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March 26, 2021 4:30 PM, EDT

New ATA Panel Seeks to Strengthen Bond Between Truckers, Law Enforcement

Truck at Otay Mesa Port of EntryA truck crosses from Mexico into the United States at Otay Mesa Port of Entry in San Diego. (John Sommers II for Transport Topics)

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A new panel of truckers will advise American Trucking Associations’ federation on ways to “grow and strengthen” relationships between the trucking industry and law enforcement organizations nationwide, ATA announced March 24.

The panel will consist of ATA members with previous experience in federal, state and local law enforcement. It also will include current and retired law enforcement officials who have contributed positively to the partnership between both groups, ATA said.

“No two groups have a stronger and more consistent presence on our nation’s highways than law enforcement officers and American truckers,” ATA President Chris Spear said in a statement. “Therein lies a strategic opportunity for greater collaboration, increased communication and new bonds. 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.”

No two groups have a stronger and more consistent presence on our nation’s highways than law enforcement officers and American truckers.

American Trucking Associations President Chris Spear

ATA President Chris Spear

The panel will engage in discussions with some 27 law enforcement agencies ranging from the FBI and U.S. Secret Service to state agencies such as the California Highway Patrol and Washington State Patrol, and even local police departments as those in Jackson, Tenn., and the Madison County, Fla., Sheriff’s Department.

The 22 members of the Law Enforcement Advisory Board will convene bimonthly to identify areas of opportunity and provide recommendations on priority issues. During its inaugural meeting held virtually earlier this month (in March), the board identified primary issues it will focus on in the coming weeks and months.

They include combating human trafficking; increasing truck parking capacity and ensuring driver safety at rest stops; commercial motor vehicle safety and security; and enhancing access to training for drivers and company safety personnel.

Dana Moore

Moore

Advisory board member Dana Moore, director of policy and government relations for the Texas Trucking Association, said the committee discussed improving relationships with local police officers by doing ride-alongs and attempting meet-and-greet sessions during which the emphasis is not strictly on business.

“One of the things we do is bring a food truck in and we buy officers lunch,” Moore told Transport Topics. “We have fellowship, don’t do business.”

One of the more important ways enforcement can help truckers is by keeping rest stops and parking areas safe, said Moore, a former commercial vehicle enforcement officer with the Texas Department of Public Safety.

“It’s all about integrity and trust,” Moore said.

He said that human trafficking is one of the top issues for truckers and police in Texas since the state borders Mexico.

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The advisory board members are: •Derek Barrs, HNTB Corp.

• Joe Allen Boyd, professional driver, Walmart Inc.

• Rick Cates, Marsh USA Inc.

• Tim Cardwell, National High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area Assistance Center

• Butch Day, Yellow Corp.

• Jeff DeVere, DeVere Public Affairs and Consulting

• Floyd Dixon, FedEx Freight

• Fred Fakkema, Zonar Systems, Inc.

• Jeff Ferber, ABF Freight System

• Kent Grisham, Nebraska Trucking Association

• Chris Harris, ABF Freight System

• Parker Harrison, Old Dominion Freight Line

• Jim Kochenderfer, Werner Enterprises

• Mike Martin, Old Dominion Freight Line

• John McKown, professional driver, UPS Freight

• Ray Miller, McAnally Wilkins Insurance

• Dana Moore, Texas Trucking Association

• Myron Rau, South Dakota Trucking Association

• John Spiros, Roehl Transport

• Jeffrey Tippit, City of La Porte Police Department

• Christopher Vinson, Midlothian, Texas, Police Department

• Donnie Ware, ABF Freight System

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