President's Podium: Leading in Evolving Times
April 20, 2016
NSA is committed to helping sheriffs navigate changing technology
As I outlined my remarks for this message, I had to start by remembering all those in our profession—maybe some of your own family members and colleagues—who have lost their lives protecting their communities across this great country. Over the past 10 years, a total of 1,466 law enforcement officers have died in the line of duty. That is an average of one death every 60 hours, which is way too many.
One senseless attack that sticks out in my mind was the cold-blooded ambush of Deputy Sheriff Darren Goforth from Harris County, Texas. He was shot and killed while pumping gas in his patrol car, just because he wore a badge.
Just this year, 21 law enforcement officers have been murdered by gunfire; six within one week. A single week. These tragic killings affirm the horrific and undeniable trend that is taking place in our country.
On May 15, thousands will travel to our nation’s capital to honor and remember the law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice. We at NSA will also pay our heartfelt respects to their families and colleagues as we welcome them to our home.
Law enforcement has been through a lot during the past year. We all know that the rhetoric against us has left an open wound that has not yet healed. Some in the media—and in our own federal government—do not seem to attach a high value to our profession.
At the same time, our profession is changing fast; we face many new problems along with the old ones. The NSA board of directors and staff will do everything possible to help you and your office keep up with the evolutions.
Technology is changing almost on a daily basis. Sometimes the equipment you buy is outdated before it is even put into full use. Communications, both on the technology and policy side, continue to be difficult to manage. While law enforcement technology is highly advanced, most agencies have not achieved seamless usability or solved our interoperability problems.
Generally, technology is not the problem that is preventing collaboration and information- sharing for agencies and the intelligence community. The culprits are organizational inertia, structural and operational barriers, and an array of other cultural impediments.
NSA is committed to help in this area. Therefore, I have created a new committee to tackle emerging technology and communications issues. Additionally, our executive director and his staff have redesigned our annual conference to be an education and technology expo. I hope each and every one of you attend the expo in Minneapolis this June. Join us as we work hard for America’s sheriffs and the law enforcement community.