Adopted by A.P.C.A. Membership (09-24-2007)
First Amendment by A.P.C.A. Membership (09-24-2008)
Second Amendment by A.P.C.A. Membership (09-28-2009)
Third Amendment by A.P.C.A. Membership (09-23-2012)
Fourth Amendment by A.P.C.A. Membership (09-23-2013)
Fifth Amendment by APCA Membership (09/26/2016)
SECTION 1 – The American Police Canine Association, is a not-for-profit corporation
This Association shall be known as the American Police Canine Association (A.P.C.A.)
A. The American Police Canine Association will be incorporated as a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization.
B. In the event the American Police Canine Association is dissolved by a majority vote of the Executive Board, the assets of the A.P.C.A. will be donated to an approved 501(c) 3 non-profit association. A majority vote by the A.P.C.A. general membership will determine the 501(c) 3 non-profit association, to receive the assets of the American Police Canine Association.
SECTION 2 – Organizational Purpose
A. To strive to enhance the knowledge of all members of the Association through training seminars, website and written publications.
B. To establish and maintain a minimum working standard and certification program for the police service dog team.
C. To establish and maintain an accreditation program for all Master Trainers, Trainers and Applicants.
D. To strive to enhance public awareness as to the positive roles in which the police service dog provides in protecting and serving society.
SECTION 3 – Membership
A. Incorporators. The membership of the Association shall consist of those persons who have signed the certificate of incorporation as incorporators, together with all persons who are hereinafter received under the articles of incorporation.
B. Regular Members. This Association defines a regular member and recognizes as such; any active or retired law enforcement officer, military police or corrections officer of either federal, state, county or municipal, who is, or was a canine handler, canine trainer, or canine administrator.
- Regular members of this Association shall be of proper persons and have no crimes against his/her country, or conduct that may bring discredit upon themselves or to the American Police Canine Association, to be a member in good standing, a member of this organization is when he or she has remained current on organization dues and payments and for some required periodical reports. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
C. Associate Members. This Association defines an associate member and recognizes as such, any proper person that supports the efforts of the American Police Canine Association. An associate member of this association shall have no crimes against his/her state or country, or conduct that may bring discredit upon themselves or the American Police Canine Association. Associate members shall have the same privileges as afforded to a regular member, with the only exceptions being, that he/she shall not vote in any A.P.C.A. elections and are not entitled to serve on the Executive Board of Directors. Associate members shall only be K-9 team certified under the certification standards of the American Police Canine Association, in non-aggressive disciplines, that do not involve biting, such as detection, obedience, etc. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
D. Honorary Members. Persons nominated for this membership title must be made in their behalf by a regular member and approved by a majority vote of the Executive Board. This membership title will remain enforce unless revoked for just cause by the Executive Board. Honorary members shall not be allowed to vote or hold any office. Approved honorary members are exempt from paying annual membership dues. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
E. Retired Trainers/Master Trainers: To qualify as a retired Trainer/Master Trainer:
- Trainer/Master Trainer must have been a regular paid member.
- Must apply to the Executive Board to be recognized as an Accredited retired member.
- Must provide proof of retirement from his/her former law enforcement, military, and or Department of Corrections employer.
Retired members having paid membership dues for at least ten (10) years will not be required to pay dues, and will retain all privileges of regular members. In addition, the member shall retain his/her title of Master Trainer or Trainer, so long as the member remains in good standing as a proper person. (Amended 09/26/2016)
SECTION 4 – Duties of Board Officers & Directors
No officer or Director serving on the Association’s boards or committees as such shall receive any salary or compensation for services rendered to the American Police Canine Association. Officers or Directors may however, be reimbursed for their out of pocket expenses incurred reasonably and necessarily in conducting the affairs of the Association. No elected director may hold an elected office with another national or international police canine organization.
A. President. It shall be the duty of the President:
●To call and preside at all regular and special meetings.
●The President shall see that the Association’s bylaws, rules and regulations are and obeyed respected.
●The President shall cast the deciding vote in the event of a tie.
●The President shall have the authority to appoint committees and may designate their chairperson.
●The President shall appoint the following committees: Accreditation, Appeals, Bylaws, Grievance, Election, Awards and any committees necessary to conduct the affairs of the Association. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
●The President shall appoint Pro Tempore officers in the event of absences.
●The President shall perform such other duties as are usual and incidental to the office of President.
●The President is a director ex-officio of all committees except the Election Committee.
- The President shall have the power to temporarily suspend any member of this Association for “cause” for fifteen (15) days.
- Cause shall be defined as an arrest for violation of a state law, federal law or local ordinances, any violation of the Bylaws provisions or any personal conduct which through a review of the facts available at the time, is determined as bringing or may bring discredit upon the American Police Canine Association. (09/26/2016)
- The President will then request an emergency vote by the Executive Board. (09/26/2016)
- The emergency vote of the Executive Board can be by phone call, in person or electronically. (09/26/2016)
- If a majority of votes of the Executive Board agree with the President’s action, the Executive Board has the authority to extend the temporary suspension of any member of this Association, until the appropriate committee renders a final decision on the grievance, the committee will meet within 30 days either in person, via phone or electronically. (09/26/2016)
- The date of the hearing will be set by the President within three (3) days of the Executive Board decision, the hearing maybe be extended by mutual agreement so that the subject of the suspension has the ability to appear in their own defense. (09/26/2016)
- The accused retains the right to have the final decision reviewed by the Appeals Committee. (09/26/2016)
B. Vice President. It shall be the duty of the Vice President:
● The Vice President shall assist and support the President in the duties of this position and shall be the President Pro Tempore in the absence of the President, during which time the Vice President shall assume all the duties and responsibilities of that office.
● The Vice President shall be required to attend, with the President, conferences, etc., to which the President is required or expected to attend, in the interest of and/or on behalf of the membership of this Association in order that the Vice President may be as informed of all matters concerning the Association as is the President.
● In the event of a vacancy in the office of President during the elective term, he/she shall succeed to that office for the remainder of the unexpired term.
C. Secretary. It shall be the duty of the Secretary:
● The Secretary shall accurately record the proceedings at all meetings.
● The Secretary will read the minutes of previous meetings and all communications.
● The Secretary shall conduct a roll call of officers and shall note absentees.
● The Secretary shall communicate and correspond, per the direction of the President, with persons and organizations both within and outside the Association relative to Executive Boards business.
● The Secretary shall receive all monies in the absence of the Treasurer.
● The Secretary shall accept one of two submitted copies of all applications for Trainer/Master Trainer and current resumes submitted annually by Trainer/Master Trainers. (09/26/2016)
D. Treasurer. It shall be the duty of the Treasurer:
● The Treasurer shall collect all monies, including the payments of all benefits.
● The account books as well as all papers in the Treasurer’s custody shall be open for inspection and examination by the Board of Directors.
● The Treasurer shall have the authority to designate the bank or other financial institution in which the Association shall deposit monies into the Association’s one and only checking account. (Amended 09/26/2016)
- The President and the Secretary will have access to the checking, in order to check the balance on the checking account.
- The President and Secretary will only have the authority in an exigent circumstance, impeachment, death or resignation of the elected Treasurer, to write and issue checks for this Association, until a new Treasure can be appointed. (09/26/2016)
● The Treasurer shall not lend or invest any of the funds except when duly authorized by the Executive Board.
● The Treasurer will be responsible for issuing payments for all debts incurred by the Association, which are required to conduct the Association’s business.
● It will be the responsibility of the Treasurer to perform an annual audit of the books of the Association.
● The Treasurer shall be responsible to complete both Federal and State taxes with the Internal Revenue Service no later than April 15th of each calendar year. (09/26/2016)
E. Membership Chairman. It shall be the duty of the Membership Chairman:
● The Membership Chairman shall keep a record of all directors, the standing of each and their date of admission or termination.
● The Membership Chairman shall be responsible for the mailing of membership cards, membership certificates, dues notices, and election ballots.
● The Membership Chairman shall also be responsible in the receipt and documentation of all membership dues monies and the forwarding of all dues monies to the Treasurer for deposit.
F. Board of Directors. It shall be the duty of the Board of Directors:
● The Board of Directors shall act as agents of the Executive Board in all financial transactions between the Board and all other institutions and individuals. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Board of Directors shall consist of five (5) Regular members; all directors to be elected every three (3) years by ballot.
● Each Director of the five (5) Regular members of the Board of Directors shall have one vote to cast on all motions made requiring an Executive Board vote during the convening of all Executive Board Meetings.
● The Directors shall be the custodians of all annual audits of the assets and liabilities of the Executive Board for the year ending December 31st and submit the financial statement at a regular meeting. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Directors are hereby authorized to employ the services of a Certified Public Accountant, at a reasonable fee to prepare this annual audit and report. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Directors shall cause to be made an audit of all books, accounts, funds, etc., of any and all officers, committees, directors, or members who collect and or disburse funds of the association, not less than once each year or at any time said Board has given just cause to believe such audit should be made. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
G. Grievance Chairman. It shall be the duty of the Grievance Chairman:
● The Grievance Chairman shall accept written grievances from regular members.
● The Grievance Chairman shall investigate and convene the Grievance Committee.
● The Grievance Chairman will follow the process outlined in Section 11 and make a recommendation to the Executive Board for disposition of the complaint.
● In the event the grievance pertains to a Master Trainer and or Trainer, the Accreditation Committee is responsible for recommending any disciplinary action against Trainers and Master Trainers for violations of the A.P.C.A. certification standards in their performance of their accredited duties for the APCA, in that event the Grievance Chairman will forward the grievance and/or complaint to the Accreditation Committee Chairman in which time the Accreditation Committee shall convene to address the grievance and/or complaint and upon gathering all findings surrounding the complaint shall issue their decision. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
H. Accreditation Chairman. It shall be the duty of the Accreditation Chairman:
● The Accreditation Chairman shall accept applications for Trainers and Master Trainers.
● The Accreditation Chairman will convene the appropriate committees to, evaluate, and interview the applicants.
● The Accreditation Chairman will act as Committee chair, with three (3) additional regular members assigned by the President as Committee members. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Committee is responsible for recommending any disciplinary action against Trainers and Master Trainers for violations of the A.P.C.A. certification standards.
● The Accreditation Chairman will follow the guidelines outlined in Section 11. The Accreditation Committee will make a recommendation for disposition of the complaint. (09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Chairman is responsible for collecting and storing the annual resume updates for all trainers and master trainers, due on or before the 31st of each January. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Chairman or his designee shall collect all Trainer’s and Master Trainer’s annual résumés and review said documents to verify compliance with APCA rules regarding Trainers and Master Trainers. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Chairman shall take all applications for Trainer and Master Trainers and Chair the Accreditation Committee should a member wish to apply for Trainer or Master Trainer accreditation.
● The Accreditation Chairman shall notify the Accreditation Committee if a Trainer or Master Trainer is not compliant with rules regarding Trainers and Master Trainers and give a recommendation of how compliance should be achieved.
● Non compliance to this rule will result in the following:
- First Offense: Suspension of all Trainer/Master Trainer privileges until he/she is current with their dues and/or resume, beginning immediately. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
- Second Offense: Suspension of all Trainer/Master Trainer privileges for a period of 30 days after he/she is current with their dues and/or resume, beginning immediately. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
- Third Offense: Immediate change to “Inactive Status”. Inactive Status is defined as not being permitted to test and certify K9 teams to APCA rules and from representing themselves as an APCA Master Trainer at any workshops or seminars. To go back to “Active” status, the member must submit in writing their current resume, repay all past dues as required and reappear before the Accreditation Committee for review.
● The Accreditation Committee by a majority vote, three (3) of five (5) votes, has the authority to order a Trainer and/or Master Trainer to appear before the Accreditation Committee in response to any formal or informal complaint(s). (09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Committee by majority vote, three (3) of five (5) votes, has the authority to temporarily suspend the Trainer and/or Master Trainer’s privileges and rights until the Trainer and/or Master Trainer is compliant to the Association’s Bylaws, rules and regulation or appears before the Accreditation Committee, whichever is required. (09/26/2016)
● Trainer’s and/or Master Trainer’s accreditation maybe suspended, removed or revoked at any time by this Association for “Just Cause” after a full review of available information and a hearing is held by the American Police Canine Association Accreditation Committee. (09/26/2016)
● Any Trainer/Master Trainer may be removed from their position for any violation of the Certification Standards of the Association. (09/26/2016)
● Charges may be initiated against a Trainer/Master Trainer by members in good standing with the association with the Grievance Chairman or then forwarded to the Accreditation Chairman. (09/26/2016)
● Charges against the Trainer/Master Trainer must be submitted in writing. (09/26/2016)
● The Accreditation Chairman will provide the Trainer/Master Trainer with a written copy of the charges against him or her. Upon completion of a thorough review of available information, if the Accreditation Committee believes there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing, a hearing date will be established. (09/26/2016)
● The accused Trainer/Master Trainer will then be notified in writing by certified registered mail and not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing. (09/26/2016)
● The Trainer/Master Trainer shall be given the right to present evidence in his or her behalf at the hearing. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Accreditation Committee will determine if the accused member is innocent or guilty of the charges and present its’ disciplinary action to the Executive Board. (09/26/2016)
● In the event, the Trainer/Master Trainer is found guilty of the charge(s) against them, the Accreditation Committee will decide disciplinary action to be taken, which may include, temporary suspension of privileges, expulsion or any other appropriate action. (09/26/2016)
● Members found by the Accreditation Committee to have initiated baseless charges against a Trainer/Master Trainer, with other underlying and/or vindictive motives in doing so, may have appropriate disciplinary action initiated against them by the Accreditation Committee or Grievance Committee. All initiated action will be forwarded to the Executive Board for review for appropriate disciplinary action. (09/26/2016)
● No disciplinary action shall be taken against an accused member and/or the complainant member unless having been afforded the opportunity of a hearing before the Accreditation Committee, with the right of appeal to the Appeals Board. (09/26/2016)
● All members are presumed innocent of misconduct unless otherwise found guilty by presented and supported evidence which is irrefutable and convincing. (09/26/2016)
I. The Executive Board:
The A.P.C.A. Executive Board shall consist of the:
● Vice President
● Membership Chairman
● Accreditation Chairman
● Grievance Chairman
● Appeal Chairman (09-24-2008)
● Five (5) member Board of Directors
It shall be the duty of the Executive Board:
● This Board shall recommend, such rules, regulations, amendments, or deletions as may be deemed necessary for the government of the American Police Canine Association.
● In an emergency situation, the Executive Board by quorum eight (8) of thirteen (13) Executive Board Members vote may act for the entire Executive Board. (09-24-2008)
● Vacancies which occur in any of the Association’s offices, through resignation, death, impeachment, or other reasons (with the exception of the President) shall be filled by appointment made by the President and approved by the Executive Board. The approved appointment shall expire at the next elective term.
● Executive Board Members shall be required to attend one Executive Board Meeting per calendar year or provide just cause. (09-24-2008), Amended 09-26-2016
● No elected Officer or Director may hold an elected office with another national or international police canine association. (Amended 09/26/2016)
J. The Appeals Chairman and Appeals Committee. It shall be the duty of the Appeals Chairman and Committee:
● The Appeals Chairman and Committee is a committee consisting of three (3) members, appointed by the President.
● The Appeals Chairman and Committee are empowered to appeal sanctions imposed by the President, Executive Board and/or the Accreditation Committee.
● The Appeal Committee would be the last step in the appeal process for members or administrative sanctions. (Section J added, 09/26/2016)
SECTION 5 – Election of Officers
All candidates for elected office shall be present and nominated at the first general membership meeting in the year of the election.
● Nominated candidates for offices during the general membership meeting which are uncontested by any other nominated candidates are voted on by the general membership and sworn into the office by the President during the general membership meeting. Officers elect then assume the duties of the office at that time. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● In the event of an elected office receiving two or more nominated candidates from the floor, a membership vote by “Official Mail Ballot” will be conducted by the Membership Chairman.
● The Membership Chairman will mail an “Official Ballot” to every regular member eligible to vote.
● A lined security envelope that is properly marked “Official Ballot” will be I included in the mailing and used by the regular member to return the ballot to the Elections Committee Chairman.
● Only ballots returned in the issued lined security envelope will be counted.
● Any signature or written notation on the ballot that would identify the voter will cause that ballot to be considered invalid.
● Any envelope that is opened before being received by the Elections Committee will be declared invalid.
● Official ballot envelopes will contain a serial number, starting at #001 through the total number of regular members eligible to vote as determined by the Membership Chairman’s list at the time of the mailing.
● Each serial number will be placed on the ballot being returned and affixed to the outside of the return security envelope.
● Both serial numbers must match in order for the returned ballot to be declared valid.
● The names of nominees on the election ballots shall be placed in alphabetical order for each office.
● The “Official Ballot” in the return security envelope will be mailed back to the Election Committee Chairman postmarked no later than thirty (30) days after the nominations for offices are made.
● The “Official Ballot” will state the date in which all ballots must be postmarked returned by to be counted as a valid election ballot.
● Any ballots postmarked after this stated date will be ineligible to be counted and declared invalid.
● The Election Committee will consist of three (3) regular members.
● The President will appoint the three-member election committee.
● He will also appoint one (1) of these members as the Election Committee Chairman.
● No person of these three (3) appointed members shall be a nominee running for elected office in the given election.
● The Election Committee will hold all “Official Ballot” envelopes unopened until the next meeting of the Election Committee, which will be held at the next Association Executive Board meeting.
● The Election Committee will open the envelopes. The Election Committee Chairman shall check the serial number on the ballot and envelope to ensure they match. The Election Committee Chairman shall also ensure that only one (1) envelope and one (1) ballot with the same number is received.
● The envelopes will be discarded and the ballots will then be counted, the committee will attest to the correct total. Upon counting the ballots, they will be kept by the Election Chairman for a period of ninety (90) days at which time they shall be destroyed.
● A majority of votes cast shall elect.
● Association members are to be notified as soon as possible regarding the outcome of the election. If present, newly elected officers shall take office at this Association meeting following the counting of the ballots. If not present, elected officers shall take office at the next Association meeting. The newly elected officer must be present to take the oath of office either at the conclusion of the counting of the ballots or at the next Association meeting.
● If any office is unopposed the presiding officer shall retain his/her office for an additional term.
● Election of officers will be held every three (3) years for the offices of President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Membership Chairman, Accreditation Chairman, Grievance Chairman, and the Board of Directors.
● In order to maintain the integrity of the board and membership in place, for the good of the association as a whole; Executive Board elections will be conducted in a staggered year system. (Amended, 09-28-2009)
– In 2010 “First Year” President/Secretary/Membership/Director #1/Director #3
– In 2011 “Second Year” Vice President/Treasurer/Director #2/Director #4
– In 2012 “Third Year” Grievance/Accreditation/Director #5
SECTION 6 – The Oath of Office
“I, (Officer Elect), __________ __________, do hereby promise and affirm, that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all the duties of the office on which I am about to enter to the best of my abilities.
SECTION 7 – Association Meetings
Three (3) meetings will be held during each calendar year so as to conduct the official business of the American Police Canine Association. The three (3) meetings assembled will be for the purposes as follows:
● Spring Executive Board Meeting
● Fall Executive Board Meeting
● Annual General Membership Meeting
The President shall set the dates for these meetings with the approval of a majority vote by the Executive Board. A quorum shall consist of a majority of the Executive Board being physically present for the purposes of conducting an Official Association Meeting.
The Association’s meetings shall be conducted according to Parliamentary Law, Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, which shall be the guide for conducting all meetings.
SECTION 8 – Association Bylaws
● The Bylaws Committee shall consist of five (5) members, appointed by the President.
● The Bylaws Committee shall be charged with the responsibility of overseeing and codifying all amendments, and all proposed changes to amendments pertaining to any additions, or deletions to the Association’s Bylaws.
● The Bylaws Committee must submit in writing all proposed changes in their final form to the Executive Board with the Committees recommendations.
● The General Membership shall vote on any bylaw rule changes at a General Membership meeting.
● Any amendment in direct conflict with the Sections of incorporation shall be null and void. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
SECTION 9 – Association Membership Dues
● The annual dues of Association shall be $50.00 per member. (09-23-2013)
● The Membership Chairman shall forward annual dues notices no later than December 31st of each calendar year.
● Dues will be collected by January 31st of each calendar year.
● Memberships and or accreditations held will be invalid for those members’ dues not received by March 1st of any calendar year.
● Accreditations to include Master Trainer, Trainer and Certifications held by any K-9 Team, will remain invalid until such time as these members dues are paid and current to date.
● Those members submitting annual membership dues postmarked after March 1st will be assessed a $15.00 late fee. This does not apply to first time new members joining after March 1st of a calendar year.
● There will be a $50.00 Non-Sufficient Funds (NSF) Charge by the Association for any returned check in addition to reimbursement of any fees incurred by the American Police Canine Association by the financial institution.
SECTION 10 – Meeting Rules of Order
(1) Any member wishing to be recognized for privilege of the floor shall rise, identify him or herself, and address the chair.
(2) No member shall have privilege of the floor until properly moved, recorded, and declared upon for discussion by the chair.
(3) No question can come before the meeting unless properly moved, recorded, and declared upon for discussion by the chair.
(4) Any member may call for a vote on any question, which each member present shall be required to answer his or her name on the roll unless excused by the chair.
(5) A motion to reconsider must come from a member voting with the majority when the motion to consider was taken.
(6) When a point of order is raised by any member, a person having the floor shall take his or her seat until the point is decided by the chair. If proper, he or she may resume his or her remarks.
(7) No subject discussed shall be readdressed during the same meeting unless it was so understood when disposed of.
(8) Any member may appeal to the Association from the decision of the chair the question shall be stated as: “Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?” It shall be decided by a majority vote of the votes cast.
SECTION 11 – Impeachment
● Any elected officer and or member of the Association may be removed from office and or expelled from the Association as a member for any violation of the Bylaws provisions or personal conduct which through an impartial investigation, is determined as bringing or may bring discredit upon the American Police Canine Association.
● Impeachment charges may be initiated against an elected officer and or member by two (2) members in good standing with the association or the Grievance Committee itself.
● Impeachment charges against those alleged member(s) must be submitted in writing to the Grievance Committee Chairman.
● The Grievance Committee Chairman will provide the accused member(s) a written copy of the charges against him or her. Upon completion of a thorough investigation, the Grievance Committee believes there is sufficient evidence to warrant a hearing, a hearing date will be established.
● The accused member(s) will then be notified in writing by certified registered mail and not less than thirty (30) days prior to the date of the hearing.
● The accused member shall be given the right to present evidence in his or her behalf at the hearing. Upon the conclusion of the hearing, the Grievance Committee will determine if the accused member is innocent or guilty of the charges and present its recommendation to the Executive Board.
● In the event, the accused member is found guilty of the charge(s) against them, the Executive Board will decide disciplinary action to be taken, which may include, temporary suspension of privileges, expulsion or any other appropriate action.
● An impeached Association officer and or member shall never hold any future office in this Association.
● Members found by the Executive Board to have initiated baseless charges against another member(s), with other underlying and or vindictive motives in doing so, may have appropriate disciplinary action initiated against them by the Executive Board.
● No disciplinary action shall be taken against an accused member and/or the complainant member unless having been afforded the opportunity of a hearing before the Grievance Committee, with the right of appeal to the Executive Board. (Amended, 09/26/2016)
● All members are presumed innocent of misconduct unless otherwise found guilty by presented and supported evidence which is irrefutable and convincing.
● In the event, a grievance pertaining to a Master Trainer and/or Trainer is filed for violations of the A.P.C.A. certification standards, due to inappropriate performance of their accreditation duties for the APCA, the Accreditation Committee, through majority decision, three (3) of five (5) votes, will be responsible for recommending any disciplinary action against the accused Trainer and/or Master Trainer. (09/26/2016)
- In that event the Grievance Chairman will forward the grievance complaint to the Accreditation Committee Chairman, at which time the Accreditation Committee shall convene, within 30 days, to address the grievance and upon gathering all findings surrounding the complaint shall issue their decision. (09/26/2016)