The annual Fall Conference of the National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies (NCLEES), hosted by the Metro Atlanta Police Emerald Society, was held here on Nov. 5-6, 1999.
This year's meeting welcomed the Police Emerald Society of Southeast Georgia (Savannah) into the fold. In addition, plans for the annual meeting, which is held in Washington, D.C., during Police Memorial Week, were finalized.
The NCLEES, formed on May 14, 1995, then represented only 15 Emerald Societies. Its purpose was to unite all the Emerald Societies under one banner. Today, the ranks have grown to 51 societies throughout the United States. The Emerald Society boasts ranks of 25,000 Irish-American public safety officers in the United States.
The proud roots of the Emerald Society run deep. In the 1850s being a police officer was not a desired occupation for it was low pay, long hours, and offered few benefits to take care of a fallen officer's family. For the arriving Irish, opportunities were few. This vocation offered steady employment and by the end of the 19th century, the Irish had become a well-established institution in the police departments.
The image of the Irish cop on the beat was not a myth. It was and is still a reality. The Emerald Society is quick to point out that since 1850, the Irish have produced more police chiefs than any other ethnic group. Of the 15,000 names on the wall of the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, 25 percent are of Irish descent. Approximately a third of all law enforcement officers today are of Irish descent.
NCLEES strives to unite public safety and police Irish-American groups under a unified organization; to recognize and preserve the accomplishments of Irish-American public safety and law enforcement officers; and to enhance communications with other law enforcement organizations.
For more information, contact the National Conference of Law Enforcement Emerald Societies, P.O. Box 6006 Greenbelt Rd., suite 320, Greenbelt, MD 20770. Visit the Website: www.fortunecity. com/bally/ cork96/ or call (301) 858-0972.