New Year, New Challenges

During the IACP Conference, I had the opportunity to connect with many of our readers. One of my favorite moments was when I visited with Jason Liguori, a two-striper with the LAPD and one of the sharpest guys I know. Liguori serves in a unique LAPD detail the Tactical Technology Unit where officers are tasked with identifying and evaluating technology that can help cops work smarter and more effectively. Liguori told me he likes Law Officer because we push our readers to be better and take on new challenges. Coming from a guy who functions in the world of advanced police technology and who is involved in helping his department improve its capabilities, this was pretty close to the ultimate compliment.

The basic premise we use for material in Law Officer is quite simple: Read it, use it. As the editor in chief, I want to make sure we provide you with material that’s not only useful, but also pushes each of you to be better and to take on new challenges. Although serving and protecting remains a core tenet of our profession, there’s no denying that our fast-paced world requires new skill sets and capabilities.

In an effort to do the very best job possible and continue to provide solid information, we’re going to push into some new areas and take on some new challenges. I’m confident you’ll find these changes beneficial. Here’s what you can expect.

Improved Web Site & Magazine Synergy
We launched approximately nine months ago, and it’s been a great experience. The Web site enables us to feature additional content and contributors to an even broader market. We want to make sure our print and Web efforts work together effectively, so we’re going to leverage every opportunity to give you the best experience possible. A good example can be found on this month’s cover.

The model 1911 semiauto has been earning its keep for nearly a century, but its standing with law enforcement has had its ups and downs. Some officers swear by them, and some administrators swear against them. What do you think? Visit, give us your two cents, and take a look at what others are saying. By the way, those others include our own experts, Dave Spaulding, Jeff Chudwin and Chris Boyd, whose combined years of experience just about equal the amount of duty time that the 1911 has.

Increased Focus on Technology
For the past year, I’ve been involved in some tech nology projects that use a relatively new law enforcement tool, the automatic license plate reader (LPR). I’ve spent hundreds of hours working with this technology, talking to the people who build it and even meeting with key United Kingdom counterparts who have become quite adept at using this new tool. I’m absolutely convinced that LPR has the potential to be even more important to public safety and policing than DNA. Accordingly, you are going to see a feature just about every month for at least the next year that focuses on LPR and how it can help you work smarter, safer and keep your communities more secure.

This month’s LPR feature is written by Captain Scott Haug of the Post Falls (Idaho) Police Department, and it goes a long way toward dispelling the myth that LPRs are really intended for big-city agencies and are too expensive for smaller departments. Each month, we’ll take a look at a different facet of LPR, something I consider to be the first real tool that leverages technology so effectively it can be considered both a strategic and a tactical force-multiplier.

More Video allows us the opportunity to provide you with video. We’ve started filming video clips and interviews at major shows and conferences and posting them on the Web site so you can learn about some of the newest trends and tools. In fact, this is our SHOT Show 2009 issue, which will be distributed in the law enforcement section at the show in Orlando. Because we’ll be at the show, one of our own, Managing Editor Lindsay Schaffhausen, will be doing interviews on the floor and taking a look at the newest equipment.

So, this is our plan for taking on new challenges and pushing forward. Now here’s a challenge for each of you: It’s the start of a new year, so commit yourself to continued improvement and rededicate yourself to the principles that make law enforcement the greatest job on earth.


Dale Stockton, Editor in Chief

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Dale Stockton is a 32-year-veteran of law enforcement, having worked in all areas of police operations and investigations and retiring as a police captain from Carlsbad, California. He is a graduate of the 201st FBI National Academy and holds a Master’s degree in Criminology from the University of California, Irvine. He has served as a Commissioner for California POST, the agency responsible for all California policing standards and training. Dale is the former editor-in-chief of Law Officer Magazine and is the executive director of Below 100.



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