IACP Receives Award for Work on Pretrial Reform

On September 16, 2013, the IACP was honored to receive the Partnership Award from the National Association of Pretrial Services Agencies (NAPSA) during their annual conference in Orlando, Florida. On hand to receive the award for the IACP was Immediate Past President Chief Walt McNeil. This is the first time NAPSA has given this award to a law enforcement organization.

Chief McNeil identified one reason the IACP is involved in this topic, saying, “As a law enforcement leader, I am concerned about situations where someone that I can readily recognize as dangerous is released on bail, without consideration for their risk to the community. And I am not alone in being concerned or frustrated by our current system, but I know that through collaboration and reform, we can achieve a better public safety outcome.”

The IACP is leading the field on pretrial justice reform through our Pretrial Justice Reform Initiative and our partnership with the Public Welfare Foundation and Pretrial Justice Institute. The IACP held a focus group on the issue in 2010, released a guidebook on law enforcement’s leadership role in the pretrial release and detention process in 2011, and passed a resolution on pretrial reform at the 2011 Annual Conference in Chicago, IL. At the 2013 IACP Conference in Philadelphia we will be convening a Champions Group, consisting of law enforcement leaders who are willing to take a stand on this officer and community safety issue. The Champions Group includes representation from smaller, mid-sized, and larger communities across the country who will be involved in outreach to their communities by making speeches, producing videos, creating contacts in the community and reaching out to legislators to advocate for positive change.

Law enforcement leaders have a vital role in their communities in forming legislation and influencing the public on issues of public safety. Chief McNeil explained why law enforcement is so important to the pretrial justice reform issue by saying, “Law enforcement leaders are the most INFLUENTIAL and VISIBLE members of their local justice system, and this is a critical issue for us as leaders to make a statement about. The public, criminal justice stakeholders, and the legislature will listen to law enforcement leaders when we speak about this issue.”

The IACP’s Pretrial and Justice Reform Initiative encourages all leaders to act as a champion for pretrial reform and reach out to local judges, prosecutors, and public defenders to discuss working together to change the system. Additional information and materials on this initiative are available through the Pretrial Justice Reform Initiative Team; maxwell@theiacp.org or liberatore@theiacp.org. The IACP would like to thank NAPSA for the great honor that comes with the Partnership Award and we look forward to working together in the future.

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