FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, FALL 2006, VOL. 22, NO. 3
Chief Robert Weitzel remembers life without IACP Net in the Napoleon, Ohio, Police Department: It was rough. “We had very few educational opportunities,” said Chief Weitzel. “Researching what was going on in the trade was really tough for us.” Indeed, before IACP Net revolutionized law enforcement information, information gathering was a tall order for the department. “We’re in a rural community, we’re out a ways-before IACP Net, you’d either have to make an awful lot of phone calls or drive an awful lot of miles,” said the Chief. “Now I can just turn 180 degrees in my chair and the information is there.”
That Was Then in Law Enforcement…
“We were originals,” noted Chief Weitzel, who worked for the department when it became a founding member of IACP Net, which launched in 1991. “Back then, several of the people here were really pushing technology. I thought IACP Net would be ideal for us.”
He was right. For the last 15 years, the Napoleon Police Department has been using IACP Net to successfully update policies, research law enforcement products and services, and keep abreast of trends in the industry.
Early on, then-Lieutenant Weitzel used IACP Net to find grant information and policies. “In the beginning, we didn’t have a solid rules and regulations book,” said Weitzel. “So we’d go ahead and download policies from IACP Net, which helped.”
…This Is Now
Today, Chief Weitzel still uses IACP Net for those reasons and more. For example, he uses the Quest-Response Service — where police executives from across the nation post and reply to questions — to evaluate products and services. “The Quest-Response Service is like sitting in a room of people talking, overhearing their conversation and gaining their knowledge. ‘Oh, I really like this company…’ or ‘I like one system better than another.’ You learn a whole lot.” For example, the Chief used the Quest-Response Service to research in-car computers and how officers were using them. IACP Net helped him choose which brand of computer to purchase.
Most recently, the Chief used IACP Net to research carbine rifles in patrol vehicles as he cycled out shotguns that were originally in the cars. “I ended up in a thread talking about my philosophies on carbines, and I got a lead on a particular rifle. I got a hold of it and tested it.”
When asked how he continues to justify purchasing IACP Net for his department, Chief Weitzel turned philosophical. “It’s just like insurance. How do you justify having insurance? When you need it, it’s there,” he said. “I pay less for IACP Net access than I do updating my law books. In the grand scheme of things, the cost of IACP Net isn’t that much.
“If somebody asks me a question and I don’t have an answer, I have an instant resource in IACP Net that will probably give me an answer or direction,” said Chief Weitzel. “We didn’t have that 16 years ago. Now you don’t have to wonder what everyone else is doing. You can find out right at your desk. It was a really helpful thing right away — it still is.”
[Editor’s Note: Chief Weitzel has retired from the Napoleon Police Department. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.]