Statement by the International Association of Chiefs of Police on United States Immigration Enforcement Policy and Sanctions

Immigration enforcement is a complex and challenging issue for communities and their law enforcement agencies throughout the United States.

State and local law enforcement agencies are steadfast in their commitment to removing from their communities dangerous criminals and others who pose a threat to public safety. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply inaccurate.

The IACP agrees that illegal immigration and border security issues directly impact the safety of communities and that effective action is needed to meet this challenge.  At the same time, however, state and local law enforcement agencies depend on the cooperation of immigrants, legal or not, in solving a wide array of crimes.  Striking the proper balance between enforcement and cooperation requires the full participation of elected officials, community leaders and their law enforcement agencies.

The IACP has and always will strongly oppose the use of sanctions to drive policy; this was true with prior Administrations and remains true with the current Administration. The funds provided through the Department of Justice support a wide array of crime fighting, crime prevention and public health initiatives. Penalizing communities by withholding assistance funding to law enforcement agencies and other critical programs is counter-productive to our shared mission of reducing violent crime and keeping our communities safe.

We stand ready to work with the Administration to help identify thoughtful, effective solutions to this complex and challenging issue.

Posted in Breaking News, Community-Police Relations, Criminal Justice Reform, National Security, Policy, Press Release

Meet the Leadership Blog Series

The IACP Board of Directors is comprised of the IACP Executive Board as well as 33 law enforcement leaders appointed by the IACP President. The members of the Board of Directors represent agencies large and small around the globe and contribute to the governance of the IACP. In the IACP’s new Meet the Leadership Blog Series, the IACP will feature brief profiles of the 33 appointed members of the Board of Directors, in the months leading up to the IACP 2017 Annual Conference and Exposition.Brooks image

Name: William G. Brooks III

Title: Chief of Police

Agency: Norwood (MA) Police Department

Year joined the IACP: 2000

Reason for Going into Law Enforcement: I grew up next door to my local police chief.  He seemed to have an interesting job and he would come back and tell us what had happened during his shift.  Now I know that we received a very watered down version, but at the time it was interesting.

First Heard about IACP: When I started at the Wellesley (MA) Police Department, the chief at the time, Terrence Cunningham, was involved in IACP, so I joined right away and began to follow the Association closely.

Becoming More Involved in IACP: I had been involved in state policy and legislative issues for a few years, but when Chief Cunningham was elected as 4th Vice President of the Executive Board, I became more aware of issues across the United States and globally. Shortly after I became a chief, President Zakhary appointed me to the IACP Board of Directors, which was quite an honor.

Favorite Part About Being in Law Enforcement: One of my favorite parts of being a police officer is my interaction with the public.  When I was a rookie, I never liked being assigned to a walking beat. I believed that I’d never catch criminals if I was unable to zip around in a car. Now, I take the opposite view – as a police chief I make sure I walk one of our foot beats for an hour every day.

The Most Challenging Part of Law Enforcement: Over the past two years, the part of my job that has been difficult has been watching how issues in the national spotlight have affected police officers. But we as a department have used these situations as opportunities to emphasize that positive engagements with the public are more important now than they’ve ever been.

One Piece of Advice for the Leaders of Tomorrow: Take great care in how you communicate – oftentimes how you say something is as important as what you say.

Name: Steven Pare Pare

Title: Commissioner of Public Safety

Agency: City of Providence (RI)

Year joined the IACP: 1995

Reason for Going into Law Enforcement: It was a lifelong dream of mine to become a police officer, following in my Dad’s footsteps.

First Heard about IACP: As a commander while serving the Rhode Island State Police.

Becoming More Involved in IACP: I became more involved in the IACP because it offered me the ability to learn from and implement best practices in law enforcement, to solve problems confronting policing and to get an international perspective on issues facing law enforcement.

Favorite Part About Being in Law Enforcement: My favorite part is the constant changes, challenges, and uncertainty in public safety.

The Most Challenging Part of Law Enforcement: The most challenging part would have to be building trust and credibility with the communities that we serve.

One Piece of Advice for the Leaders of Tomorrow: Be patient, listen to advice, and be courageous in trying new methods and practices.  It’s important to sometimes break out of doing things the same way because “that’s how we always do it” mentality.

Name: Lianne Tuomey lianne dress flag

Title: Chief of Police

Agency: University of Vermont Police

Year joined the IACP: 2000

Reason for Going into Law Enforcement: I knew I wanted to do something criminal justice related so I don’t know that I was “drawn” to the work so much as “fell” into the work. Law enforcement was a good fit because I have always been able to easily connect with people and interacting with the public is such an important part of the job.

First Heard about IACP: I had seen some Police Chief magazines floating around the office over the years while at the Burlington (VT) Police Department and found the articles informative. Eventually, my then Chief at the University of Vermont suggested that I join the IACP and get active in the organization.

Becoming More Involved in IACP: I was asked to serve on a coordinating panel and a committee by the IACP President. I think it’s important when asked to serve that, if you can, you do. Being involved with IACP has provided me access to a myriad of perspectives, innovative thinking, and contemporary educational opportunities that can only benefit those I serve with and serve in a law enforcement role.

Favorite Part About Being in Law Enforcement: There was one call now over 30 years ago, I went to a suspicious person complaint at an elderly woman’s house.  She told me that someone was walking around her house and she was frightened. After I walked all around the house and saw no footprints, I returned to her front door.  She invited me in and offered me some coffee. As we talked, she shared her story with me, she was lonely and she needed someone to listen.  I listened that day and almost every week for 5-10 minutes or so for the next year until she passed away. I recall that day often, especially on those days when the job is hard. That’s my favorite part of the serving in this noble profession, making a difference, or at least trying.

The Most Challenging Part of Law Enforcement: The most challenging is bearing witness to the tragedies of other’s lives.

One Piece of Advice for the Leaders of Tomorrow: Care about others, do the best you can, and don’t take yourself too seriously.

Posted in IACP Leadership, Leadership

Simple Steps to Enhance Police Interactions with Community

Guest Blogger: Fabienne Brooks, Chief (retired), King County Sheriff’s Office and Co-Director/ Consultant Law Enforcement Programs, NCBI; IACP Associate Member

In this era, it is more critical than ever to enhance positive police interactions with community members.  Done well, these positive interactions result in safety for communities and officers as well as positive media coverage. In the Mantua Enhancing Police Interactions in Communities (EPIC) project, the National Coalition Building Institute (NCBI) used an implementation model that recognized that building trust and developing the structure of positive interaction does not occur with the completion of one event or training cycle. blog 1

This year long project was designed to build relationships between officers and community members who live and work in the Mantua area of Philadelphia, PA.

The first step in the approach to police-community engagement was to conduct a needs assessment to get to know the community, its strengths, and challenges.  Before any training was designed or delivered, the NCBI team reviewed the environment (community), occupation (law enforcement specific), individual needs for training, and how the term “community” was defined. The needs assessment process entailed learning what factors influenced police management and practices as well as what factors influenced or drove community concerns. NCBI staff spent time with members of the Philadelphia Police Department 16th District and Drexel University Police Department to develop an understanding of how the department functioned and what its members believed to be critical community issues.

No less significant was gaining a commitment from the community. A series of focus groups were held with members of the Mantua community to try and develop a deeper understanding of how the community viewed its relationship with the police department.

Trust-building was the second step in the NCBI model. This was accomplished by treating trust-building as a process, not a single event. Multiple opportunities, such as training workshops with community members and law enforcement, over extended periods of time were provided for trust to develop and grow.

Once a trusting atmosphere was created, a three-day Train-The-Trainer workshop taught important communication skills to members of the department and community.  Participants had the opportunity to learn from one another and build relationships in the classroom. The training approach included hands-on, experiential activities to teach skills such as:

  • Listening
  • Empathy
  • Reframing questions
  • Resolving conflict
  • Dealing with controversial issues

blog2This entire process lead to the ultimate goal: the development of a sustainable partnership between law enforcement and community leaders. The police department and community leaders will continue to offer opportunities for positive dialogue, interaction, and community-engagement, using what was learned in the training environment.

The program was evaluated at each step by Cedar Crest College for effectiveness and long-lasting change. The final evaluation report, completed in early 2017, documented changes with both the officers and community leaders.

This project was funded by a grant provided by DOJ/OJP/BJA Byrne Criminal Justice Innovation in partnership with the Mt. Vernon Manor, Inc. The EPIC project originally was developed in partnership between NCBI and IACP.

Posted in Community-Police Relations, Uncategorized

President Trump Releases Preliminary 2018 Budget Proposal

Today, U.S. President Donald Trump released his Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 budget blueprint plan, entitled America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again. The $1.15 trillion proposal for discretionary spending would amount to an overall cut of 1.2 percent when compared to current spending levels on an annualized basis.

While the budget blueprint or “skinny budget” document that was released is not the full federal budget, its goal is to provide the U.S. Congress with an overview of the priorities of President Trump and his administration. The full budget will be released later this spring, likely in May, and will include additional details.

Key funding levels and proposals included for the U.S Departments of Homeland Security and Justice include the following:

U.S. Department of Homeland Security

The proposed budget spending level for the Department of Homeland Security is $44.1 billion, an increase of 6.8 percent from current annualized levels. The $2.8 billion proposed increase includes $2.6 billion to plan, design, and construct a wall along the southern U.S. border. The budget blueprint also proposes to eliminate or reduce state and local grant funding by $667 million for programs administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The one program identified for elimination is FEMA’s Pre-Disaster Mitigation Grant Program. The budget also proposes establishing a 25 percent non-federal cost match for FEMA preparedness grant awards that currently require no cost match.

U.S. Department of Justice

The budget blueprint recommends a funding level for the Department of Justice at $27.7 billion, a 3.8 percent cut. The budget blueprint proposes to eliminate approximately $700 million in programs within the Department of Justice. This includes eliminating $210 million for the State Criminal Alien Assistance Program. At this point, no other programs have been identified. The budget blueprint document does say it will preserve programs aimed at protecting the safety of state and local law enforcement, including Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officer Resilience and Survivability and the Bulletproof Vest Partnership Program.

While the budget blueprint does not clearly identify what state and local law enforcement assistance programs will be cut through the Department of Justice or the Department of Homeland Security, the IACP has outlined several federal funding assistance programs for state, local, and tribal law enforcement that are a priority for the IACP and law enforcement. Further information on these programs and their importance can be found in the IACP’s Policy Priorities for the 115th Congress that was released in December 2016.

Posted in Uncategorized

The State of the Media and How You Can Help

Guest Blogger: Katie Nelson, Social Media + Public Relations Coordinator, Mountain View, California, Police Department

It’s no secret that currently, the journalism industry is struggling in ways that it has never seen before. The effort to transition from print publications to a “digital first” mindset has set some of the biggest and most widely distributed news organizations into a tailspin.

News organizations are looking for ways to not only stay afloat financially, but to proactively publish first in an environment that is focused heavily on breaking news to the masses on social media. As the younger generations of journalists – who also happen to be digital natives – grow in the digital sphere, and as the rise of social media gives voice to anyone who has access to an account to report or comment on news, the question that looms large is: how can you partner with media representatives to reflect fair and accurate reporting from your agency, and even more so, is it worth it?

The short and simple answer is: yes, unequivocally.

Now more than ever, we’ve become increasingly aware of the term “fake news.” This Twitter 1concept is nothing new. Social media has allowed an unprecedented flow of communication between people from all over the world – it’s like a game of telephone for a new age. But inaccuracies and miscommunications can easily be quelled by one simple fact: you become the reporter.

Working side-by-side with news agencies to report on breaking news can only help your organization. You ensure that news is reported correctly, that scanner chatter journalists may use to initially report on incidents is minimal, and that above all, you break the news first to the people who matter most: your residents.

Twitter 2The California Highway Patrol’s Oakland division did an excellent job of updating news organizations as well as the public during the most recent freeway shooting on Interstate 80 on March 9. They tweeted out information regularly, and when another division of the organization was taking over the investigation, they notified journalists where they needed to follow up, rather than leaving them to wonder.

The Prince George’s County Police Department (MD) has not only provided timely updates to breaking news, they often provide follow up opportunities to reporters to interview personnel about breaking news, allowing the news cycle to come full circle. This transparency also allows the public to learn more about an incident than just what was reported on social media, and it gives a glimpse into the people behind Twitter 3the badge – something many want, yet few receive.

Here at the Mountain View Police Department (CA), and at many other agencies in the Bay Area, including the Palo Alto Police Department (CA) and the Fremont Police Department (CA), providing information as soon as possible and regularly updating both the media and the public have become a staple in our communication strategies. How have we done that?Establishing communication on social media is key. Follow your local journalists, and highlight their work. Social media, especially Twitter, is the place reporters will go first to share Twitter 4information, and more often than not, to get it. Become a
digital guide and source for reporters as they scramble towards deadlines. Communicate with them effectively by engaging with them in a social sphere. When they misreport, let them know. Journalists want to get their stories right, and
this allows you to not only be transparent on a digital level, it also shows your followers you are aware and transparent and actively engaged.

Believe it or not, by helping to make journalists’ jobs easier, you are also helping yourselves. Your agency and the press can effectively work together to disseminate information. By being the first to provide thorough information, you build a reliability that culminates into you becoming the primary source of information that your local media affiliates, and more importantly your residents, will go to when seeking information.

Posted in Social Media

2017 40 Under 40 Award: Recognize Your Leaders of Today and Tomorrow

participate-iacp-2016-40-under-40-winnersDo you have an outstanding and dedicated leader within your agency? If so, take the time to recognize them and their accomplishments by nominating them for IACP’s 40 under 40 award.

The IACP’s 40 Under 40 Award is designed to acknowledge the accomplishments of 40 law enforcement professionals, under the age of 40, that demonstrate leadership qualities and are deeply dedicated to their profession. Now in its second year, this prestigious award is an excellent way to recognize the leaders of today and the leaders of tomorrow.

Nominees can be from any agency around the global (federal, state, local, or tribal) and serve in any law enforcement position, sworn or non-sworn. They must be under the age of 40 as of September 1, 2017.

A panel of law enforcement leaders will select the winners based on the following criteria:

  • Complies with age and employment requirements
  • Demonstrates a commitment to law enforcement and exemplifies the values of the profession
  • Capacity for leadership

In addition to the award winners will also receive:

  • A profile in Police Chief magazine
  • A complimentary IACP membership for one-year
  • Free registration for the 2017 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, PA
  • An invitation to the 40 Under 40 Luncheon at the 2017 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition in Philadelphia, PA
  • Transportation expenses to the 2017 IACP Annual Conference and Exposition (up to $500)

Nominations must include the application form, a resume or CV, and a high-resolution photo of the individual. Applications can be accompanied by up to two (optional) letters of recommendation.

The deadline to submit an application is March 1, 2017. There is still time to nominate someone in your agency that you think deserves to be recognized. The winners will be announced in September 2017.

For more information, to download an application, or to view last year’s winners please visit Questions can be directed to Danielle Gudakunst (

Posted in Annual Conference and Exposition, Awards

Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office: Community Engagement

Guest blogger: Tom Woodmansee, Senior Adviser, Safety and Security Division of CNA

badge1The President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing offers several recommendations for collaborating with the community to build relationships of trust between law enforcement officers and the community, including working with community members to produce meaningful public safety results.

Police agencies throughout the country understand and embrace the importance of community policing.  The definition and application of community policing can vary and be interpreted differently from agency to agency, but the benefits of community engagement and collaboration are proven to build trust and problem-solving capabilities between police and their communities.  The Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office (HCSO), Minnesota, established a Community Engagement Team (CET) to develop and build strong, trusting relationships between HCSO and its multi-cultural communities while increasing public safety. mn-group

Community engagement is not only a sound investment for building relationships with the residents HCSO serves, it is also their frontline strategy for countering violent extremism.  HCSO’s community-focused model for countering extremism led to the agency earning the 2016 IACP/Booz Allen Hamilton Outstanding Achievement in the Prevention of Terrorism Award.

HCSO’s CET is comprised of a diverse membership including sworn officers, civilians, and resident advisory councils representing African Americans, Latinos, Asians, American Indians, and East African communities in Hennepin County.

The mission of CET is to engage the community and strengthen partnerships.  A large aspect of CET is providing education on law enforcement and the criminal justice system, which is especially helpful to residents who are new to the United States. CET also assists with employee recruiting, and providing direct outreach to county residents.  CET members serve as ambassadors of the Sheriff’s Office, and strive to create channels of communication that support building goodwill and improving mutual understanding.  One way of creating channels of communication is through actively engaging in multiple social media platforms. Active social media use allows the HCSO to reach out and communicate with a majority of the community quickly and accurately. Members do not participate in investigations or gather law enforcement data.

handshakeQuarterly roundtables with the resident advisory councils build trust between the agency leadership and the community through dialog.  HCSO presenters at the roundtables include the Sheriff, Command Staff, the Professional Standards Division and Personnel Unit.  These roundtables serve as listening sessions and opportunities to educate the residents on the criminal justice system, but also to teach community members about their civil rights and liberties.

In addition to building and strengthening partnerships within the community, CET has had an impact on HCSO and its operations as well. Diversity hiring in HCSO has increased 25% since the start of 2015. Resident feedback also resulted in HCSO policy changes such as allowing matricular IDs from the Mexican Consulate being accepted for jail visitor access, and allowing hajibs to be worn by jail inmates.

The best way to help ensure the safety of the public is to communicate and collaborate with neighborhood members. The Community Engagement Team partners and works with the community members in Hennepin County to produce a safe and welcoming environment.

This blog post is part of a series highlighting best practices in advancing 21st century policing as part of the IACP Institute for Community-Police Relations. Hennepin County is one of fifteen sites selected for participation in the Advancing 21st Century Policing Initiative, a joint project of the COPS Office, CNA, and the IACP to highlight agencies who are actively embracing the principles in the President’s Task Force on 21st Century Policing.


Posted in Uncategorized

Join us at the 2017 Division Midyear Conference

The 2017 Division Midyear Conference is scheduled from April 10-12, 2017 in Litchfield Park, Arizona, located just outside of Phoenix, at the Wigwam Arizona hotel. This meeting welcomes members of the three Divisions – State & Provincial Police (S&P), State Associations of Chiefs of Police (SACOP), and Midsize Agencies (MSA) – and provides members with the opportunity to network, share best practices, and partake in critical training.

Some highlights of this year’s Division Midyear include a Town Hall with IACP President Donald De Lucca and Deputy Executive Director Terrence Cunningham, discussing the Law Enforcement Perspectives 2016 IACP Critical Issue Listening Tour on Tuesday morning. This session will feature findings discovered during last year’s listening tour with police executives from eight locations around the United States and Canada. Attendees will also hear updates from IACP staff on the IACP Institute on Community-Police Relations, IACP/University of Cincinnati Research Center, and new National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiatives.

Throughout the two-day meeting, Division members will receive ample time to share information, lessons learned, and problem solving knowledge during regional roundtables and breakout sessions. The midyear will also feature critical training opportunities for members on topics such as recruitment challenges, department diversity, use of force policies, officer resiliency, officer safety and wellness, and building trust and legitimacy through social media.

The annual IACP/Motorola Trooper of the Year Banquet will close-out the meeting on Wednesday evening. This award program strives to recognize the most courageous and dedicated officers in law enforcement from state and provincial agencies. Additional information on the award program, including how to nominate a trooper from your agency, can be found here.

If you are interested in attending, please register today! There are five attendee registration categories available:  SACOP, S&P, MSA, Federal Partner or spouse. Registration includes the General Chairs’ Welcome Reception on Monday, access to all workshops, and breakfast and lunch on Tuesday and Wednesday. General registration does not include Trooper of the Year Banquet tickets, so please make sure to buy those tickets separately.

Once you are registered, don’t forget to reserve your hotel room at the Wigwam Arizona. Participants can book their rooms here. The last day to be able to secure a room is Friday, March 17, 2017. For travel accommodations, the Sky Harbor International Airport is closest to the meeting location.

If you have any questions regarding the Division Midyear Meeting, registration, or lodging accommodations, please contact Nuyiri Kasbarian and Nicole LeFort.

Posted in Divisions, Education & Training, Membership

Join Us at the 2017 IACP Public Information Officer Midyear Conference

If you’re looking at your training budget for the year trying to decide the best path for professional growth, the IACP Public Information Officer (PIO) Midyear Conference co-hosted by the Aurora, Colorado, Police Department is a conference you don’t want to miss.

From new officers transitioning into the role of PIO to veterans looking to learn from other agencies across the country, the conference will have something for public information officers of all skill levels. Several members of the Aurora Police Department will talk about the tragic Century 21 Theater shootings, from how the PIO managed the mass shooting, to how the agency created a PIO-family liaison program to help communication with the victims’ families. The District Attorney who prosecuted the case will also speak about the challenges of trying the case in a national spotlight.

The perfect follow up to those intense sessions will be a presentation from a local police and public safety psychology specialist about combatting burnout from the electronic leash to which so many PIOs are attached.

On the other side of the digital coin, there will be a panel sure to elicit laughs and gasps when you see how their agency uses Twitter. The Personalities on Twitter session will feature law enforcement PIOs from Denver, Wyoming (Minnesota), Pasco (Florida) and Lawrence (Kansas) whose agency tweets often generate national attention for the responses, hashtags, gifs and photos.

Westminster, Colorado, Police Department PIOs will talk about how they used social media to communicate with the public for 23 intense days during the Jessica Ridgeway case, during which a 10-year-old girl went missing and was later found murdered.

In contrast, when wildfires raged through the Smoky Mountains in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, there was scant social media use by agencies at the time. However, a tremendous amount of messaging was being distributed by the many different governmental agencies involved. Listen to an involved PIO share how they balanced that crush of information and criticism—as well as why social media was not used for certain aspects—all while in the national spotlight.

The Mountain View, California, Police Department PIO will teach you about a relatively unused but powerful storytelling tool—the podcast! From free recording tools to storytelling options, become a podcast prodigy in a time when the push for many has become video first.

Attendees will also learn valuable lessons about the fatal friendly fire shooting of an undercover officer at the Prince George’s County, Maryland, Police Department. Their strategy to release detailed information quickly helped them manage the national media, keep their local community informed and respond to the law enforcement critics who used this crisis to further their cause on social media.

The Alameda County, California, Sheriff’s Office will explain how they got their nationally-recognized, successful drone program off the ground using smart communication tactics from the start. Attendees will learn about the pros and cons of starting a drone program, including lessons learned, perceptions, privacy rights, media messaging and accountability. PIOs will also explain how successful programs keep officers, rescuers, suspects and victims safer and reduce liability and risk.

These are just some of the incredible presentations you’ll hear.

In addition to this great learning experience, you will also have the opportunity to meet and get to know PIOs from law enforcement agencies across the country. Your fellow colleagues will be great resources for you when you have questions about social media, go through your own high profile incidents or just want to bounce ideas off of someone who understands your world.

We hope you will join us in Aurora, Colorado, on May 8, 9 and 10th! For more information and to register for the midyear conference, visit




Posted in Membership, Sections, Social Media, Technology

Moving Forward by Acknowledging the Past

On September 8th, 1940, the local LaGrange, GA, newspaper ran a story on the last page about Austin Callaway’s death and the incidents that led to his death. Seventy-six years later, Callaway’s story is on the front page of multiple nationwide media outlets, including CNN, the New York Times, NBC, and CBS.

Austin Callaway, an 18 year-old African American male, was sent to jail for allegedly assaulting a white woman in LaGrange.  Later that night, Callaway was removed from his cell by group of armed men wearing hoods, shot six times, and left for dead.  There was no official police record or investigation. The nature of Callaway’s death was unknown to the community and the LaGrange Police Department until recently.

Last week, at a packed Warren Temple United Methodist Church, Chief Louis Dekmar publically apologized for the police department’s lack of action regarding Callaway. Chief Dekmar, who is also the First Vice President of the IACP, acknowledged that the police department had a responsibility to protect Callaway while he was in custody. In an effort to reduce the strain between the community and the police department, Chief Dekmar addressed and recognized the incident. “The event was graciously and warmly received by our community, black and white. It has enhanced the racial trust building efforts we’ve been involved with in the past two years,” expressed Chief Dekmar.

Chief Dekmar hopes that this acknowledgement helps the community move forward while learning from past. Events like these help to increase the legitimacy of the police department in the eyes of the community. Acknowledging the past shows that the police department is making a conscious effort to work with the community in a transparent manner.

The local National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Troup County representative Mr. Ernest Ward, Councilman Willie T. Edmonson, and family members of Austin Callaway including Mrs. Deborah Tatum attended and announced they accepted Chief Dekmar’s apology. Also in attendance at the event and showing support to both Callaway’s family and the police department were Mayor Jim Thornton, Judge Jeannette Little, and community leader Dan McAlexander, who also acknowledged the incident and the lack of response.

This acknowledgement was well received by the community due to the continued trust building efforts of the Troup County Commission, the police department, the Mayor, city council members, and the Troup County branch of the NAACP through the Troup County Racial Trust Building Initiative.  Trust building trainings at local LaGrange College are held frequently and all of the organizers of the initiative meet monthly in a public forum at multiple locations throughout the Troup County area to discuss concerns and successes of the trainings and what is happening in the community.  These trainings helped create the proper climate and tone in the community, so that the message from Chief Dekmar would be perceived in the manner in which the department meant it.

Chief Dekmar and the LaGrange Police Department believe that this event was the first step toward a dialogue that will continue to help in community unification.

Posted in Community-Police Relations