Membership survey drives ILACP strategic planning  

November 29, 2021 

Each of the association's committees presented an update and discussion on strategy for the coming year.  

Below is an outline of the updates included in this report. Click a committee name to jump to the update:

Education and Programs │ Finance and Strategic Planning │Public Relations │Professional Recognition Small Agency Communications and Technology Officer Wellness Traffic Safety Constitution, By-Laws and Resolutions  Ethics and Past Presidents  Legal  Legislative Other Topics 

On Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021, members of the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police gathered in Hazel Crest, Illinois for the Annual Planning Meeting. All members of the Board of Officers were there, and all committee chairs were invited.  

Executive Director Ed Wojcicki began the meeting by highlighting some of the proud moments for ILACP in 2021. His remarks included the Federal Use of Force Certification grant funding, ILACP’s increased engagement on social media and Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul’s mention of Immediate Past President Chief James Black (Crystal Lake) in his banquet speech at ILACP’s annual banquet, which was representative of the association’s growing collaboration with public officials 

A comprehensive analysis of the 2021 Membership Survey informed the daylong meeting which included strategic reflections by each committee chair. Results and analysis of the membership survey was presented by Lester McCarroll, Jr., venture and strategy development consultant, who worked with longtime ILACP leader John Furcon, a management consultant and executive coach, to compile and examine members’ responses. The goal of the meeting was to foster collaboration and brainstorm solutions to most effectively meet the needs of members by fulfilling the association’s mission to promote the professional and personal development of our members through innovative services, training, and camaraderie.   

Education and Programs Committee 

Police Chief Ray Cordell (Oakwood Hills) heads the Education and Programs Committee and reported another busy year with the launch of ILACP’s e-learning program and the postponement of spring’s annual conference to August. The continual development of the e-learning program fits with the association’s aim to make educational resources more accessible for all members regardless of location. In part, this strategy is meant to allow members to manage busy schedules and to attract more members from areas of the state. Future training will continue to be in person with online options when feasible.  

Upcoming items of priority for the committee include: 

  • Communicating what is needed by departments to meet the requirements of the 30-hour training mandates 
  • Addressing the most desirable areas of interest for members in terms of training: use of force, technology, leadership, police officer recruitment and retention, and disciplinary proceedings.    
  • Plans to develop a monthly podcast to share more in-depth conversations about the topics that members deemed most valuable.  
  • As in past years, the committee will continue to promote scholarship opportunities for the Northwestern School of Staff and Command 
Finance and Strategic Planning Committee 

Consultant John Furcon and Chief David Bradford (Glen Carbon, Ret.) lead the Finance and Strategic Planning Committee. Recent achievements by the group over the past year include working with an external auditor to confirm that the association’s financial operations follow federal and state requirements and that ILACP’s long-term financial stability is sound. Members also assisted ILACP Executive Director Ed Wojcicki in developing and implementing a revised budget after the cancellation of some in-person events in 2021.  

The committee will be working toward the following as we look toward 2022: 

  • Investigating the pros and cons of agency membership vs. individual membership 
  • Planning the “annual meeting” of the ILACP foundation board, which is long overdue.  
  • Possibly conducting a more traditional strategic planning workshop with BOO to define next set of ILACP strategic goals 
Public Relations Committee 

Deputy Chief Andy Johnson (Hanover Park) provides leadership and continuous effort for ILACP’s PR Committee. The past year has been filled with challenges for law enforcement professionals, and many of these obstacles have affected the public relations efforts of ILACP. Amidst all the negativity, ILACP has hit some significant positive milestones in its outreach in 2021.

Activity on the association’s Facebook page has exploded well beyond the goal of adding 1,000 new followers per year. From April 2020 to April 2021, ILACP went from 5,201 followers to 8,708. For comparison, Wisconsin Chiefs have 222, Indiana has 555 and Michigan has 2,140 followers. We reached a record level of engagement with a post sharing a letter penned by Chief Delmore (Gulf Shores, AL) that resonated beyond our followers -- over 400,000 engaged with that post. In general, our audience is very interested in posts related to legislative matters.

  • Looking forward, the public relations committee will be focused on the following priorities:
  • Engaging additional members to serve on the committee and engage with the strategy.
  • Working closely with Communication Director Amy Jones and the FrontlineCo team to develop additional social media platforms, most notably expanding outreach efforts on LinkedIn. Articles and posts by leaders in the organization have been identified as highly valuable by members and will be developed and shared in new ways.
  • Potentially engaging Illinois Police Departments who have full-time public information officers and public relations teams in order to find a way to connect with these communication professionals.
  • Seek out reporters or other media people who are supportive of law enforcement and might help get out positive stories.
Professional Recognition Committee 

Police Chief Patrick Rollins (Sugar Grove) is chair of the Professional Recognition Committee which oversees ILACP’s Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (ILEAP) that now includes 45 agencies. In September, ILACP announced a new partnership with Power DMS so that all agencies benefit from using their accreditation tools with discounts for our members.  

Several items were identified as areas of priority for 2022: 

  • Opportunity to market the chief’s certification program to current Deputy Chiefs and help departments develop a viable succession plan.  
  • Explore the benefits of promoting certification to city managers and mayors to encourage chiefs to take partCould we get an email list to target them with messages? 
  • Suggest a P/R program to promote certification to identify qualified candidates. 
  • Thus far, ILEAP is implemented with unpaid assessors. For a variety of reasons, this is likely to change and planning is needed for that transition.  
  • Other avenues of promotion for ILEAP include the Illinois Municipal League and Illinois Risk Management Authority (IRMA). More research needed on the possibility that risk management and insurance agencies will recognize certification. Additional data can be completed on claim histories of ILEAP certified vs. non-certified towns 
  • Based on the survey, there may be a need to communicate the value of ILEAP to members who do not currently see it as a benefit to their department and community 
Small Agency Committee

Chief Steven Bein leads the Small Agency Committee to provide guidance and resources for departments with 10 or fewer full-time sworn officers. The committee has been focused on how the SAFE-T Act specifically impacts smaller agencies and how to address areas of concern.  

Future strategy will include: 

  • The possibility of establishing a separate policy database for small agencies to provide more tailored resources that could serve small agency members’ needs and attract new members.  

Communications and Technology Committee 

Craig Allen (Illinois State Police, Ret.) and Police Chief Harry Masse (Metropolis) are the co-chairs of the Communications and Technology committee. The committee has had several notable achievements this year including a collaboration with FirstNet to bring the benefits of their wireless network to more departments in Illinois. This partnership created an additional revenue stream for the association during a challenging year. The group has been holding monthly meetings open to ILACP members to incorporate their feedback into future work. Continued member involvement will be important moving forward as members identified technology as a major area of interest.  

The strategic plan for the upcoming year will explore the following priorities: 

  • Understanding new technology and the best way to use new tools. A major issue in technology is the use of commercial applications like facial recognition, the ability to share department data and personal information before they are fully understood by the police or the public. How can we make sure these tools are secure and used as intended?  
  • Developing outreach, identifying funding and advocating for legislation that reflects the current technology 
  • Explore opportunities for technology to be purchased regionally to offset the cost.  
  • Suggest creation of a one-day workshop or Technology Day to explore relevant technologies — e.g., body camera, shot spotter, etc. (as well as generate revenue).
Officer Wellness Committee  

Robert Marsh (West Frankfort, Ret.) chairs the Officer Wellness Committee. Wellness, including physical and mental health, continues to be an area of great importance for law enforcement as reflected in the recent membership survey.  

Future focus will include: 
  • Partnering with the Education and Programs Committee to suggest podcast topics related to health and wellness in law enforcement such as officer suicide and how to speak with family and support networks.  
  • Discussed the importance of this committee in facilitating local initiatives and ILACP training to promote officer well-being and safety 
  • Suggested placing relevant wellness information and resources on the website, e.g., a wellness resource package for a chief 
  • Exploring suggested actions included: a wellness challenge program; a “best practices and standards” report; identifying and promoting exemplary programs from IACP and agencies outside of Illinois
Traffic Safety Committee

Captain Ron Davis (Metra RR) heads the Traffic Safety Committee. During 2021, the committee worked alongside the Collation Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) to explore how new laws could affect the trucking industry and public safety. The committee continued to recognize agencies and individuals in Illinois who are dedicated to making our state’s roadways safer. These award recipients were honored at the annual conference in Tinley Park.  

Looking toward 2022, the committee plans to continue its focus on outreach, legislative advocacy and professional development with the following items of priority: 

  • Explore ways to re-invigorate the Traffic Safety Challenge (same departments keep participating and winning) 
  • Solicit new members to join the committee to bring fresh ideas and energy to this area.  
  • Topics of interest for future research include: 
    •  the impact of changes in law which prohibit traffic enforcement quotas, limit chases, etc. 
    • State Police attempts to get cameras and license plate readers installed on Chicago expressways. Use of technology in traffic safety.  
    • The impact on enforcement of lack of backup on the expressways. 
    • The success of the Chicago chapter of NOBLE (National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives) in securing grants 
  • Suggested collaboration with ISP or IDOT for campaign to combat reckless driving
Constitution, By-Laws and Resolutions Committee 

Chief Phil Smith (Montgomery) serves as chair of the Constitution, By-Laws and Resolutions Committee. While the committee did not lead any major changes to ILACP rules this year, members have continued to monitor law enforcement and changes to the association to address issues when needed. Members also work to keep the board informed on any new resolutions or changes to the by-laws.  

Future work in 2022 includes: 

  • Staying vigilante about addressing challenges.  
  • Discussed readiness of the Committee to address issues and opportunities 
  • Being proactive in introducing resolutions for consideration by the Executive Board 
Ethics Committee and Past Presidents Committee 

The Ethics Committee is chaired by Chief James R. Kruger, Jr. (Oak Brook) and Chief Gary Schira (Batavia, Ret.)Over the past year, this committee has reviewed and investigated cases of possible unethical behavior by members and recommended action to the Board of Officers. Professional development and certifications based on ethical best practice were recommended to serve members.  

Looking forward to 2022, the committee is readto address issues and opportunities. Areas of focus include: 

  • Developing written criteria as to what threshold would trigger a potential investigation.  
  • Develop written guidelines for the committee to conduct investigations and review.  
  • Create an ethics toolkit for members based on the kit created by IACP.  
  • The committee advocates for a five-year strategic plan to create consistency as the association transitions from president to president.  
  • Work on the past president’s committee includes continued collaboration with ILACP staff on creating a book capturing the association’s rich history and serving as a resource for the Board in various subjects.  
Legal Committee 

Led by attorney Donald Zoufal, the Legal Committee has been busy supporting the association’s legislative review and helping to develop training on Illinois’ Body Worn Camera Act. The committee has also been researching and advocating on the issue of qualified immunity and other “reform issues” that have become hot topics 

Items of priority for the legal committee include: 

  • A recommendation to draft and sponsor a statute to propose a new solution for the dilemma of finding a state remedy for the violation of civil rights vs. need for qualified immunity rather than suing an individual officer who is protected, giving someone the options to sue the government in cases of civil rights violations. More research is needed to know how many cases this would be, but it is estimated to be low.  
  • Discussed experience of Colorado and New Mexico with statues impacting qualified immunity and the opportunity to create the “Illinois model. 
  • IACP Vice President Chief Doug Shoemaker (Colorado) is looking into resources.  
  • Discussed issue of law making non-use of body camera a potential felony vs. being a matter for internal discipline. This is an important topic for members that warrants more attention.  
Legislative Committee 

The Legislative Committee, chaired by Chief Marc Maton (Lemont) has worked tirelessly to advocate for law enforcement throughout the SAFE-T Act negotiations and subsequent trailer bill work. ILACP’s reputation is growing with legislators. The association’s ability to advocate for members and understand the unique challenges that police face remains a top objective in 2022. Members have expressed an overwhelming interest in legislative matters and ILACP will continue to provide resources in this area. As a reminder, the benefits that members ranked as most valuable were 1) legislative alert updates, 2) special alerts and action and 3) lobbying.   

These are priorities as the committee looks toward 2022: 

  • Need to address updates in the 2015 Body Camera legislation that are not included in the SAFE-T Act. 
  • Community interest is driving attention to expressway cameras 
  • Stop the erosion of law enforcement immunities and protections.  
Other important topics of discussion  
  • Representatives from the Illinois Attorney General’s Office were present at the meeting to talk about the challenges of policing crimes against children/cybercrime, including child pornography. There is the potential for ILACP to further partner with the AG’s office to make a greater impact on these crimes, which often use rapidly changing technology and span across states. Actions discussed include: 
    • Sharing tips in a more structured way.  
    • Training for local agencies so that the burden of these investigations can be more shared across departments.  
    • Establishment of an ad hoc working group with representatives spread out geographically 
    • Greater forensic support for these types of crimes 
  • Establishment of an e-learning platform to provide consistent best practices for handling cybercrimes 
    • Recruiting remains a challenge for law enforcement in Illinois due to several contributing factors. The membership survey results showed that recruiting and retaining quality law enforcement professionals in the state is a major focus for members in the coming year. A discussion of possible actions the association could take to address these challenges included the following proposals:  
    • Develop an updated testing process that is more efficient and standardized.  
    • Pre-qualify people—not just the physical but also psychological testing 
    • Look at what other states are offering since we are competing with them for recruits.  
    • Discussed degree of local control exercised by Fire and Police Commissions 
    • Look into the impact of signing bonuses, for example $20,000 offered by Aurora.  
    • Consider a campaign that addresses the reasons that people may not be interested in law enforcement. Appeal to those who want to make a difference in their communities and highlight diverse stories of the people who are in law enforcement (for example women, those who had unique professional or educational experiences before coming to law enforcement, etc.) and the strengths that they share in their commitment to their communities. Is there a group that serves youth that we can partner with? 
    • Should there be a committee focused on recruitment and retention? 
  • Proposed ideas 
    • The addition of an Advisory Committee to seek out and nurture valuable collaborations across the state.  
    • Nontraditional partnerships such as working with ex-offenders or parolees. Kids often listen to reformed criminals as being more authentic than someone who may not have struggled.  
    • Mentorship programs, SAFER Foundation, NAACP, parents, schools, churches.  

Thank you for your assistance in sharing your feedback to help the Illinois Chiefs develop an effective strategy for 2022. We rely on our members to share their expertise in policing our state. As always, if you have any feedback or suggestions for the association, please contact Executive Director Ed Wojcicki at [email protected]