American Trucking Associations has been looking for ways to “grow and strengthen” truck industry employees’ relationships and perceptions of law enforcement organizations across the country, and ATA’s federation is bringing aboard a new panel of advisors to help with this effort.
ATA announced its intentions for this panel recently and explained that both retired and currently active law enforcement officials who have been working to boost collaboration efforts with truck drivers, as well as ATA members who have worked in law enforcement at the local, state, and federal levels, will comprise the panel.
“No two groups have a stronger and more consistent presence on our nation’s highways than law enforcement officers and American truckers,” said Chris Spear, President of ATA.
Collaboration within the panel will involve more than two dozen law enforcement agencies–including state organizations like Washington State Patrol and California Highway Patrol, local police departments like Madison County, Florida’s Sheriff’s Department and Jackson, Tennessee’s local police department, and even U.S. Secret Service and FBI members.
Because law enforcement agencies and trucking companies consist of workers who are most commonly on America’s roadways and are both working to keep the nation moving forward efficiently and safely, Spear explained that boosting the partnerships between them is vital for the economy and for public safety.
“Therein lies a strategic opportunity for greater collaboration, increased communication, and new bonds,” Spear continued. “The incredible depth and breadth of experience represented on this board will be an invaluable asset for our industry, the law enforcement community, and the safety of the motoring public alike.”
The Law Enforcement Advisory Board held its first official meeting in March and plans to meet at least every other month to determine the most important challenges and potential opportunities for improvement its members wish to address. In its inaugural meeting, the board found the particular subjects it intends to prioritize over the next few months.
These pressing issues include efforts to increase rest stop safety for truck drivers, boosted truck parking capabilities and availability, the improvement overall commercial motor vehicle security, increased company safety employee and truck driver training accessibility, and ways to help in the fight to end human trafficking.
Some solutions the board discussed in regards to improving communication and strengthening relationships between local police officers and truckers included: meet-and-greet events during which participants could focus on building friendships and rapport, and ride-alongs for truckers and police to gain a better understanding in regards to the daily duties of one another, noted Dana Moore, advisory board member and Texas Trucking Association’s director of policy and government relations.
Moore also explained that at TTA, members have already been working toward forging relationships with members of their local law enforcement, and he believes that many other agencies should be able to easily begin similar efforts to make communication and cooperation as efficient as possible.
“One of the things we do is bring a food truck in and we buy officers lunch,” said Moore of TTA. “We have fellowship, [we] don’t do business [during those times].”
Moore, who has also served as a commercial vehicle enforcement officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety, also noted that because trucker safety at rest stops has been such a prevalent issue, the board believes law enforcement should help by offering their services at parking areas and rest stops whenever they can.
“It’s all about integrity and trust,” he added, explaining that police officers and truck drivers in his state of Texas have been already begun working together in efforts to combat human trafficking over the Mexico border.
Trucking companies from which members of ATA’s advisory panel come include: Yellow Corp., HNTB Corp., FedEx Freight, ABF Freight System, Zonar Systems Inc., Old Dominion Freight Line, UPS Freight, Werner Enterprises, and Roehl Transport. The board also includes employees from Walmart Inc., the Nebraska Trucking Association, The Texas Trucking Association, the South Dakota Trucking Association, the National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Assistance Center, McAnally Wilkins Insurance, and DeVere Public Affairs and Consulting.
Finally, employees from Midlothian, Texas’ Police Department and the City of La Porte Police Department have also joined the advisory board.