Community relations is among the most consequential challenges facing law enforcement agencies across the United States of America. With support from the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Community Oriented Policing (COPS Office), Atlanta-based MovementForward, Inc. is pleased to announce a timely national training and professional development conference for law enforcement professionals tasked with community engagement and outreach. The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), National Sheriffs’ Association, National District Attorneys’ Association, and the International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators are collaborators of the conference.
During the first-of-its-kind Professionalizing Law Enforcement-Community Engagement Training (PLECET) national conference May 3, 2023 - May 6, 2023, hundreds of officers from throughout the country will meet in downtown Atlanta, Georgia. The purpose of the conference is to professionalize the emerging community engagement sector of policing by establishing an annual specialized training, networking, and professional development summit for sworn and non-sworn personnel assigned to community engagement roles in law enforcement agencies across the nation.
PLECET will feature a premiere group of speakers, presenters, scholars, researchers, and community engagement practitioners with proven successes. Built around an instructionally-designed curriculum, the instructors will share leading and promising practices to equip community engagement practitioners with best-in-class competencies to maximize their impact. This will include sessions on how to develop and implement a strategy, form sustainable partnerships, respond to controversial incidents, plan and execute events, leverage community partners to assist in crime solving, and other key topics. Attendees will have an opportunity to network face-to-face with their colleagues working in similar roles across the nation. A new Law Enforcement Community Engagement Network (LECEN) will be launched to provide ongoing training, access to critical information, and peer support throughout the year.
“There is a critical need for focused training, professional development, and networking opportunities for community engagement roles within law enforcement,” says President & CEO, Reverend Markel Hutchins, MovementForward, Inc. The noted civil rights leader continued, “While many agencies host outreach events, there are few formal training opportunities. This stands apart from how officers assigned to other specialized functions all have targeted, unique training and networking opportunities through which they have access to best practices, peer support, industry expertise, and current research.
"National Sheriffs’ Association Board Member and Education Committee Chairman, Baldwin County (Alabama) Sheriff Huey Hoss Mack addressed the need for best practices training, “A skilled approach to community partnerships is required to ensure that all stakeholders work together to address our public safety challenges in this nation. His words were echoed by David Hess, chairman of the Community Policing Committee of the IACP and Roxboro (North Carolina) Chief of Police, “The (PLECET) conference is dedicated to assisting our nation’s law enforcement agencies’ efforts to promote healthy communities where officers and residents work collaboratively.
”Challenges with community engagement are also contributing to staffing difficulties in law enforcement nationally, potentially compromising public safety in local communities. In a video announcement released today about PLECET, IACP President Chief John Letteney from Thomasville, Georgia said, “Agencies across the country are struggling to recruit and retain officers.”
Hutchins concluded, “Through our work with thousands of agencies and local community organizations, coast-to-coast, it has become clear that there is a need for both comprehensive training for public safety personnel tasked with community outreach as well as a national network to enable their ongoing professional development.”
More than 700 community-focused law enforcement professionals have registered to attend, representing local, state, federal, campus, tribal, and prosecutorial agencies across all 50 states. Conference registration officially closes on April 17, 2023.
Registration is on a first come, first serve basis.