As usual, I was in attendance at the annual International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference just outside Chicago in April. I have belonged to ILEETA since its beginnings, and having only missed one annual conferences, consider it a “must see” each year.
Despite budget cuts, this year was the second-most-highly attended, with around 800 participants. As always, the conference brought top notch trainers and training together for an exchange of ideas, tactics and philosophies. The week was full days, and sometimes, nights of training.
There was time for some socializing, and on Tuesday evening PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie brought together about a dozen and a half Columnists and Contributors for what has become his annual ‘Thank You’ dinner.
It is always a memorable evening, but how could sitting across from Dave and Betsy Smith for dinner be anything else!
Here are a few other memorable moments from the week.
Always the Warrior at Every Age by Bob “Coach” Lindsey
When Coach speaks, people listen. Being on the plus side of 50, this is a topic near and dear to my aging heart. Coach, as always, filled the room for both his presentations. With a career that started in the 1960s he is a warrior, scholar, philosopher, trainer, and humanist who approached the subject from all those perspectives.
To summarize his presentation, as you age you remain a warrior. How you go about that will require you to adapt and change as you go through the years, continuing to exercise your mind and your body as your path through life lengthens. It requires that you prepare for the eventualities of a long life by being honest about the ultimate outcome.
Prepare your legacy, how you want to be remembered, by mentoring those around you to carry on in your absence.
Live a warrior’s life, leave a warrior’s legacy.
The Legacy of Lakewood: Will We Rise to the Challenge by Brian McKenna
Brian documented the murder of the four Lakewood Police Officers Richards, Griswold, Renninger and Owens in a presentation that included a schematic of the scene inside the coffeehouse showing the movements of those involved. He raised a number of questions that each of us needs to ask regarding our training and preparation for such an incident. Do we need to assign an officer as an over watch when we gather in public places? Do we train for in close ambushes? Do we train to fight from a seated position in tight confines?
He then chronicled the shooting of the cop killer by Seattle Officer Ben Kelly. He cited Kelly’s preparation and awareness as keys to his survival that night.
This presentation, one of Brian’s many Officer Down articles that he has written over the years, provided in depth analysis of officer involved shootings. Brian’s dedication to dissect these situations for the benefit of all law enforcement officers is greatly appreciated which was evidenced by the large number of trainers who attended the presentation.
Emotional Warrior Training: Combating Stress by Lisa Wimberger
Stress is and always will be a part of law enforcement. How we choose to deal with it can directly effect each of us on a personal and professional level. The effects on us physically, mentally and emotionally cannot be under estimated. As we have progressed through the years in law enforcement stress and its effects have gone from being totally ignored to now starting to be addressed in the academy and the workplace. With that in mind I attended the class.
The highlight of the class for me was being lead by Wimberger through a mental exercise to reduce stress by identifying a specific stressor, mentally removing it and replacing it with a positive suggestion. Wimberger explained that you can “re-wire” the brain through neuroplasticity exercises like this to improve your mental health and reduce stress and what cop doesn’t need a little (or a lot) of that.
Officer Road Kill on the Information Highway by Val Van Brocklin
The pages (or screen) of PoliceOne have already addressed the subject by Van Brocklin. Reading it is one thing, but seeing Val in all her glory is entirely different experience altogether.
I know when I go to see her I will laugh harder and end up thinking more about her subject than any other presenter.
Here are a couple of tips:
1.) What you have on your social networking sites is not private. It is discoverable evidence. In a recent shooting all 57 officers who responded to the scene had their Facebook account information requested by the family of the suspect.
2.) The personal cell phone you carry in your pocket on duty-discoverable evidence also.
3.) Anonymous postings to websites like PoliceOne may allow you to use a username that “protects” your identity. However, those comments can come back to haunt you if that username is identified during a search of your www. footprint.
4.) As we all know from reading some of the comments posted by some “anonymous” officers those comments are not always professional or ethical. Val said of all of the outrages comments she had read, only three times had she seen other officers take that party to task for the unprofessional/unethical tirades.
Enhancing Motor Skill Learning by Lou Ann Hamblin and Kathleen Vonk
Lou Ann and Kathy are LouKa Tactical. They are considered by more than a few people to be the “cutting edge” of law enforcement training. Their blending of knowledge from research and training methodologies from the sports world provide a scientifically researched foundation for improvements in law enforcement training. Their studies on heart rate and performance under stress are a must read for any trainer.
The class included a number of drills for improving motor skills involving teeter boards, strobe lights, memory drills and competition. Neither is a stranger to P1 members. Just go up to search, type in their names and a wealth of useful information regarding police training is there.
This is by no means the extent of the training I attended during the week, just a slice. I always leave ILEETA with a head full of facts, ideas and questions, recharged and ready to continue the task of trying to make myself, my students and my readers better at what they do.
Another high point of the conference was being present to see my friend, John Bostain receive the Trainer of the Year Award from Law Officer Editor Dale Stockton. John was cited for his efforts as a trainer, among them training more than 2,000 officers in the Below 100 Initiative and he richly deserves the award. John let me know that the ideas that I wrote about in the P1 article, “Permission and Promises” have been added to the Below 100 training.
It starts with good training, continues with each of us mentoring one another on staying safe and ultimately ends with the choices you make each day to stay safe.
Train hard — for the day will come.