What is a Law Enforcement Council
As defined by the Northeast Massachusetts Law Enforcement Council
A law enforcement council is:
A Consortium of law enforcement agencies operating in partnership within a region to promote and enhance public safety by:
- Sharing knowledge, resources, and personnel, and
- Delivering specialized services to support member agencies while maintaining local control, with the goals of increasing member agencies’ ability to respond effectively to long- and short-term incidents, and enhance the performance, skills, and ability of agency personnel.
Simply stated, a law enforcement council is collaborative partnership of police agencies in a region that share knowledge, resources and personnel for the benefit of public safety. Each member commits a portion of resources from its agency to SEMLEC, and those resources are made available to member police departments to increase and improve their capabilities and capacities. There are many reasons a law enforcement agency may elect to become part of a law enforcement council. Police chiefs, their personnel, and the communities they serve are the benefactors of this membership. The benefits include:
- Local Control – As the accountable authority in a community, police chiefs and their personnel are often called upon to respond to emergencies and critical events. These police officials know their jurisdiction, and are in the best position to command and control law enforcement operations in their communities. A law enforcement council makes available resources, knowledge and personnel that supplement existing jurisdictional resources while ensuring the local police chief remains in command of police operations.
- Personnel Reserve – SEMLEC agencies have the ability to multiply their sworn police personnel almost immediately. Operational units are available to all member chiefs and can be activated in accordance with written protocol.
- Resource Expansion – SEMLEC offers police departments greater access to resources, such as technology. These purchases are often cost prohibitive, and/or are not cost-effective for one agency who may have a critical but limited use for it; they often go without. Equipment purchased by SEMLEC is available for use by any department that needs it.
- Knowledge Multiplier – Law enforcement councils offers many opportunities to share knowledge with partner agencies. SEMLEC delivers training at low or no cost in crucial topics as desired by members, and the opportunities for chiefs and their personnel to participate in SEMLEC units and programs increase their own experience and knowledge and, subsequently, bring that knowledge back to their own agency.
- Collective Purchasing – The collective size of SEMLEC positions the organization to negotiate for goods and services at more competitive prices, often resulting in discounts and savings for member agencies.
- Specialization – There are over 18,000 law enforcement agencies In the United States. Approximately 85% have less than 24 sworn police officers. Agencies must efficiently manage the limited resources they have to police their communities. Most, if not all, focus on the basics of policing: patrol, 911 response, criminal investigation of “traditional” crimes such as assault, rape, larceny, auto theft, burglary, etc. Specialized skills are limited, as there is little time to make personnel available for training and other requirements to maintain those skills.
- Officer Retention – Police officers that have expanded opportunities and challenges are most likely to remain with their agencies. Law enforcement councils provide opportunities to officers in local agencies that would typically only be available in larger city agencies.
- Networking, Mentoring for Police Leaders – Police chiefs in the region have opportunities to meet regularly, discuss issues in their communities, exchange ideas and knowledge, and learn from each other.
Officers that participate in the activities offered by law enforcement councils gain a greater perspective of law enforcement, expanding their individual and collective vision beyond jurisdictional borders. The law enforcement community becomes smaller, as they are as exposed to broader law enforcement networks, ideals and practices.
These benefits, and others, have a positive impact on the communities they serve. Every skill that is learned is applied in their communities in the normal performance of their duties.