This year’s 23rd Annual Conference, Working Together to Create Change, was held at the Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center in Grapevine, Texas. For three days in August, NLLEA conference attendees gathered in conjunction with the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention’s National Leadership Conference attendees to promote communication and community action regarding liquor laws and enforcement, and have a little fun along the way!
The Gaylord Texan Resort and Convention Center, located on the awe-inspiring Lake Grapevine, is at once a technologically sophisticated meeting space and a breathtaking southern-style hotel brimming with style and charm – the perfect place for NLLEA members to gather for the annual conference! Attendees partook from a myriad of dining and entertainment options and enjoyed exploring the hotel’s opulent surroundings.
The conference began on Wednesday night with the NLLEA’s Opening Ceremonies. The evening’s speakers - NLLEA President Charles Sumner, Texas ABC Administrator Alan Steen, Dallas Police Department Assistant Chief Charles Cato, and past conference alums Sharie Cantelon from OJJDP and Bob Hohn of NHTSA – provided an overview of alcohol law enforcement efforts that have included multiple partnerships and other successful collaborations used to protect public safety on all levels. The Dallas Police Honor Guard was on hand to present the colors. After the opening session, NLLEA members attended the President’s Reception in the Presidential Suite.
Thursday kicked off with the Enforcing Underage Drinking Laws (EUDL) Opening Ceremonies, moderated by OJJDP Program Manager Scott Pestridge and featuring keynote speaker Jeffrey Slowikowski, Acting Administrator of OJJDP.
During the following NLLEA Plenary Session, “Data Driven Approaches to Crime and Traffic Safety (DDACTS),” NHTSA Highway Safety Specialist Bob Hohn described the DDACTS operational model that uses the integration of location-based crime and traffic crash data to establish effective and efficient methods of deploying law enforcement resources. Afterwards, NLLEA members gathered for the networking lunch and business meeting, where Jim Wilson of the New Hampshire State Liquor Commission was elected as the new NLLEA Sergeant-at-Arms. Congratulations, Jim!
On Friday, following a EUDL plenary session on research and technology tools for community leaders, attendees met for the final NLLEA plenary session entitled “Challenges in Protecting the Public’s Safety: What Can Be Done?” This panel discussed the current challenges facing the field of liquor law enforcement and provided examples of successful community partnerships, including educational and enforcement initiatives developed during the past year to fight such problems as selling alcohol to minors, fake ID usage, and the deregulation of alcohol in internal, federal, and state policy arenas.
That afternoon the Law Enforcement Luncheon was held in the grand Texas Ballroom. NLLEA awards, among others, were presented (see “2009 Law Enforcement Awards”). The NLLEA banquet was held that evening in the lovely outdoor Mission Plaza followed by a trip to Rangers Ballpark to watch the Boston Red Sox rally back from a 4-2 deficit in the 9th inning to end the game Red Sox 8, Rangers 4. A few members noted that the new NLLEA President, Mr. Mahony from Boston, seemed especially pleased!
This year’s conference was considered a success. While the number of conference attendees was slightly lower than in past years, the NLLEA Executive Board was pleased that so many were able to attend given the tough fiscal times that so many of our agencies are facing.