Pushing the Way Forward
A conversation about the NLPOA's history & trailblazing the future for law enforcementBy Crawford Coates | Mar 28, 2017
I recently chatted with Darrin Fulton, chapter president of the Kansas City, Kans., chapter of the National Latino Peace Officers Association. Fulton is also the driving force behind this year’s NLPOA conference in Kansas City, Oct. 11 – 14. Calibre Press will be there, providing training, and the conference is open to all in law enforcement. If you don’t know about NLPOA or its many initiatives, the following interview is hopefully an introduction to this dynamic and important organization.
How did you get involved with the NLPOA?
I was invited into the organization by a friend of mine who was the chapter president for our chapter at the time. He was attempting to rebuild the chapter and asked if I would be the treasurer. I researched the organization and thought it sounded like something that I would be interested in, so I joined. Six years later, I am the president of the chapter, and a national vice president. It is all volunteer work, but it is extremely fulfilling and rewarding.
Why is NLPOA important? What function does it serve?
The NLPOA has been around for 44 years as of this year. The organization was originally formed to fight some of the discrimination that latinos faced getting into law enforcement. As time has gone on the organization has evolved into a very community oriented organization, focusing on education, breaking barriers between the community and law enforcement, helping the less fortunate, and also helping our members advance within their career and recruiting new law enforcement officers. The organization has been very involved in policy changes in Washington regarding law enforcement and how we do our job.
The NLPOA is an all-inclusive organization. The word “Latino” in the name sometimes makes people think that we are trying to separate from other law enforcement personnel. That could not be further from the truth. We are trying to help all officers by creating better relationships with the communities we serve. We are a driving force in “community policing,” by the events that we hold and the community work that we do.
Tell us about the conference.
The 44th annual NLPOA conference will be held in Kansas City, Kans., Oct. 11 – 14th, 2017. The conference brings all of our chapters together for law enforcement training, as well as the opportunity to let everyone know about all the great work that each chapter has done within their communities.
We are having some excellent training, including Calibre Press, Code 9 project, executive leadership, defensive driving, officer safety, excited delirium, terrorism/ sovereign citizens, child sex trafficking, running a 501C(3), large-event collaboration, and much more.
We will be having events each night, and the best part is having Paul Rodriguez, Patrick Deguire, and a yet-to-be-named comedian coming in to do a benefit show for us. The funds raised will be going to the NLPOA Chapter scholarships fund, as well as the families of three officers from the Kansas City area that lost their lives in the line of duty in 2016.
Who should attend?
All law enforcement officers from across the country are invited to attend. Anyone interested in the NLPOA will get to see what we are all about as well. We try to keep the cost of the conference reasonable, so non-members who want to attend are only $300. Having a conference at a great place like Great Wolf Lodge—a resort with an indoor waterpark, where officers can not only get some great training with our conference, but also be able to relax and unwind—is a great combination.
Where do you see NLPOA going in the future?
The NLPOA will continue to be a partner with the communities and the law enforcement agencies we serve. We will continue to assist the less fortunate, promote education through scholarships and school programs, and help our members advance their careers.
The NLPOA will work diligently to have a voice in Washington, D.C., to help our lawmakers understand the challenges that law enforcement officers face on a daily basis. The NLPOA will continue to grow stronger through building more chapters and more members throughout the country. I also believe the NLPOA will greatly benefit from partnerships with companies such as Calibre Press and others that have the same goals in mind.