Over 100 NLLEA members gathered last August for the Association’s 21st Annual Conference in Orlando. With the Rosen Centre Hotel as its location, the conference was held concurrently with the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center’s 9th National Leadership Conference.
The President’s Reception on Wednesday evening kicked things off with a good old-fashioned “meat fest” featuring burgers and barbecue ribs and, of course, libations. Opening Ceremonies followed the next morning with the Orange County Sheriff’s Office presenting the colors. NLLEA President Shawn Walker presided over the opening session which featured remarks from Steven Hougland, Director of the Florida Division of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco, MADD President Glynn Birch, and OJJDP Representative Sharie Cantelon.
Thursday and Friday morning’s agenda featured several workshop sessions and two larger plenary/general sessions. Presenters traveled from Arizona, California, Idaho, Massachusetts, Nebraska, Oregon, Vermont, Virginia, Washington State, and Washington, DC as well as Florida to be present, and their topics address a number of issues related to alcohol beverage control law enforcement and administration, legal issues and new trends in alcohol beverage control, and collaborations with community groups.
Thursday morning also featured a press conference in which President Walker spoke about the importance of maintaining age 21 as the legal minimum purchase and drinking age. Other press conference speakers included representatives from local and state enforcement agencies as well as youth, all of whom fielded questions after the press event formally concluded.
This year’s Hospitality Room was particularly hospitable with ample space for catching up with old colleagues and friends and checking in on sporting event scores. Attendees also found the hotel pool a particularly pleasant “spot” for lounging around with old friends and making new ones. And of course, the networking reception on Thursday evening at Universal Studios Orlando was good for a few laughs.
Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon
The conference ballroom was filled to capacity for the Friday luncheon during which the NLLEA’s annual Law Enforcement Awards were presented. Awards were presented to agencies and officers who have exemplified the highest standards of police work and who have developed and implemented innovative programs to improve enforcement practice and address alcohol-related problems. (Check out the NLLEA Awards page for the details.)
The Annual Business Meeting immediately followed Friday’s luncheon, with the membership voting to accept proposed By-Laws revisions and accept a new fee structure for member agencies. During the meeting, the NLLEA presented an award to Janet Evans, Senior Attorney with the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. Ms. Evans addressed the group speaking about the FTC’s We Don’t Serve Teens campaign. She received the award for her proactive approach to combating underage drinking through pushing for the development of the campaign and reaching out to the NLLEA to help promote it.
The membership voted to host next year’s annual conference with the Underage Drinking Enforcement Training Center’s 10th National Leadership Conference. The Conference will be held in August 20 – 22 in Nashville, Tennessee. Lastly, Steven Ernst from the California Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control was elected to the position of NLLEA Sergeant-at-Arms from a field of four excellent candidates.
Friday evening’s Closing Banquet featured recognition of several individuals. Speaking on behalf of the Association, Shawn Walker presented service awards to Training Academy Coordinator Chuck Conkling and the West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration in recognition of their organizing and hosting the 2007 NLLEA Training Academy in Chester, West Virginia. A plaque was also presented to Beth Mattfeld, formerly at PIRE, for support given to the NLLEA and its Executive Board over a two-year period.
The highlight of the event was the swearing in of the 2007-2008 NLLEA Board of Directors: President Stacy Drakeford, Vice President Charles Sumner, Secretary/Treasurer Frederick Mahony, Sergeant-At-Arms Steve Ernst, and Immediate Past President Shawn Walker.
The 21st Annual NLLEA was a great success. Make plans to attend the 2008 Annual Conference next August. It will be held in Nashville Tennessee. Information about workshops submissions, registration, and accommodations will be posted on the NLLEA website in February.