I am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve as President of NAWLEE. I look forward to building on our commitment to serve as an inspiration to women entering the field of law enforcement, empower them to recognize and develop their own leadership potential, and achieve their own unique career goals.

I am grateful to my predecessor, Major Dawn Layman, for her leadership, dedication and commitment to NAWLEE during her second term as president this past year and for her willingness to step into the role of interim Executive Director until a new one is selected.

I am also proud to serve alongside the following amazing women that comprise your 2017-2018 Board of Directors: Chief Dawn Tondini, 1st Vice President; Lieutenant Anna Richardson Griffin, 2nd Vice President; Lieutenant Tammie Reeder, Treasurer; Lieutenant Stacy Simmons, Secretary; Inspector Cris Cunningham, Associate Member-at-Large; Major Dawn Layman, Immediate Past President; Jackie Wasni, Ex-Officio, and Emily Allen, Ex-Officio.

In early August, the 22nd annual NAWLEE Conference was held in Kansas City. Those that attended experienced the “magic” of NAWLEE once again. The atmosphere was electric, inspirational and motivational. It was great to see everyone that attended. I really enjoyed the opportunity to meet and speak with so many new and old friends. Our hosts, led by Conference Chair Deputy Chief Cheryl Rose and Co-Chair Major Dawn Layman did an outstanding job! The networking opportunities were fantastic, the speakers and educational sessions were top notch, and the hospitality unparalleled. I especially enjoyed the friendly rivalry between the KC Missouri and the KC Kansas contingents. For those of you that could not make it, we missed you and look forward to seeing you next year when we head west to Los Angeles! More information on the 2018 conference will be forthcoming…. stay tuned.

One of my first priorities, along with the Executive Board, is to select a new Executive Director for NAWLEE. Dave Weisz stepped down in August to pursue an opportunity with the National Sheriff’s Association. Many thanks to Dave and best wishes in his new role. I know he will continue to be an advocate for NAWLEE. We conducted a national search for the Executive Director’s position. The Board is currently reviewing resumes and scheduling finalists for phone interviews…. we hope to announce and introduce our new Executive Director during the NAWLEE Breakfast at the International Association of Chiefs of Police Conference in Philadelphia.

For those attending IACP, I invite you to attend the NAWLEE Breakfast on Monday, October 23rd from 7:45 AM to 9:30 AM at the Masonic Library and Museum One North Broad Street, Philadelphia, PA. We are appreciative of Whelen for their continued support of our organization and their sponsorship of this event. The breakfast is by invitation only and attendees must RSVP to attend the event.

Over the next year, it will be my goal to increase the visibility of NAWLEE and to grow our membership. I plan to be very active – NAWLEE has earned a place at the table on the national front and the opportunities continue to move our organization forward. Our social media presence is growing but there is much more that we can do. Internally, we continue to gain more interest from less tenured officers that are seeking inspiration and mentoring as they navigate their careers in law enforcement. I want NAWLEE to be welcoming and inclusive of all ranks– I want us as an organization to think of the second “E” in NAWLEE to mean EMPOWER, ENCOURAGE, EDUCATE, and ELEVATE.

I pledge to honor the great traditions of our organization and our founding members who were among the first women to break through the glass ceiling, they opened doors and made the climb much easier for those that have come behind them. I am thankful for all that NAWLEE has given me, and now I have the opportunity to give back and share the “magic” of NAWLEE.

Don’t hesitate to contact me valerie.cunningham@indy.gov with your suggestions, comments, or concerns. NAWLEE is your organization. Together we are stronger.

Stay safe,


NAWLEE President
Deputy Chief, Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department