Wednesday, May 26, 2004
Derrick recently had the opportunity to travel to South Africa as an invitee of the People to People Ambassador Program. This program was founded by Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1956, and Eisenhower’s aim was to build a massive program of communication between Americans and citizens of other countries. Eisenhower believed that the peaceful relationships between nations require understanding and mutual respect between individuals in all professions. In this case, several law enforcement administrators from around the country were invited to participate in this international professional and cultural program as part of the first law enforcement delegation to South Africa. The purpose of this delegation was to exchange information and experiences in their profession with colleagues from South Africa. Developing these ties benefited the participants in understanding where they have been and what they have accomplished. It also gave the delegation an opportunity to share information from a U.S. law enforcement perspective that could help them progress in the field.
Delegates were selected based on experience in law enforcement as an administrator, and most of the delegation was either first or second in command of an agency as wellas FBI National Academy graduates. The selection was also based on geographic location of the participants as well as an attempt to form a diverse group. There were law enforcement representatives from Washington, Kansas, Indiana, Texas, New Jersey, and Derrick as the delegate representing Connecticut.
The delegation attended formal meetings and presentations on a daily basis with law enforcement representatives from South African Police Services in Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town City Police. They also met with the National Department of Justice which included representatives from the court systems, victim services, and the Department of Corrective Services (prison). They also toured the SAPS Forensic Science facility and the Criminal Record Center. Most of the discussions with law enforcement and the Dept. of Justice centered on the following topics: overview of law enforcement in South Africa, changes that have taken place since the end of apartheid, technology, training, education and deployment of law enforcement personnel, and expectations and support of men and women in the field. In addition, they met with the faculty of law at the University of Cape Town to discuss the roles of non-policing entities on policing matters and to discuss community involvement in public safety and their concerns.
When asked for his thoughts on the issues currently facing PSEC, Derrick said that while he feels that the Union is doing its best considering the state’s current budgetary constraints, he believes that we should not settle during the crucial negotiating period coming up in 2004. First and foremost, he would like to see the Union leadership continue to work to save our current positions against any pending layoffs. He would also support more money going toward the education of our Union members and/or their family members. Lastly, he looks forward to attending a Union family picnic during the summer of 2004.