FLETC hosted the 2010 National Law Enforcement Explorers Conference in Atlanta, Ga., where FLETC Director Connie Patrick, outgoing chair, turned over the gavel to incoming national chair Michele Leonhart, the new administrator of DEA.
On behalf of DHS Secretary Janet Napolitano, Director Patrick welcomed more than 2,800 participants, representing all 50 states and Puerto Rico. “It is an honor and a privilege to be here for the opening of another national conference,” she noted.
“Over the next five years, 52 percent of the 620,000 law enforcement officers at every level are eligible to retire,” Director Patrick pointed out. “If all law enforcement officers retire who are eligible in the next five years, over 322,000 new law enforcement officers must be hired and trained to replace them. We need you to be the future of law enforcement…and the job prospects look pretty good in that area.”
At the conclusion of the event, two DHS components were presented the coveted William H. Spurgeon, III National Award. FLETC Director Patrick received one of the awards for her service as the Conference Chair. The second award was presented to the Federal Air Marshal Service (FAMS), which was accepted by FAMS Deputy Director Michael Novak on behalf of FAMS Director Robert Bray. Since 1971, this national award has been given to individuals and organizations for their outstanding and dedicated service to the exploring program.