A National Police Academy? Is This a Power Grab By the Federal Government?

In our last post we talked about forming a group of stakeholders to help determine the types of training required at the National Police Academy. This group was comprised of law enforcement professionals, the public, and others, whom we called infrastructure. As the post ended we left it up to ‘leadership’ to merge all of the competing needs in this training in order to present a comprehensive training program. So, who is leadership?

There are two groups already in place that will provide the leadership and direction for this initiative. The first is the National Sheriffs’ Association. sheriffsassociation2They have been providing training and leadership in law enforcement circles since 1940. Their stated goal is to raise the level of professionalism in law enforcement, making them a perfect choice for this task. The NSA’s Center for Public Safety will take the lead in this effort.

The second is the International Association of Chiefs of Police. iacpFounded in 1893, the association’s goals are to advance the science and art of police services; to foster police cooperation and the exchange of information and experience among police administrators throughout the world; to bring about recruitment and training in the police profession of qualified persons; and to encourage adherence of all police officers to high professional standards of performance and conduct. Within the IACP, the Training and Professional Services Division will be the lead division.

Initially these two groups will provide 25 members to the leadership committee. The NSA will provide 15 members and the IACP will provide 10. The NSA has more selections in recognition that sheriff’s are the only elected law enforcement officials in our country. The group will elect a chair (from the NSA) and a vice-chair (from the IACP) who will then appoint the other leadership officers with the advice and consent of the remaining members.

Although this initiative will be led by the NSA and the IACP, funding will be provided by three federal agencies that already have a mandate to help law enforcement and our labor force. These agencies include the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Department of Labor and the U.S. Department of Defense. Of note, the DoD has the responsibility of helping veterans find employment in civilian life when they separate from active duty.
Note: Although these agencies will provide funding, neither they nor the federal government will have any control or authority over the management and operation of the NPA.

no big governmentFor those of you with an understanding and knowledge of the origins of law enforcement in the United States you will know that unlike virtually any other country, our nation made a determination, from the very beginning, to have local control of their police forces. There is nothing in this initiative that would change that. Individual cities and departments can opt in or out of this training as they choose. This initiative is limited to training and in no way affects the control or authority over or of any department.

This initiative is designed to address common training needs across the country. It is not intended to eliminate the need for localized training. Even departments that send their recruits to the NPA might still need to provide training for local circumstances. Examples of individualized training needs might be for communities with a high number of immigrants or those that have critical infrastructure (e.g. water systems) that need to be protected.

Next post:  Why the NPA is good idea.

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