The Major Cities Chiefs (MCCA) is a professional organization of police executives representing the largest cities in the United States and Canada. The MCCA provides a unique forum for urban police, sheriffs and other law enforcement chief executives to discuss common problems, to share information and problem-solving strategies. MCCA articulates the public safety needs of large cities in the formulation of criminal justice policy.
Crime is a national concern that affects every community in every region of the United States and Canada. Crime, however, takes its heaviest toll on the largest urban communities. In the United States, major cities account for nearly 20 percent of the nation’s population, but more than one-quarter of reported index crimes and more than 37 percent of all reported violent offenses.
Recognizing the unique public safety challenges of large cities, a small group of chiefs of police from these jurisdictions began meeting on a regular basis in the late 1940’s. Their purpose was to discuss mutual problems and to exchange solutions for addressing those problems.
From these early and largely informal discussions cam a more structured organization of large city police executives. Thus, the Major Cities Chiefs Association was created. Over the years, the organization has grown both in size of its membership and the breadth of its programs. Today, the MCC includes the chief law enforcement executives of 69 of the largest urban areas in the United States and the 9 largest cities in Canada. Members of the Major Cities Chiefs serve approximately one-fifth of the United States and Canadian population.
While the purpose of the MCCA remains much the same as it has always been—to discuss mutual issues and to exchange new crime-fighting strategies—the Major Cities Chiefs involvement in executive training, research, and criminal justice policy development continues to grow.
Membership in the Major Cities Chiefs is designed to reflect the public safety needs and unique crime problems of the largest policing agencies in the United States and Canada. Police executives who meet one of the following criteria are eligible for membership:
- “Major cities” means (a) the largest cities in the United States based on population as determined by the latest annual census update or cities recommended by the Executive Board and approved by the Membership; (b) the largest cities in Canada based on population as determined by the latest annual census update or cities recommended by the Executive Board and approved by the Membership; (c) invited International cities that meet criteria established by the Executive Board and approved by the Membership.
- “Major metropolitan areas” means those metropolitan areas with a residential population of at least 1.5 million, and whose largest law enforcement agency is comprised of at least 1,000 sworn law enforcement officers.
From an initial membership of approximately 20, the Major Cities Chiefs now include 69 members from the United States and 9 from the Canadian provinces. Each member pays annual dues that cover the registration at the three conferences held throughout the year.
Members of the Major Cities Chiefs select a President and two Vice Presidents. Five regional representatives are selected by the regional members. The Executive Board Members appoint an Executive Director and Associate Director.
The Major Cities Chiefs meet three times a year. Meetings are restricted to member chiefs and selected staff, invited federal law enforcement partners, and sponsor partners. If the Major Cities Chiefs go into an “Executive Session”, only voting members and those designated by the chair can attend.
The Winter Meeting is held for two days each January or February in the city of one of the MCCA members on even years; in Washington D.C. in odd years. The Washington, DC meeting is held in conjunction with the Major County Sheriffs of America and the focus in on policy and legislative issues. The host department Chief works with the Associate Director to determine the dates and hotel location for the meetings.
The Summer Meeting has historically been held in Sun Valley, ID with the National Executive Institute Associates (NEIA). Beginning in 2014, MCCA began a Joint Conference with the Police Executive Research Forum (PERF) and NEIA. The three day meeting is held in one of the member cities. The focus of the meeting is on training, current events and subcommittee work.
Each fall, normally in the month of October, the MCCA meets two days immediately prior to the annual conference of the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP). Most, if not all, members of the Major Cities Chiefs are also members of the IACP and attend the annual conference.
An important focus of the Major Cities Chiefs is executive training for its members. Through the organization’s regular meetings and its relationship with the National Executive Institute and the IACP, members of the Major Cities Chiefs receive up-to-date information on the latest topics in the fields of policing, executive leadership and criminal justice legislation.
In addition, the Major Cities Chiefs conduct specialized training programs on an occasional basis. These programs cover critical issues in personnel employment, organizational management and related disciplines.
The Major Cities Chiefs, in conjunction with the FBI and other criminal justice organizations, conduct occasional studies on issues of national concern. A Human Resources Subcommittee annual study has included the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act and Recruitment and Hiring. Other MCCA sub committees are Financial Managers, Technology Committee, Intelligence Commanders, and Legal Advisors.
Copies of all research reports are made available free of charge to members of the Major Cities Chiefs. Information is also shared with other police agencies and researchers to improve their understanding of the crime problems facing large cities. Some research findings are available to the general public on the MCCA website.
With the issue of crime taking on added prominence at the federal, state and local levels, the debate over criminal justice policy issues has grown more intense and complex. To ensure the needs and concerns of urban police agencies are considered, the Major Cities Chiefs monitor legislative trends and take positions on specific legislation. MCCA is represented on multi-agency groups that advocate law enforcement in legislative processes and is also represented on the Criminal Justice Information Systems (CJIS) Policy Board, which monitors issues such as police communications and statistical reporting.