Becoming a Police Officer: Professional Associations (page 2)
THE NUMBER of law enforcement professional associations is huge. Some are actually unions which bargain collectively for all the officers in a department; others are fraternal or sororal associations for officers of similar race, sex, ethnicity, or religious affiliation. Some associations concentrate on officers with similar types of assignments, such as canine officers, bomb technicians, or training officers. Still other associations are aimed at management ranks, but often permit lowerranking officers to belong as non-voting members and attend meetings and training conferences.
The list that follows describes some of the larger law enforcement associations. In addition to the groups listed, a more general Internet search using such phrases as "police organizations," "African-American police," "women police," and "sheriffs' associations" will yield hundreds of other groups whose websites can help a police candidate learn more about the profession.
Most law enforcement professional associations are open only to those already employed in the field. However, through these associations, you will find general information about the law enforcement profession, an indication of the range of groups that exist, and, in some cases, advice for applicants, sometimes including links to departments with vacant positions. Additionally, since many of these groups list individual chapters located around the United States, you may be able to establish a relationship with a group in your geographic area that will help you locate a job vacancy or even prepare you to meet the eligibility requirements.
Remember that a job search is not for the bashful. When you find an association listed that mirrors your interests or is based in your area, use the "Contact Us" or a similar link to ask if you are eligible to attend meetings and whether the group sponsors job fairs or offers scholarships for those interested in a policing career.
Airborne Law Enforcement Association (ALEA)
An association of civilian pilots and technicians, sworn officers, and aircraft and avionics manufacturers. It holds a national conference and provides training material for law enforcement agencies interested in developing airborne units. A police candidate with thoughts about becoming a pilot would be well-advised to visit the ALEA website.
American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME)
A national federation of civil service workers, AFSCME is a union, which as of 2006 represented about 1.4 million police officers in more than 100 affiliate associations that support police officers during contract negotiations.
ASIS International (formerly the American Society for Industrial Security) (ASIS-International)
Founded in 1955 to professionalize the security industry, ASIS International currently has over 36,000 members in more than 200 chapters throughout the world, most of whom are in management positions in private security companies, although many public law enforcement officers are also members. Generally chapters meet regularly to listen to a speaker discuss an area where private security and law enforcement overlap or where better cooperation is sought. The association publishes a monthly magazine, Security Management; many articles are written by security professionals and provide an overview of issues in the field. A number of chapters have college affiliates and offer scholarships to students studying security or planning to enter law enforcement.
Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association (FLEOA)
Founded in 1977, FLEOA in 2008 represented more than 25,000 federal agents from more than 65 law enforcement agencies. As the bargaining agent for federal law enforcement officers, FLEOA focuses its activities on such issues as salary, disability benefits, and the right of retirees to carry their firearms. There are a number of links to federal law enforcement agencies on FLEOA's website.
Fraternal Order of Police (FOP)
Founded in 1915 by two police officers, the FOP acts as a union in many jurisdictions, but in others is solely a social group organized into local and state lodges. In 2008 there were more than 325,000 members in more than 2,000 lodges; about half the unionized law enforcement officers in the United States are represented by an FOP lodge.
Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association (HAPCOA)
Established in California in 1973, HABCOA is the largest and oldest organization of Hispanic-American command officers in criminal justice agencies in the United States and Puerto Rico. More than 1,200 officers employed at all levels of law enforcement are organized through 12 local chapters and a national office located in Virginia; a major goal is to encourage the recruitment, retention, and promotion of Hispanic-Americans in law enforcement.
International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)
From a small conference in 1959, IACLEA has grown into an organization whose membership represents more than 2,000 colleges and universities throughout the world, although most are in the United States and Canada. A bimonthly magazine, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, reaches close to 2,000 campus law enforcement administrators and provides an introduction into campus policing issues for applicants considering employment in this growing area of policing.
International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP)
Founded under a somewhat different name in 1893, the IACP is the oldest and largest association of police executives; in 2008 its more than 20,000 members came from about 90 countries. In addition to an annual conference that generally attracts at least 12,000 people, many of whom are chiefs of their agencies, regional conferences are also held around the world to accommodate those who cannot get to the United States or Canada for the annual meeting and to address issues of interest outside North America. The IACP issues policies and standards and tries to be a centralized voice for the approximately 18,000 U.S. police departments. It publishes a monthly magazine, The Police Chief; articles are often written by chiefs of police highlighting local solutions to law enforcement issues. The IACP also lobbies the U.S. Congress on police-related issues and provides numerous training programs.
International Association of Women Police (IAWP)
Formed in 1956 as the continuation of a much earlier association of women officers, the IAWP is open to men and women but is primarily made up of women police personnel of all ranks in all types of law enforcement. Although international membership has grown in the last two decades, most members are from the United States and Canada. In addition to a quarterly magazine, Women Police, the IAWP hosts an annual training conference that features an international police scholarship winner and highlights both general police topics and issues facing and successes of female personnel around the world.
International Brotherhood of Police Officers/SEIU (IBPO)
A union that supports its member organizations with a full-time staff of negotiators, labor attorneys, and a political action committee that finances pro-law enforcement, pro-union candidates for political office, and that lobbies in Washington, DC and in a number of state legislatures on behalf of its members.
International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT)
In addition to the many other types of workers it represents, the IBT is the bargaining agent for about 15,000 police officers in slightly over 200 agencies. Like the IUPA, it is affiliated with the AFL-CIO.
International Union of Police Associations/AFL-CIO (IUPA)
A union for law enforcement, corrections, and related support personnel, IUPA was chartered as a national organization in 1954. In 1966 it expanded to include Canadian police associations, requiring a change of name from National Union of Police Associations to its current international title. In 1979, IUPA became the first law enforcement union chartered by the AFLCIO. In 2008, IUPA represented more than 100,000 members in more than 350 locals in the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, and the United States Virgin Islands.
National Association of Asian American Law Enforcement Commanders (NAAALEC)
This is one of the newer ethnic-based commanders' organizations. Formed in 2002 by officers from San Francisco, Los Angeles, Houston, and New York City, the group has expanded rapidly. Its annual training conference is held in conjunction with two other groups, the National Asian Peace Officers' Association (NAPOA) and the Asian Law Enforcement Society (ALES). In addition to promoting recruitment of Asian-Americans into law enforcement, the group provides scholarship assistance to Asian/Pacific candidates.
Washington Virtual Academies
Tuition-free online school for Washington students.
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