In 1976, a forward thinking group of law enforcement executives mobilized.
Coming together for a three day symposium to address crime in urban low income areas, they recognized that black law enforcement executives could have a significant impact on the criminal justice system through a unified voice. They departed from the planned agenda to create the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives (NOBLE).
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has participated in several NOBLE events over the past two years that have focused on three law enforcement areas: recruitment and retention, community outreach and 21st century policing and training.
NOBLE first became aware of ICE and its mission from members who were employees of ICE and the Department of Homeland Security. The organization has always prioritized federal networking and connections as part of the “bigger picture” according to NOBLE President and Seattle, Washington Assistant Chief of Police Perry A. Tarrant. He said, “One of our focuses is on recruitment and retention and we are dealing with immigration issues every day. We rely heavily on federal partners to help us educate our law enforcement professionals on those issues.”
NOBLE values the federal perspective in the decision making process of their organization. The group has a federal representative on their board of 22 members. NOBLE Executive Director Dwayne A. Crawford said, “The federal representative is selected by the federal employee members of NOBLE and recent board members have included two employees from DHS.”
In its 40 years of existence, NOBLE has made true its mission of serving as the conscience of law enforcement by being committed to justice by action. NOBLE members have taken a leadership role to positively impact law enforcement policies and criminal justice procedures that ensure equity in the delivery of service to the public they serve.
NOBLE commits to providing opportunity to its more than 3,000 members by utilizing a system of 50 local chapters with local leadership and events. Women make up approximately 40 percent of NOBLE members and participate fully in the organization’s leadership structure.
Partnership activities between ICE and NOBLE have included meetings with ICE Deputy Director Daniel H. Ragsdale, Assistant Director, Office of Diversity and Civil Rights, Scott Lanum and ICE components Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) and Enforcement Removal Operations (ERO).
At NOBLE’s winter 2016 CEO Symposium HSI Baltimore Special Agent in Charge Andre R. Watson presented opening remarks. He said, “Working with NOBLE provides ICE with an outstanding opportunity to gain invaluable insight and access to partnerships with agencies, institutions and communities to promote integrity in the administration of justice and public service."
At the 40th Anniversary Annual Training Conference Philip T. Miller, ERO acting executive associate director and Joseph Jeronimo, ICE assistant director, ICE Office of Training and Tactical Programs held a workshop specifically for ICE participants attending the conference.
The upcoming 2017 winter CEO Symposium will feature HSI Seattle Special Agent in Charge Bradford Bench, as a workshop participant.
Darius Reeves, special assistant, Office of the Director and NOBLE Sargent at Arms, Northern Virginia Chapter, sees the partnership as an opportunity for ICE to clarify its purpose to those who most need to understand it. He said: “ICE has a great branding opportunity in working with NOBLE and its members; we have the perfect environment in which to clear up misconceptions about ICE and explain exactly who we are and what we do. That is invaluable.”
President Tarrant added, “ICE and NOBLE personnel expect to continue growing a partnership that can only strengthen America’s law enforcement community writ large. NOBLE President Tarrant, “I would like to see someone from ICE leading NOBLE one day soon.” He added, “NOBLE is in communities all over the country. We will never relent in our focus on the 14th amendment and its protections.”
NOBLE is a 501c(3) nonprofit organization. Membership is not limited to executives; all are welcome to join. For more information, visit NOBLE.