FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, SPRING 2006, VOL. 22, NO. 2
Like all law enforcement departments, the duties of the Frankfort, Kentucky, Police Department range beyond criminal enforcement. Frankfort’s 70 sworn officers are integral to the well-being of the city, serving its 27,000+ residents through drug prevention projects, officer-coached baseball and basketball programs for kids such as “Hit, Pitch, and Run,” a citizens’ police academy, and other forms of community education. With such a full plate, Chief Walter Wilhoite and his officers use IACP Net as a resource to help connect directly to their community.
IACP Net Makes Speeches Easy
“Oftentimes, you’re asked to give speeches or your opinion on topics,” said Chief Wilhoite. “I’ve researched a lot of these topics using IACP Net, just to get some talking points.” For example, the chief recently spoke to a group of senior citizens about the dangers of identity theft-and he’d had very little prep time. “When you’re called to speak on short notice, it’s so easy to click on IACP Net, run a quick search, and get a few topics for a 10 – 15 minute speech”
IACP Net Brings Trends to Light
Ways to use IACP Net to connect with the Frankfort community are abundant because of the many and varied resources gathered from communities across the nation. “The good thing about IACP Net is you know the information is relevant, because police professionals are using it right now:’ noted the Chief.
Late last winter, Chief Wilhoite helped Frankfort’s City Solicitor craft an effective new noise ordinance by giving him examples from other communities gathered from IACP Net. He consolidated these into an ordinance that was perfect for Frankfort. In addition, Chief Wilhoite has been collecting examples of evaluation forms and policies to revamp the department’s employee evaluation process. “The interesting thing about IACP Net is that even if you’re not looking for something specific, you can still see what the trends are in other departments and states,” observed Chief Wilhoite. “It can give you a real heads-up to the future.”
IACP Net Strengthens Policy Manuals
Chief Wilhoite is also using IACP Net to compile policies for this year’s policy manual overhaul. Other than employee evaluation information, the chief is especially intrigued by new policy information on the site about conceal-and-carry for police retirees and departmental honor guards-both topics that he recently realized were hot issues for the department. “Whenever I see a good policy that I don’t already have, I copy it, and put it in a file that I call ‘proposed policies,'” noted Chief Wilhoite, “and that givers me a reminder to look later on, to see it it’s something I can adapt or research in the future.”
It’s important that department policy meets industry standards, and not just because Frankfort is currently in the process of seeking State accreditation. “IACP Net’s cost is minimal compared to the cost of a lawsuit because you either didn’t know what the industry standard was or you couldn’t come up with one. If you don’t have your policies, if you don’t take preventative action, you’re going to pay for it later.” Said the chief, “it’s pay me now, or pay me later.”
[Editor’s Note: Chief Wilhoite has retired from the Frankfort Police Department. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.]