The atmosphere was drenched with more than rain this past week as organized retail crime subject matter experts from across the country converged in Orlando, Florida November 7th – 10th for the 2022 Annual Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR) and Florida Law Enforcement Property Recovery Unit (FLEPRU) Conference.
This national event boasts top retail loss prevention investigators, law enforcement officers, lawmakers, and others for educational excellence, solutions-based discussions, and networking opportunities in the fight against organized retail crime. Even the first November hurricane to make landfall in 40 years couldn’t dampen the spirits of the record-setting crowd that attended this year’s event.
With specialized training sessions primarily focused on property crimes, trends, investigative tactics, and legislative topics, sessions were hosted by speakers who are experts in their field and industry professionals both local and from around the nation. The conference also featured a Vendor Showcase and Retail Fusion Center to support networking opportunities between law enforcement and retailers.
After a welcome reception Monday night, the conference kicked off Tuesday morning with opening remarks followed by the FLEPRU and CLEAR Case and Investigator of the Year Awards. Congratulations to The Home Depot for the Case of the Year, Sgt. Jennifer Marino with the San Francisco Police Department for the CLEAR Law Enforcement Partner of the Year, and Lt. Nancy Alvarez with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office for the FLEPRU Law Enforcement Partner of the Year.
As has come to be the norm, the conference featured a number of outstanding general sessions presenting on many of the top ORC-related issues facing our communities today, with leaders from across the country educating the attendees on current trends. The event also offered something new this year, with both retail and law enforcement-focused breakout sessions featuring subject matter experts providing insights on topics more specific to our partner audiences. Audience participation was encouraged throughout the event, taking full advantage of the spectrum of expertise that took part in the conference to keep learning opportunities at a premium.
The event also showcased a surprise leadership speaker this year as Coach Lou Holtz joined the conference on Wednesday afternoon to share both stories and leadership lessons from his colorful and successful career as a college football legend.
“This year’s event was clearly our best effort to date,” says Ben Dugan, president at CLEAR. “Even a hurricane couldn’t wash away the great sessions and positive energy we saw at the event. This was truly a well-rounded conference, with strong educational sessions, new innovation, mental health presentations, and Coach Holtz. It was great the way it all came together.”
Dugan has just completed a four-year term as president, and will be followed by Rich Rossman, who was just named as the new president at CLEAR. We would like to congratulate Dugan for an outstanding job over the past four years, having helped take the organization to a whole new level. He leaves CLEAR in very good hands with Rossman. Rossman is a long-time veteran of the Broward County (Florida) Sheriff’s Office, has been an active member of CLEAR since its inception, and served as vice president at CLEAR until his most recent role as president. Both have proven exceptional leadership that will guide CLEAR for years to come.
The primary mission of CLEAR is to build and support public-private sector partnerships focused on improving the safety of our communities. Mutual cooperation between all law enforcement agencies, businesses, and private sector organizations is seen as a mission imperative. But while training and education remain critical, CLEAR also serves as an essential advocate of public-private partnerships, providing information of interest to all organizations and agencies in the battle against organized retail crime; supports both state and national legislation concerning ORC-related issues; and promotes other state and regional associations that share similar goals. By working and learning together we can all benefit, creating strong partnerships that make our communities safer.
Look for more from CLEAR and FLEPRU in the coming months and join us as the 2023 annual conference returns to Orlando next November!