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September
01
2003
IACP Net Helps Motorcycle Patrol Roll in Quincy

FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, WINTER 2004, VOL. 19, NO. 3

  • For a planning and research officer, IACP Net is just phenomenal. It makes my job easy.
  • Officer James Cress
    Quincy, Illinois, Police Department

Finding fundraising ideas for a motorcycle patrol and developing a policy for putting automatic external defibrillators (AEDs) in squad cars are just two examples of how the Quincy, Illinois, Police Department has benefited from IACP Net. “IACP Net is the first place I turn to for law enforcement information,” said James Cress, planning and research officer for the department. “IACP Net has such a vast library of information, I usually don’t have to look anywhere else.”

With more than 1,000 member agencies, IACP Net is the leading information and networking tool for law enforcement professionals. The service allows members to search databases containing the experiences and practices of other agencies, post Quests (requests for information), research grants, receive news updates and more. “I use IACP Net to research policies and programs that we’re either involved with or thinking of getting involved with,” said Officer Cress. “I also use the Quest feature to solicit information from other members.

The department wanted to start a motorcycle patrol to help officers access areas where traffic obstructed the squad cars. But financing motorcycles and equipment while police budgets were being cut was a big problem. Officer Cress turned to IACP Net for ideas. “Through IACP Net, I received a lot of information from agencies about funding motorcycles-including some ideas that I wouldn’t have had a clue about. We used an idea from another department that used fundraising through local organizations. An officer within our department who was connected with the local Harley-Davidson(r) Owners Group (H.O.G.(r)) contacted the group, and they took us on as a project. H.O.G. raised over $12,000 for our patrol.”

Quincy now has two officers on motorcycles. The program is still in its early stages, but in just over one month, it has already improved public relations. “People go nuts over motorcycles. They have brought the department closer to both kids and adults.”

The department also used IACP Net to develop its policy for putting AEDs in squad cars. The policy has already been a lifesaver. “Our department was looking at three different brands of defibrillators. I posted a Quest on IACP Net to find out who was using what and how they carried and stored the units. The sales reps had all said that AEDs were practically indestructible and could be stored in 100º temperatures or down to 30º below. Using IACP Net, I learned that this information wasn’t accurate. Heat drains the AED’s batteries, and cold cause the pads not to stick,” said Officer Cress. “When you talk to other departments who have used the equipment, you get a real-world perspective.” Officer Cress learned that cities with climates similar to Quincy removed units from squad cars at the ends of shifts and stored them indoors. Because temperatures are intensified in enclosed spaces, many departments also chose to carry the units in the passenger compartment rather than the trunk. “Keeping the AED in the passenger compartment makes the unit easier to get to when the officer needs it,” said Officer Cress. “We actually had a case where an officer was able to grab his AED and jump out of his car to save a guy. He said that if the unit had been in the trunk, it would have taken him longer to get it.”

IACP Net also provided information about AED reports, documentation and training. “We didn’t have a clue what kind of reports we needed to write or what kind of documentation we should be keeping. We knew we needed training, but we weren’t sure how much,” said Officer Cress. Several IACP Net members sent Officer Cress AED policies that mandated annual training and monthly refresher courses. Officer Cress was able to modify the policies to fit his department’s needs, implementing a yearly refresher course instead of a monthly one as originally thought needed. “Seeing policies that other departments have developed gives you an idea of the direction you want to go, even if you don’t use the policies verbatim. The policy that we wrote was a combination of the three policies that I pulled off the network.”

By researching new programs and products on IACP net, Officer Cress helps the Quincy Police Department to identify unknowns and avoid pitfalls. “Knowing ahead of time what pitfalls or problems you may encounter is going to save you money and time. IACP Net provides huge cost savings across the board. Departments are constantly trying to protect themselves from lawsuits. They’re trying to protect citizens from injury, and they’re trying to protect their officers from injury. When you can find information that is going to assist you in saving a life or preventing a lawsuit, it’s invaluable. For a planning and research officer, IACP Net is just phenomenal. It makes my job easy.”

[Editor’s Note: Officer Cress is no longer with the Quincy Police Department. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.]