I have just returned from the 10th annual International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference, an event which caters to nearly all the disciplines of law enforcement.
However, it's sadly the case that so many men and women in policing never have the opportunity to experience it.
It's impossible to report on everything that was done and said at the conference – but here's some great quotes that made an impression on me.
I have the most quotes from Dave Smith (a.k.a. ‘Buck Savage’) because he is supremely quotable. He reminds me of the lab experiment of a mad geneticist, who combined the DNA of Malloy (from Adam-12), Gandhi and sprinkled in a little bit of Groucho Marx.
Dave — ever the survival trainer — always finds a new way to present his timeless message: Be prepared for the worst on every call, because you never really know what you are going to get.
He observed, “No one ever gets the call, ‘go to 110 West Elm and shoot the occupant’.”
At one point he was talking about those moments in time when there is a need for leadership and no supervisors can be found rushing to the cluster to take command. During those moments, Dave said, “Let’s not stare up the steps, let’s step up the stairs.”
Ever the motivator, Dave encouraged all to create a new generation free of “leaders,” who provide reasons for people to accept personal failure. He said, “Don’t give people excuses, give them expectations.”
About the negativity of worrying, Dave said, “Worrying is the planning process for losing.”
He added training is a key component of winning and, to do that, he said, “Perfect practice makes perfect and more practice makes permanent.”
He left all with a great perspective on what a good life in law enforcement is all about, when he said, “It’s about God, family and a sense of mission.”
Here's the other best quotes I heard.
“If it is difficult for you in class, it will be impossible for you on the street. Keep it simple folks,” emphasizing that a perfect street-ready tactic is a simple tactic.
“Engage in intentional daily learning,” of every pro who wishes to stay a pro.
“When the master is no longer the student, he is no longer the master,” on the need for perpetual learning
“We fight for life and they fight for death. There is no equivalency,” on how police officers have a position of advantage over our 21st century adversaries, active shooters.
“How much ammo is too much? You can’t have too much ammunition unless you are on fire or trying to swim!”
“I’ll die for you, but I won’t lie for you" – advice for anyone who might be asked to compromise their integrity by another officer.
Coach Bob Lindsey
“We not only have a great message, we have great messengers,” on how law enforcement is inhabited by the kind of leaders and heroes that the world needs today.
Lt. Brian Murphy
I would like to close by sharing with you some of the words of Lt. Brian Murphy, who was shot 17 times after arriving at the scene of an active shooter at a Sikh Temple in Oak Creek Wisconsin just seven months ago. Murphy spoke with a powerfully moving rasp of a voice, the result of being hit in the throat by one of the rounds. Everyone present hung on this resilient hero’s every word.
“It’s what you chose to do. It’s what you’re made of,” on being a police officer.
“No one picks the time when bad shit happens; If you are in DAAT, or firearms, why half-ass it? There is a guy in a jail cell doing burpees preparing for the day he smashes you in the face!”
As Dave Smith said, “Pottery breaks, people die, and shit happens, but we have to keep going.”
Lt. Murphy seconded this message by closing his presentation with the motto of the indomitable.
“Never give up!”