News from ILEETA: Police Trainer of the Year is Chief Jeff Chudwin

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Ed Nowicki: ILEETA
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Return to the News from ILEETA 2009 Special Section

My third day of ILEETA 2009 began with a moving opening ceremony complete with bagpipes, a multi-agency honor guard, and Commander Paul Ruffolo singing the national anthem. Ed Nowicki addressed the group and got a standing ovation. Several awards were announced, including the Police Trainer of the Year, Chief Jeff Chudwin of Olympia Fields, IL. Jeff is also the president of the Illinois Tactical Officers Association and an occasional PoliceOne contributor. Later in the day, Chief Chudwin spoke with P1TV’s Dave Smith about training philosophies, gaining resources in these tough iconic times, and taking personal responsibility for your own training and development.

ILEETA hosted an author’s “meet and greet,” which featured PoliceOne’s own Chuck Remsburg, author of the new book Blood Lessons. Chuck signed autographs and had his picture taken with many admiring crimefighters. I was privileged to interview one of my favorite authors, Dr. Ellen Kirschman, who wrote I Love a Cop, a book that helps police families deal with the pressures and rewards of law enforcement. Later I sat down with Police Fitness Trainer James Di Naso of the Police Kinesiology Company to talk about chronic physical conditions seen in younger and younger officers. James and I also discussed police fitness training and gender differences—a topic near and dear to both of us. Look for more on that in the future.

Sgt. Bill Cambell of the Gilbert, AZ Police Department talked with Dave Smith about realistic survival training for motor officers, who often don’t wear their full riding gear when they’re training on the range or on the mats. Sgt. Cambell is working hard to change this training philosophy, one agency at a time. Dave also spoke with professional speaker Stephen M. Gower about developing your leadership ability regardless of rank.

This was the last day of the vendor hall, so I also spent some time in there as well. The unique thing about ILEETA is that most of the vendors are also police trainers, and they give freely of their time and their knowledge.

The day will end with the World Cop Donut Eating Contest, hosted by J.D. “Buck” Savage, aka our own Dave Smith. This is an incredibly well-attended event that features police trainers (most of whom don’t usually go anywhere near doughnuts) competing to see who can eat the most blue-frosted doughnuts in a short amount of time.

The days at ILEETA are long, but every minute is filled with training, information, and fellowship. Three more days to go!

About the author

Sergeant Betsy Smith has more than 30 years of law enforcement experience, retiring as a patrol supervisor in a large Chicago suburb. A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command and a Street Survival seminar instructor for more than 9 years, Betsy is now a speaker, author and a primary PoliceOne Academy consultant. Visit Betsy's website at

Contact Betsy Smith and Follow Betsy on Twitter

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