The following is what a number of police officers from the Minneapolis-St. Paul area accomplished in order to promote police reform in the late 1960s in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement.
A number of us “college cops” decided to form a local chapter of Lambda Alpha Epsilon, a national law enforcement fraternity (now called the American Criminal Justice Association). Our chapter was open to police officers who were attending college and those very few who already had a college degree.
It was my honor to be elected the first president of our local chapter and served later as an elected national delegate.
Here’s a few of the things rank and file police officers who belonged to this fraternity did during their third year as a chapter:
- Initiated the first police ride-along program.
- Researched, prepared reports, and served as special consultants to the Citizen’s Council on Crime and Delinquency, the Urban Coalition, and the Citizen’s League of Minneapolis and Hennepin County.
- Worked actively as consultants and members of the Minneapolis Jaycees, developed a safety education booklet (25,000 copies) to Minneapolis grade schoolers, organized field trips to court rooms, and correctional institutions.
- Served as tour chairmen and panelists to the law enforcement conference held in Minneapolis by the Citizen’s Council on Crime and Delinquency in May of 1968.
- A chapter member was appointed to the Governor’s Commission on Law Enforcement, Administration of Justice, and Corrections.
- Another member was appointed by the Mayor of Minneapolis’ Special Task Force on Community Relations.
- Many members were active in the Minneapolis Police Department’s Speaker’s Bureau discussing matters of interest to citizens.
- Many members were actively engaged with area news media in addressing problem areas of interest to citizen’s and which impacted community relationships (See my blog on March 14, 2016).
- Sponsored a number of field trips with minority youth.
- Three chapter member were assigned to the Model Cities planning effort in Minneapolis. Their primary job was to identify and analyze inner-city police, ex-offender and judicial process problems and effective and innovative approaches to the problems which were identified.
- Chapter members helped police in other cities, including those in nearby Wisconsin (Kenosha and Milwaukee), to establish chapters in their cities.
- Helped establish the IACP “Code of Ethics” for Minneapolis police officers.
- Successfully encouraged and supported the University of Minnesota to establish a 4-year criminal justice degree program. Three members served on the faculty advisory group and the liaison committee.
- Recruited top law enforcement and academic personnel in our area to join the chapter.
- Chapter members served on the planning committee for a state-wide central police academy and on the Minnesota Governor’s Crime Commission.
- Sponsored local conferences to hear nationally known experts in law enforcement and education.
- Members were actively involved in training Minneapolis police recruits and veteran officers in in-service training. A member served as Director of Police Training and others as training instructors.
- At least four of the original 11 chapter members went on to serve as chiefs of police.