Street Survival Seminar: Primer for a 'first timer'


In my role as Editor of PoliceOne, I first attended the Street Survival Seminar in Anaheim, Calif. back in September 2008.

In fact, day one of the seminar fell on September 11th and I’ll never forget how the Instructors altered the traditional start somewhat to remember the officers who died in the terror attacks of 9/11, as well as the officers from that area who had recently been killed in the line of duty.

The room, filled wall-to-wall with some 300 officers representing a half dozen local police agencies, was silent but for a few closely held sniffles. As a native New Yorker and lifelong patriot, I openly wept. This was just the beginning of two long days of learning, thinking, and feeling on an unprecedented scale.

I can say without equivocation that the impact of the seminar is at once immediate and indelible, and yet the experience is entertaining and enjoyable. The program is a rollercoaster ride of emotions. Make no mistake, you watch good men die in the worst possible ways, and it is difficult and it is painful.

It is also worth it.

All the Street Survival Instructors have their own styles of speech, and each hold his or her audience in rapt attention when they deliver their life-saving messages.

Some of the instructors are almost theatrical at times, relieving the tension in the room with occasional one-liners, jokes, and a few well-placed insults (most of those hurled at the rookies). Still, each instructor finds subtle and not so subtle ways — “We curse a lot,” one instructor once told me — to infuse his time with more life lessons than you can possibly absorb in one sitting.

Measured in kilotons is the sheer force of Dave Smith’s retelling of the story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss, a conscientious objector and a medic who was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. Any person who claims they can listen to Smith’s talk on Doss and not be inspired to tears is made of stone — and not in a good way.

I’m signed up to attend the Seminar again this Spring, and if I could do it more frequently than that I would. I humbly submit to anyone willing to listen:

“You will not regret your attendance at the Street Survival Seminar.”

— PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor at Large for PoliceOne, responsible for providing police training content and expert analysis on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips. Doug is also responsible for planning and recording the PoliceOne Podcast, Policing Matters, as well as being the on-air host for PoliceOne Video interviews. Doug also works closely with the PoliceOne Academy to develop training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Doug regularly represents PoliceOne as a public speaker in a variety of forums and is available for media interviews — he has appeared on numerous local and national radio and television news programs, and has been quoted in a host of print publications. 

Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).

Contact Doug Wyllie

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