In January of 1986, secretaries to the Police Chiefs in Plainville, East Hartford and the Town of Groton met to discuss forming a group to provide support and career enhancement for secretaries to Chiefs of Police in Connecticut. After three more meetings and growth to 12 members, the Chiefs of Police Secretaries Association was formed.
While our job descriptions may vary due to our location, or the political structure and size of our town or city, our charge as secretary to the top law enforcement official in an agency is unique. We are isolated in that the information that passes across our desks each day is oftentimes strictly confidential in nature, yet we also strive to be an integral part of the organization that we serve. The opportunity for us to share information, problems, and successful work methods not only makes our jobs more enjoyable, but makes us more effective in the service we provide to our Chiefs and our departments.
Today with 55 member departments, the Chiefs of Police Secretaries Association has evolved into an organization that our Chiefs encourage us to be a part of. A great accomplishment this year was opening up our membership to the secretary of the top law enforcement official of affiliate agencies such as South Central Criminal Justice Association, and the D.E.A. in New Haven.
COPSA meets five times a year at various member police departments. Like the CPCA, we are greeted by the hosting Chief and Secretary, we conduct our business meeting, and then take the time afterward to network and talk casually over lunch with our peers. A tour of each host department is included in our meeting portion, and our programs also usually include a speaker and/or demonstration that is relative to our work, or to police work. We have had speakers on FOI and Records Retention, we have used firearms simulators, then-Lieutenant Governor of Connecticut M. Jodi Rell came to speak to us. This spring, a representative from the State of Connecticut Department of Administrative Services is coming to our meeting to guide us through the State DAS website, and teach us how to find things that are on the State Contract List.
The effectiveness of our group is greatly enhanced by the use of our e-mail and fax tree. This is the main way we communicate and share information with one another from meeting to meeting. It is now possible to disseminate or gather information with the click of the mouse. Many of our Chiefs are familiar with this important tool.
The women and men of COPSA sell candy every year as our major fundraiser. We use that money to award scholarships every year to college students from a member department. Our scholarship fund memorializes one of our Charter Members, Jean Hillstrand of the Berlin Police Department.
We welcome you to join the Chiefs of Police Secretaries Association. While meeting attendance is not mandatory, we are sure that the information provided through our e-mail tree alone is worth the $40 a year membership. Please do not hesitate to contact any COPSA member for more information, or for a ride to our next meeting.
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