Letters

Barbara J. Lange
Coconut Grove

Will the Real Cop-Basher Please Stand Up?
Just thought I'd ask: Who was the real author of "Copping a Profit," by Jason Vest (November 30), concerning the National Association of Chiefs of Police (NACOP) and the Police Museum? Obviously it had to be someone on the board of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). This, I feel, is the reason why the illegal activities and questionable acts of the IACP were glossed over as minor problems, while Gerald Arenberg and NACOP were slammed.

The IACP is now nearly 100 years old, yet it has barely a third of the eligible police chiefs in the U.S. as members. A couple of years ago, an IACP employee went to the U.S. Attorney in Baltimore and accused the IACP of fraudulently using federal grant money. The IACP was investigated by the FBI and was forced to pay a civil penalty of $340,000. Three years ago a delegation of IACP sponsors, with spouses, went on a trip to Japan sponsored by the electronics firm NEC. The cost was $20,000 per officer. NEC also made a $300,000 donation to IACP. What didn't make the news was that NEC was also attempting to sell its multimillion-dollar fingerprint-scanning machine in the U.S. IACP collects somewhere around five million dollars a year; more than two million is spent on salaries and benefits and nearly one million on travel expenses for IACP officers.

IACP collected $50 million to erect the $10 million National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C. They received the land for free and maintenance is performed by the park authority. What did IACP do with the other $40 million?

IACP does something that NACOP will never allow, and that's accept foreign chiefs of police as members. This may not sound so bad, but many of the foreign members of IACP are from countries that are listed by Amnesty International as human-rights violators. Members from China especially have been known to violate basic human rights, yet still enjoy the privileges of IACP membership.

The New Times article failed to mention that IACP no longer allows the National Rifle Association to exhibit at its annual convention. NRA-certified instructors are still predominant in the firearms instruction of this nation's police officers. You will see at the IACP show, however, the Handgun Control, Inc. folks handing out literature that provides the public with false information concerning the manufacture, sale, and ownership of firearms.

I find it rather disturbing for an organization such as IACP to have human-rights violators as members and also to be in favor of HCI-type gun control. At least the National Association of Chiefs of Police didn't have any members in Tiananmen Square firing into a crowd of innocent civilians. I doubt that IACP can make that claim.

Bob Lesmeister
Fort Lauderdale

Jason Vest responds:
Mr. Lesmeister's letter is not without merit, but on the whole it is a bunch of hooey. As my article noted, the International Association of Chiefs of Police is a professionally recognized organization that spends a great deal of its money providing regular training to law enforcement personnel. It has close ties to law enforcement, and was more than happy to disclose its specific finances, along with the names, ranks, and addresses of all its members.

Aside from helping run a garish museum and hitting up people for money that disappears into a for-profit management company immune from public scrutiny, the National Association of Chiefs of Police, which will not release a directory of its 11,000 claimed members, doesn't seem to do much with or for law enforcement.

As to Mr. Lesmeister's comments regarding IACP having members who fired into the crowds at Tiananmen Square, he is simply incorrect. While the Republic of China, better known was Taiwan, is a member, there are no representatives from the People's Republic of China in IACP.

With regard to Mr. Lesmeister's last paragraph, IACP severed all ties with the National Rifle Association after it referred to federal officers as being "jackbooted thugs.

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