I walked into the Long Beach Convention Center around lunchtime and the atmosphere was inspiring! Trainers, vendors, and attendees from all over the world were everywhere. They were setting up, shaking hands, remembering old friends, and quickly making new ones. There were clusters of students gathered around trainers who were patently answering question after question. Groups of trainers and manufacturers were talking about the latest in firearms, technology, and tactics.
This is TREXPO West 2009, and it’s BIG. I could hear grunts and slaps from the mat room as PoliceOne members Dave Young and Roy Bedard taught “Ground Defense Survival.” Some of their students were already sweating from the Krav Magna class that had been held in the morning, but they had come back for more time on the mats as part of the “Close Quarter Defensive Tactics” track.
This year’s conference also boasts also boasts a “Terrorism” track. Retired CIA Agent Ed Lovette, along with Richard Valdemar, retired from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, and James Stalnaker, currently serving with the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department, instructed a well-received course titled “A First Responder's Guide to Terrorist Detection and Prevention.”
I got the chance to chat with Jim Stalnaker for a few minutes and hope to interview him for PoliceOneTV. The “Tactical Operations” track included presentations on Tactical Team Leadership with R.K. Miller, retired from the Huntington Beach PD, and “Active Shooter Responses” taught by Don Alwes of the National Tactical Officer’s Association and four hours of intense training on “The Killing of SWAT & SWAT Teams” with retired LAPD Sergeant Ron McCarthy, whom Dave Smith calls “the godfather of SWAT.” I’m looking forward to talking with Sgt. McCarthy later in the conference.
The “Officer Survival” track offered courses on operating in low light and applying night vision technology, and featured “Edged Weapons: Surviving the Deadly Attack” with Ernie Emerson from Emerson Knives, always one of my favorites. Some of the courses that most intrigue me are the offerings on the “Tactical Medicine” track.
The International School of Tactical Medicine whose slogan is “The Best Medicine in the Worst Places,” is a cadre of dedicated physicians and police professionals who passionately believe that training officers to help themselves and each other in the field when an injury occurs is one of the best ways to save law enforcement lives. These were the guys I decided to talk to first, and I could hardly wait to get started...and it’s only day one!