Monday, May 07, 2007

Sheriff Solano Assumes Presidency of State Sheriff's and Police Association.

This last month I assumed the Presidency of the New Mexico Sheriff's and Police Association
(the web site needs updating). The Association began in 1935 and has grown and gone through many transformations over the years. Currently the organization provides training to law enforcement state wide, lobby's the legislature for laws to enhance law enforcement and address crimes statewide, and promotes networking with chiefs, sheriff's, and officers state wide as well as other missions. Members include federal officers, state officers, and local officers as well as many retired officers. One of my goals is to visit each of the 33 counties and introduce the organization to new officers and deputies whom may not have heard of us. I would like to increase membership and bring younger new officers on board.

I am also a former Vice-President of the Santa Fe Fraternal Order of Police, a nationwide police organization which is now rooted more in labor organization than fraternalism. Today's generation of young men and women are not interested in fraternal and networking associations. The "me generation" is busy with their own lives and families and fraternal organizations are just not in the mix. For these organizations to survive they must serve purposes that make them invaluable to individuals. Hence the move from less of a networking organization to promoting law enforcement in government circles and a greater emphasis on training and conferences that are geared towards career advancement.

Organizations such as the Fraternal Order of Eagles, The Elks, Alumni groups and others are all facing the same issues. Trying to ensure their survival by finding a place in today's generation. Many Fraternal Organizations in New Mexico survived by having halls and a bar which catered to its members and funded the organizations charities, and other functions of the group. However the old Cheers type bar where "everyone knows your name" is not surviving. I remember when I first became an cop, many officers would only drink with their spouses at the F.O.P.. You knew who was there and there was little chance you would have someone you arrested at the table next to you. Today's young officers drink less alcohol and as a consequence the fraternal organizations are not doing as well as in the past. Hall rentals are down as well and charitable bingo's which once funded not only fraternal organizations but churches as well are being decimated by the Indian casino's.

So now as President I need to work on moving this organization into the next phase of its life and ensure it is relevant for many years to come.

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