“Building integrity and
through research and education.”
Americans for Effective Law Enforcement was formed in 1966. The Law Enforcement Legal Center was begun in 1973.
AELE is a research driven educational organization that produces and disseminates legal information through traditional seminars, via electronic media and direct contact.
• We treat people fairly and ethically;
• We tell the truth to our customers and others; and
• We keep our promises
– unless there is a legal or privacy impediment, or integrity is compromised.
AELE’s national headquarters is in a suburb near Chicago’s O’Hare airport. The building address is 841 W. Touhy Ave., Park Ridge IL 60068-3351. Tel. (847) 685-0700; Fax (847) 685-9700. E-mail: email@example.com
W. Touhy Ave., viewed from the west side, rear —
AELE owns and occupies a 3,000 sq. ft. building with
10 private parking spaces for staff and visitors.
Park Ridge borders the NW side of Chicago.
AELE was incorporated in 1966 as a
not for profit educational organization for the purpose of establishing an
“organized voice” for the law-abiding citizens regarding this country’s crime
problem, and to lend support to professional law enforcement.
AELE has a nationally prominent Board of Trustees, although most administrative matters are approved by nine outside Directors, who serve without fee or compensation.
The paid staff consists of two half-time attorneys, and two half-time support employees, who plan and coordinate seminars, arrange for the printing and mailing of educational materials, and answer correspondence and telephone inquiries. Seminars speakers receive a modest honoraria and expenses. (Click here for a list of AELE Staff)
Amicus Curiae Program
AELE became functional in early 1967 after receiving a tax-exempt ruling from the IRS. The first project undertaken was the filing of a “friend of the court” (amicus curiae) brief in the Supreme Court.
By Summer 2010, AELE appeared as amicus in 165 cases. Only 52 were decided unfavorably to our position. About three-fourths of the cases were in the Supreme Court of the United States, and the remaining were in federal appeals or state supreme courts.
One measure of our success and prestige is the fact that 35 state attorney generals have joined AELE briefs in behalf of their state. In addition, 14 national organizations, 30 state associations and 8 local groups or entities have also joined AELE briefs.
Two national associations regularly join our briefs, which are written by AELE counsel; the NSA and IACP represent most of the country’s police chiefs and county sheriffs. AELE briefs actually represent the views of law enforcement leaders throughout America. (Click here for more about the amicus program).
Another important project of AELE has been the regular publication of legal information.
AELE publishes three monthly law periodicals: the Law Enforcement Liability Reporter (since 1973), the Jail and Prisoner Law Bulletin (since 1975) and the Fire, Police & Corrections Personnel Reporter (since 1975). Although these were available only by paid subscriptions, beginning in July, 2006, the publications became free and are no longer password protected. AELE also began a Monthly Law Journal in 2007.
In 2012, AELE launched a web portal for research on Electronic Control Weapons
(ECWs), consisting of case summaries, articles and other resources.
Additionally, there are three digests of case summaries in more than 700 topics, with more than 33,000 entries. A search engine also is provided.
AELE conducts seminars and workshops for law enforcement officials and their attorneys to apprise them as to what the police can and cannot lawfully do in the performance of their law enforcement functions. Over twelve thousand police chiefs, sheriffs, senior administrators, police legal advisors, fire chiefs, and municipal attorneys have registered for these three-day programs.
One is on Legal, Psychological and Biomechanical Aspects of Officer-Involved Lethal and Less Lethal Force, another is on Jail and Prisoner Legal Issues, and a third is on Discipline and Internal Investigations for law enforcement and corrections. AELE has also sponsored special programs on the “Exclusionary Rule,” criminal appellate advocacy, racial profiling, criminal justice compliance & management auditing, police civil liability, non-disciplinary employment law, trial tactics in police liability lawsuits and critical incident response. AELE speakers are committed to our mission of “Building integrity and confidence through research and education.” (Click here for more about AELE seminars).
At various intervals AELE has issued “Position Papers,” bulletins or papers regarding current criminal justice issues of national importance. The officers and staff, on request, also have appeared before legislative committees to present reasoned practical viewpoints respecting contemplated legislative action.
Some of our position papers were distributed nationally; others were prepared for matters of statewide concern or which effect particular segments of society, such as the banking industry.
Due to a 5 -to- 4 decision in 1961, “illegally” seized evidence was no longer admissible in state prosecutions. Since 1980 AELE has strongly advocated for a good faith exception to the application of the rule.
AELE drafted a Model State Statute which was distributed to 7,363 state legislators, all members of Congress, and to nearly 18,000 prosecutors, police chiefs, sheriffs and other criminal justice professionals. Several states have adopted such legislation, including Illinois. The AELE Model Statute was used to draft the Illinois law and nearly all of the wording is taken from our model statute.
AELE, in a series of briefs filed in the U.S. Supreme Court, urged recognition of a good faith exception. The Supreme Court has done so, in two cases in which AELE filed as “friend of the court” in support of the exception.
AELE will not defend police practices that are in bad faith or which wantonly violate citizen rights. Where, however, the police have acted in apparent good faith, we believe any evidence of guilt, which is of a reliable nature, should be admissible in court. The court should concentrate their attention upon the real purpose of a criminal trial -- the search of the truth: Is the accused guilty or innocent?
AELE staff attorneys receive many hundreds of telephone calls or e-mails each year, from law enforcement executives and their attorneys. The calls and e-mails need legal research assistance, guidance or advice — all of which is available and promptly offered without fees or user charges. (Click here for information about research requests).
Financial and Tax Status
AELE's annual operating budget varies, based on the number of seminars and attendance.It is a not-for-profit educational corporation, with a 501(C)(3) designation by the I.R.S. Archived financial information, including our tax returns, is available on the Guidestar website.
Although AELE began as a membership organization, it no longer solicits members or contributions. All funding comes from the tuition charged for its educational programs.
AELE, as an independent non-partisan entity, does not solicit or receive grants from public or private sources.
AELE is rated A+ as a not-for-profit Accredited Business member of the