Leadership and Partnership in Law Enforcement

This past week the IACP held its 121st annual conference in Orlando, Florida. With about 25,000 police leaders from all over the world each attendant leaves with their own impressions and I am writing to share mine by highlighting three activities worth noting.

First, the IACP Community Policing Committee had one of its best educational sessions. Attended by more than 300 people it was titled “Has Your State Drug Policy Gone Up in Smoke? The Real Story of What Every Police Chief Needs to Know” and featured speakers from the DEA, State police (Washington), local police (Colorado), treatment experts, and international representatives from Belgium and Holland. The consensus that emerged from this session is that the legalization trends are starting to show unintended consequences that defy expectations. Colorado data point out that homelessness is up an estimated 153% (in Denver), high cash enterprises have increased, hospitalization up 82% from 2008 to 2013, and student referral on marijuana incidents is up 45%.  In other words, the problem is getting worse not better.  It is the classical proof that solving one problem has created another. It also showed the extent to which the work is cut out for community policing efforts. 

Second, FBI Director James Comey provided an inspiring address at the first General Assembly. Federal agencies often stress the importance of partnering with (and relying on) state and local agencies. Comey went a step further: he has instructed all FBI SACs to meet in conjunction with the IACP and this way get closer to the law enforcement community in a show of determination that this is indeed a two-way partnership.  He also showed a clear understanding of the threat of international (and domestic) terrorism and expressed a growing concern about what he called (in a 60 Minutes interview) the “Lone Rat” and the need for better intelligence measures that are hampered by modern commercial technology.

Third – as far as I know - for the first time in Israel’s history, its police commissioner attended an IACP annual conference. Better say, two conferences. Commissioner Yochanan Danino attended the 120th conference last year in Philadelphia where he spoke in several sessions.  He attended again this year in Orlando where in addition to speaking and meetings with his counterparts he received the Leadership Prize from PERF for partnering with his Jordanian and Palestinian peers on matters of public safety in what PERF called an “Unprecedented Middle East Policing Project.” See more here. He shared the prize with Interior Minister Hussein Hazza al-Majali, the former head of Jordan’s public security forces (who attended the IACP), and the head of the Palestinian Civil Police, Gen. Hazem Atallah (who did not attend). In photo L-R: Charles Ramsey, Commissioner, Philadelphia Police Department; Hussein Hazza al-Majali, Jordanian Interior Minister, Yochanan Danino, Commissioner, Israel Police, Terry Gainer, U.S. Senate Sergeant at Arms (2007-2014), and Chuck Wexler, Executive Director, PERF.

But his attending the IACP had more to it than receiving an award.  Commissioner Danino included four commanders from the Southern Police District that have demonstrated outstanding leadership traits during the 50 days of Operation Protective Edge (July-August 2014) when their jurisdictions were under the barrage of more than 4,500 projectiles from Gaza. By identifying outstanding command staff and having them attend the IACP he created an opportunity for professional leadership development.

Now, an observer’s comment: There are several highly important law enforcement organizations that set the professional tone for the police profession. Of those, the IACP is the largest and most important and several organizations actually hold their annual meetings in conjunction with the IACP. This gives an opportunity for police leaders from around the world to meet, exchange ideas, develop projects, enhance partnerships, cooperate with peers, and share cutting edge-developments in the profession. If anything, it is surprising that until recently Israel and its police force have not actively participated in the IACP.  While the resident Israel Police attaché in the U.S. tended to participate, it is encouraging to see that the commissioner understands the importance of building and strengthening international relations among sister law enforcement agencies.  This is not to say that such relations were absent.  It is, however, to say that it received the proper priority and emphasis by the top leadership.

I started with the impression left on me by the community policing session, continued with the community policing elements of the FBI director and ended with the international Middle East partnerships that received proper recognition.  Community policing is about developing partnerships, being proactive, and most important, trying to curb crime before it occurs.  All three elements mentioned above do exactly that.  These serve as encouraging role models to illustrate what community policing has to offer for local, regional, national, and international policing.

Share This:

You must be logged in to comment.