Is it really over? It seems hard to believe, but the NLLEA’s 20th Annual Conference is now history. But wasn’t it great? Held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel August 23 – 26, the conference occurred jointly with the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center’s 7th National Leadership Conference. Approximately 100 NLLEA members attended the event while joint conference attendance exceeded 1,500.
The Conference officially started on Wednesday evening with the President’s reception, and Opening Ceremonies followed the next morning. The Baltimore City Police Department Color Guard presented the flags before the playing of the national anthems of the United States and Canada. (The NLLEA includes the membership of two Canadian agencies.) NLLEA President Linda Ignowski presided over the ceremonies that in addition to her remarks, included remarks from Baltimore Police Department Deputy Commissioner Marcus L. Brown, NHTSA Impaired Driving Division Chief Heidi Coleman, and OJJDP Representative Sharie Cantelon.
Thursday and Friday morning’s agenda featured several workshop sessions and two plenaries. Presenters traveled from Arizona, California, Colorado, Nevada, Texas, Vermont, and Washington to be present, and their topics address a number of issues related to alcohol beverage control law enforcement and administration. Most every workshop session was filled to capacity with plenary sessions drawing several hundred attendees on Thursday afternoon and several dozen on Friday morning.
As always, the conference provided ample networking opportunities. The Association’s Hospitality Room was open each evening, allowing participants and their spouses/significant others to catch up with old friends and make new ones. And there was always time between sessions pack in a conversation or two. Some participants took advantage of conference optional activities like attending the Baltimore Orioles’ games on Thursday and Friday evening. Still others took advantage of the beautiful, balmy summer evenings to stroll Baltimore’s Inner Harbor before dining in one of the many excellent seafood restaurants.
The conference ballroom was filled to capacity for the Friday luncheon during which the NLLEA’s annual Law Enforcement Awards were presented. The luncheon featured a keynote address by Maryland Attorney General J. Joseph Curran, Jr. who, along with President Linda Ignowski and NLLEA Vice President Shawn Walker, assisted with the award presentations.
Also during the luncheon, the name of Troy Woodal was added to the NLLEA Circle of Honor, a distinguished group of law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty. Lt. Woodall’s son, Sergeant Les Woodall of the Alabama ABC was present to witness the induction ceremony and the standing ovation and sustained applause of all in attendance.
The Annual Business Meeting immediately followed Friday’s luncheon. The minutes of the 2005 Annual Business Meeting were accepted as was the Finance Report presented by Secretary/Treasurer Stacy Drakeford.
The membership voted to host next year’s annual conference with the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center’s 8th National Leadership Conference. As of this time, conference dates and location have not been determined.
Frederick Mahony, Chief Investigator for Massachusetts ABC, submitted his name for consideration as the next NLLEA Sergeant-At-Arms. He was elected to the position with overwhelming support from the membership.
The Closing Banquet on Saturday night was held off-site at the Pier V Hotel just a short walk from the conference hotel. The highlight of the event was the swearing in of the 2006-2007 NLLEA Board of Directors: Shawn Walker, President; Stacy Drakeford, Vice President, and Charles Sumner, Secretary/Treasurer. (Due to travel arrangements that precluded his attendance Saturday night, Frederick Mahony was sworn in as Sergeant-At-Arms at the Annual Business Meeting.). Linda Ignowski, as Immediate Past President, will also serve on the Board.
In her concluding remarks as President of the Association, Linda expressed appreciation to a number of individuals. Plaques were presented to Chuck Conkling and to the Utah Department of Public Safety in appreciation of their organizing and hosting the 2006 NLLEA Training Academy in Salt Lake City. A plaque was also presented to the National Center for Alcohol Law Enforcement, a center funded by the Bureau of Justice Assistance within the U.S. Department of Justice, for having provided administrative support to the conference.
In keeping with an old tradition, Linda Ignowski presented incoming President Shawn Walker with the Wisconsin “Cheese Head,” a foam hat in the shape of a wedge of Swiss cheese. The hat dates back to the end of the Roger Johnson’s term as president (2001 —2002). In a gesture first made at last year’s banquet, the room included a table set for one to symbolize the spiritual presence of fellow liquor law enforcement officers who lost their lives as a result of the performance of their duties.
The 20th NLLEA Annual Conference was a big success with much learned and much accomplished. This fall the new NLLEA Board of Directors will determine the location of next year’s gathering, and information about how you can share about your agency’s work in workshop session will be available later in the winter. In the meantime, check out more pictures from the conference elsewhere on this website.