The National Sheriffs’ Association (NSA) held its 75th Annual Conference June 24-29 at the Minneapolis Convention Center in Minnesota. The Education and Technology Expo brought together sheriffs, deputies, industry experts, and vendors from across the country to participate in seminars, celebrate the accomplishments of sheriffs and their offices, and try out the newest innovations in law enforcement.
This year’s keynote address was given by Jeff “Skunk” Baxter, founding member of the band Steely Dan and a national security expert. A former Los Angeles Police Department Reserve Officer and a member of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Terrorist Early Warning Group, Baxter’s address focused on the changing tides of national security and the challenges law enforcement professionals face in light of new terror threats, both foreign and domestic.
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Gerry Roberts, Legal Counsel for Envisage Technologies, delivered a timely speech on the importance of legally defensible training records based on the findings of the company’s recently published white paper on the subject.
In addition to speaking events and the technology expo, the annual NSA conference also hosts the organization’s awards ceremony and general election. This year’s Ferris E. Lucas Award for Sheriff of the Year was given to Sheriff Mike Bouchard from Oakland County, Michigan. Sheriff Bouchard was recognized for exemplary service in mobilizing his staff to assist in national emergencies, including 9-11 and Hurricane Katrina. Sheriff Bouchard has also been heavily involved in policymaking at the state level in Michigan, advancing agendas that benefit the law enforcement community. Sheriff Greg Champagne was elected president of the NSA for 2016-17. Sheriff Champagne, of St. Charles Parish, Louisiana, is only the second sheriff in the 200-year history of the St. Charles Sheriff’s Office to be elected to a sixth term. Prior to becoming St. Charles Parish’s top law enforcement officer, Champagne also served the parish as assistant district attorney.
Among the special events in which conference attendees were eligible to participate were the Sheriff’s Posse 5K Run, the Spouse’s Brunch, a Red Cross Blood Drive, and a Golf Tournament at the Legends Golf Club in Minneapolis. Louisiana Night, perhaps the most popular special event, wrapped up the conference for most attendees. The event is a Cajun feast hosted by sheriffs’ offices from parishes across the state of Louisiana and included authentic and traditional culinary delights such as jambalaya, gumbo, and fried catfish.
Next year’s NSA Annual Conference will be hosted by the city of Reno, Nevada June 23-28, 2017. Additionally, the NSA will host their Winter Conference February 4-7, 2017, in Washington, DC.