The Ardmore Convention Center welcomed police and law enforcement officers from across Oklahoma for the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police Conference, which was held from June 27-29. The conference brings together chief law enforcement executives, administrative support and command staff to listen to speakers, receive training and visit exhibitor showcases.
OACP executive director Phil Cotten, a retired Chief of police, said the conference had an estimated 140 attendees from across the state at the conference and 130 vendors were present at the event.
Cotten said the conference is valuable to all attendees because of the opportunity to hear dynamic speakers and to network with other police, particularly for smaller, rural departments.
“It’s coming together, networking and the training is really important,” he said. “About 85 percent of police agencies in Oklahoma have 10 or fewer officers so they’re small. The training opportunities and the networking and being able to hear some really first rate speakers and to be able to come together and fellowship.”
The conference opened with a golf tournament at Dornick Hills Golf and Country Club. The conference included two nationally known speakers, welcoming Gordon Graham, president of Lexipol, LLC., and Lieutenant Gerald Lohr, who discussed the events in Ferguson, Missouri, and the lessons learned from the incident.

Graham discussed risk management, policy development and training related to risk management. In addition to the speakers, law enforcement officials at the conference had access to several vendors in the main conference area, including vehicle vendors which lined the inside of the area. Typically, the conference features several “break out sessions” that allow attendees to choose a speaker, but this year only two speakers were available due to their national recognition, according to Cotten.
Tuesday night the OACP honored law enforcement officers at the Annual Awards Banquet, which highlights officers who have achieved greatness in the field. Cotten said the banquet gives the association a chance to recognize officers for going above and beyond.
“We recognize officers from all over the state  who were heroic or really extraordinary in the line of duty,” he said. “They were given a plaque and honored for their work.”
The conference, which is in its 40th year, hadn’t been in Ardmore in several years, but the new facilities at the convention center served the conference well, according to Cotten. He said the conference can be good for the community and that the members enjoy the camaraderie that is built at the conference.
“It’s been good. Everyone is loving coming here and I imagine it’s pretty good for the community,” he said. “The board of directors will be discussing where to go and all that next year, but I think this will be on the schedule. If not next year certainly in the rotation.”