revolvers,” he says, describing the products introduced and discussed at his first conference. “To see the transition over the years, how things have changed, is incredible. I’ve got to keep coming to IACP conferences to keep up with it.”
Snow was a U.S. Secret Service agent at the Buffalo, New York, field office when he was tapped to attend his first IACP conference.
“It was a fluke,” he admits. “The office always sent one token agent to attend with more senior officials. I happened to be selected that year.”
Snow continued with the U.S. Secret Service for 30 years, retiring as the assistant director for public affairs. For the last 20 years, he has been a law enforcement liaison in a volunteer capacity for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC).
Snow was kind enough to stop by the Media Center at IACP 2012 for an interview and photo. Here’s what he had to say:
Why do you keep coming back?
Snow: “The IACP is the jewel of police organizations. The annual conference has the best exhibitors, the best training, the offers the best coordination of law enforcement efforts throughout the country. The IACP has no problem continuing to improve.”
What is the continued value for you of attending IACP conferences and retaining your membership?
Snow: “The IACP and NCMEC serve the same law enforcement community. There’s a mutual benefit in our continued connection.”
What advice would you give to a new IACP member?
Snow: “Come to the conference! You never know the side effects [something you saw or someone you met might become essential to your career]. Seeing the equipment and the tools that are out there is a huge asset. The education workshops feature excellent speakers who are up to date with what’s available.
“The general information presented at the conference is a huge learning tool. Police departments are transitional, so the more you can be exposed to everything, the better your prospects for career growth and enhancement.
“Also, the social interaction and networking at these conferences is incredible. To be able to pick up the phone after the conference and say, ‘I met you at the IACP conference, I have a problem and need your help,” is wonderful.”
Any other tips from a 50-year conference-goer?
Snow: “Don’t forget to bring your spouse! The annual IACP conference is a good experience for them to meet others in the same business and make lifelong friends.”