L E A C ,  I n c .

Law Enforcement Assistance Connection, Incorporated

Home     About     Professional Services     Support LEAC     Contact     Links

Return to Writings

Networking: The Key to Law Enforcement Success
By Terry L. Hunt, Executive Director, Law Enforcement Assistance Connection, Inc.
In most professions, people consider networking a necessary skill that leads to new jobs and new customers. As I have learned through more than a decade of working with law enforcement professionals, networking is an enjoyable social practice that—done strategically—can enhance your status in the profession and establish you as a results-oriented “go-to” person who builds strong, effective and mutually beneficial relationships between people.
In law enforcement, more than any other profession, people trust other people they know. Why? Because "getting to know you" takes a long time. This approach reveals integrity and patience. Make that kind of investment in others and you will earn their trust. You’ll become the kind of person to whom your contacts refer their buddies—and you naturally are glad to make the new acquaintance, because in law enforcement, we’re all part of the same circle.

My story of networking success started with a simple dream: To become a sworn police officer. Being wheelchair bound prevented me from realizing this dream. Undeterred, I sought to help the law enforcement professionals whom I met during my attempts to become a sworn officer. From a series of informal discussions, I decided to form a non-profit organization—the Law Enforcement Assistance Connection, Inc. (LEAC).

As law enforcement becomes increasingly professionalized, networking becomes increasingly vital. With more than 16 years of experience on all levels of federal, state, and local law enforcement, and now through LEAC, I have established a broad national network of law enforcement professionals. LEAC has become a nexus for connecting law enforcement professionals with one other—whether for professional, financial, career assistance, or other purposes.

The story here is not what I do through LEAC, but how the LEAC network was built on a series of mutually beneficial relationships.
In my experience, "networking" implies connections but ignores the importance of relationships. Networking isn't about the number of business contacts in your Blackberry, but rather the quality of relationships you enjoy. It’s essential for cutting through red tape and bureaucracies that hinder performance and process improvement: I can’t tell you how many times a quick phone call to one of “my LEAC buddies” has solved a problem for a professional in my network.
That’s really the point: You want to use your contacts and network to help your peers and colleagues enhance public safety include. You can do this in many of the following ways:

  • Join as many professional networks as you can (IACP, NSA, AJA, to name just a few) and actively participate in committees that interest you
  • Join your local Chamber of Commerce, participate in Business Referral Groups, your local Business Networking International (BNI) chapter, etc.
  • Offer to consult on active law enforcement investigations by providing your expertise and skills

When you seek to establish a networking relationship, ask yourself what you have to offer the person with whom you wish to network. The most effective networkers give; they don’t take. For the nine networking tips I have found most useful in building LEAC into a national networking hub, please see the sidebar.

Done respectfully and on the basis of true give and take relationships, networking can mean the difference between successfully capturing a fugitive, closing a business deal, or meeting the leadership of a highly publicized corporation that wants to support your cause.



  1. Quality vs. Quantity: The number of people you know doesn’t matter. Rather, it’s the quality of your contacts. Who are the decision makers? Influencers? Who can you help and how?
  2. Slow Down: In law enforcement especially, effective relationships take time. Get to know people both from a business perspective and a personal perspective.
  3. Go Low-Tech: In some cases, a quick phone call can be more efficient than many emails. Pick up the phone and even find time to meet face-to-face. Email is fine when sending documents, graphics or directions… Don't overuse it.
  4. Diversity Counts: The old boy's network is alive and well - but so are many others. In law enforcement, your best bet is to network with many diverse contacts.
  5. Introductions Rule!: It’s the ultimate in flattery when someone takes time out of their day to introduce you. This separates name droppers from the genuine networkers.
  6. Build Third Party Contacts: Introduce and connect people whom you think may benefit from knowing each other, and do so without being asked. This way you can re-connect with someone when you don't need anything and so become a "networking node."
  7. Avoid 911 Networking: Build relationships BEFORE you need them. The time to network is not when you need someone or something, but well in advance.
  8. Make Random "Hello" Calls: When someone comes up in a conversation or comes to mind, make a random "hello" call. You don't need to have an agenda or reason, simply share that they were in your thoughts and you wanted to connect.
  9. Practice Passion: Each of us got into law enforcement because we’re passionate about the profession. Demonstrate your passion for the public safety community and your fellow citizens by using your talent and knowledge to help others.



Return to Writings





©2007 LEAC, Inc.     Site design: North Forty Road Web Design