Association Perspective

With tongue firmly planted in cheek I’d like to title this month’s article as:

What Happened





As I begin I am reminded that there are two things that cops hate most, the first is change, and the second is lack of change.  It is certainly not from the stand point of lack of change that I begin this address. 

Last February, the Executive Board went through an exhaustive process to find the next Executive Director of the FBI National Academy Associates.  Our three finalists, Howard Cook, John Kennedy, and Mark Morgan, were three outstanding individuals, more than capable to bring our Association forward.  Each had their own strengths; one a long time member heavily involved in his chapter with a knack for fundraising, good business sense, engaging southern personality, and a passion for the National Academy like no other. Another was non-law enforcement, but with a strong non-profit background. He had a strong business sense as well as working with law enforcement entities in the non-profit world.  The third had recently resigned as the head of the United States Border Patrol.  Prior to that, he enjoyed a 20 year career with the FBI; his last assignment being Assistant Director over the training division, which oversees the National Academy.  Given his background, he had an unexpected strong business sense, held a law degree, and had previous service with the LAPD.  After the final interviews had ended the board realized it had a tough task ahead of it.  The discussion was lively, passionate, and professional, but there was only one hole to fill.  It came up on more than one occasion we needed to hire all three of them; or it’s too bad we couldn’t roll them all up into one.  In a sense, that’s what happened.

Mark Morgan officially took over as the Executive Director at the conclusion of our conference in Washington, D.C. in August.  Prior to that Mark volunteered his time to get into the weeds of our Association.  He participated in phone calls, went through our strategic plan, dug into our policies, by-laws, and Constitution, and with the guidance and oversight of the Executive Board, the diligence and hard work of the staff, Mark began to set in place a re-directed focus of our priorities as they related to our Mission of Impacting Communities by Providing and Promoting Law Enforcement Leadership through Training and Networking. 

Recognizing an area for his own development was his non-profit acumen, one of the first things Mark did as an Executive Director was to look within the budget to see if there was a way to bring John Kennedy on board as a commissioned consultant due to his lengthy non-profit experience.  John is a member of ASAE (American Society of Association Executives), which is considered the “go to” association in the non-profit world.  John brought with him an ASAE certification and began to assist Mark with a path forward to the challenges of re-committing to our Vision of the Continuous Development of the World’s Strongest Law Enforcement Network.  Together, with input from our Chapter Officers a re-defined strategic plan was developed and rolled out to the board in late November.

Mark Morgan brought the Association a long way in a short period of time.  It was a direction the Executive Board not only wanted to go but also needed to go for our Association to continue to be a voice in law enforcement.  It was disappointing to me and the rest of the board that Mark tendered his resignation due to personal reasons.  We wish him the best of luck with whatever the future holds for him.  But that disappointment was quickly replaced with excitement with the hiring of Howard Cook.  Howard is a graduate of the 224th Session and is the first FBI National Academy graduate to serve as our Executive Director.  This is a new direction for our Association.  To anyone that knows Howard, knows that his ability, experience, drive, and passion will continue to move us forward as we recommit to our mission of training and networking.  We have a strong, collaborative relationship with Assistant Director Resch and his team and have received nothing but support from the training division under his leadership.  The staff of the FBI National Academy Associates, most of whom know Howard due to his time on the South Carolina board, are eager to get started under his leadership.  If you know Howard, reach out and congratulate him, if you don’t, reach out and introduce yourself.  After that, let him be, he has some work to do and he is eager to get started!

As 2017 comes to an end I want to recognize an article I recently read that stated officers killed in the line of duty were the lowest they have been in 50 years; 128, down from 144 in 2016, 44 of which were shot and killed.  That means that 84 died from other means.  I would like for us as an Association to strongly get behind the Below 100 initiative.  This year we set our sights on 17,000 active members and we accomplished that, with the New England chapter getting credit for signing up the 17,000th member.  Imagine if we as an Association were to get behind the Below 100 initiative.  Is this something that is important to law enforcement?  I was at the New Jersey re-trainer in early October, and although I knew about Below 100 and what it represented, I had never attended training on it.  Corporal Geoff Bush a trooper with the Pennsylvania State Police was the instructor.  He was outstanding.  The end of the presentation consisted of videos of the spouses and kids of those fallen officers.  They were speaking to them as if they were there, describing all that they had missed, birthdays, bah mitzvahs, graduations, weddings.  These officers died because they didn’t do some of the simpler things we all can do and often fail to do, such as buckling a seat belt, or properly clearing an intersection.  Particularly moving to me was the wife of an officer that was distraught over how he “lied” to her.  He would always tell her he does everything he can every day to assure that he comes home to her and their three kids.  But he didn’t buckle his seatbelt.  I was speaking with Tommy DePaul (203rd) who runs an academy in Cape May, NJ. Tommy said he was going to run the Below 100 presentation at each of his academies.  I stated, when you do, invite the families, then we’ll make a difference.

We can do anything we set ourselves out to do.  The FBINAA is strong.  We are in a great place and moving forward.  We are poised to positively impact our profession and our communities and that is due to the over 17,000 members world- wide committed to both our profession and our communities.  We also have the support.  At the 270th session, for the first time in 46 years, a sitting President came to a National Academy graduation to address the attendees.   The message was loud and concise, “the President of the United States has your back, 100%”.  That’s a message that is good to hear. 

Be safe, be strong, be vigilant, and be proud!

Scott A. Dumas
President FBI NAA
Rowley, Massachusetts Police Department