FROM THE NET WORKS NEWSLETTER, FALL 2006, VOL. 22, NO. 3
“I’m not sure where I would have turned prior to IACP Net. We’d been looking for something like it, a clearinghouse of law enforcement-related information father than a dozen different resources to sort through,” said Tom Trulson, Grants Coordinator/Planning and Research Assistant at Lakeland, Florida, Police Department. “The more I look at IACP Net’s extensive resources, the more I feel like I’ve really just scratched the surface.”
Lakeland’s police department — at 234 sworn officers and 117 civilian employees — is facing a population and annexation boom that’s straining its resources. To cover more territory more efficiently, the LPD might have to decentralize. “Lakeland has grown dramatically,” said Trulson. “If you’re a service department, such as the police, how do you provide the same level of service to the public with limited resources?”
For Trulson, one of the answers is IACP Net. After initially using IACP Net to research grants, Trulson’s IACP Net use has expanded dramatically in order to address everything from community policing to resource allocation to abating street-corner prostitution. To match the variety of research topics, Trulson uses as many aspects of IACP Net as possible-from the News Section to IACP Net’s substantial databases.
Need Agency News Fast?
Read All About It on IACP Net
Trulson is excited about IACP Net’s News Section-especially the news summaries written by Sal Perri. “I love Sal Perri’s column,” said Trulson. “I often forward it to our operational staff, because it’s so on target with what we’re dealing with, and you learn what other agencies are experiencing?”
Trulson also forwards many of Sal’s articles to his Chief. Recently, he took the initiative to send the Chief a news summary about integrity in departmental culture — one of the core values of his department. “I’ve been researching and forwarding any articles I locate which have local applicability directly to the Chief,” he said. “The Lakeland Police Department can’t afford not to keep abreast of what’s going on in law enforcement?”
Mired in Statistics? IACP Net Helps Sort It Out
In addition to Sal Perri’s columns, Trulson has been forwarding other resources from IACP Net directly to his Chief as well-including news articles and database documents. For example, when the Chief needed recent statistics on law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, Trulson was able to locate a news article in the IACP Net database that highlighted preliminary FBI statistics for 2005. “I immediately recalled having read a recent article on IACP Net on that issue. In a matter of minutes I was able to locate it,” said Trulson. “For me, that was a classic example of how locating pertinent data on IACP Net is fast and easy.”
On a Quest for an Answer?
Ask Chiefs Across the Nation
Like so many of his law enforcement peers, Trulson also regularly uses the Quest-Response Service to find out how other departments handle specific problems. For example, when a problematic nightclub escalated into an officer safety issue, Trulson posted a Quest for an ordinance mandating nightclub ownership some responsibility for crowd control. “This nightclub had a tendency to get out of hand, and we’d have to pull excess manpower off the street,” said Trulson. “One of our patrol captains asked me to see what other departments were doing. We were looking for a policy, procedure or ordinance that went beyond simply taking liquor licenses away and made out-of-control crowds something the business owner had to pay for. We got a good response, and subsequently a city ordinance is now under development to address the problem”
Trulson is quick to stress how easy it is to use IACP Net to its full potential, and how its benefits far outweigh the cost. “If there’s a chief considering IACP Net, but is afraid it’s going to be hard to navigate-it’s not. It’s current and easy to use, and if you do have trouble, support staff is there to help you;” Trulson pointed out. “And because there are so many members out there that are all law enforcement professionals, you can trust it. You’re dealing with senior staff who have current, valid information and know what they’re talking about. IACP Net just makes sense. Why would you go somewhere else?”
[Editor’s Note: Mr. Trulson has transferred out of the Grants Coordinator/Planning and Research Assistant position at the Lakeland Police Department. We wish him the best in his future endeavors.]