ILEETA 2012: Still the One!


In the unlikely event you are unfamiliar with the acronym ILEETA, it stands for International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association. It’s also a term used synonymously as the moniker for their annual international training conference. Held in Wheeling (Ill.), which is just outside of Chicago, this year’s event ran from April 16-21, with some preliminary competitive events starting on April 15.

The ILEETA conference isn’t suited or designed for casual instructor wannabes. It’s for training professionals who want to optimize their personal and instructional skills. Formal classes run 12 hours a day some days, and the informal training seems to never stop. With more than 150 classes offered and 24+ being instructor or armorer certification schools, this year’s choices were overwhelming. 

From year to year, the attendance of ILEETA generally varies somewhere between 700 to 850 law enforcement instructors.  Representing all 50 states and usually seven to 10 countries, the diversity of attendees covers all aspects and disciplines of the law enforcement profession. In the unlikely event that there’s not a formal class being taught on something you would like to learn, chances are good that there’s an informal discussion on it being held after hours in the lobby, or in an empty, commandeered classroom.

I’d like to take the time to briefly discuss some of the classes that I attended at ILEETA, at least in part, as I bounced from classroom to classroom trying to take in more than was humanly possible. I’m sure I’ll probably forget someone in this article that I should mention, so let me apologize in advance to anyone I inadvertently leave out. I also need to point out that just because I don’t mention a particular instructor or class, doesn’t reflect negatively upon them. With numerous classes running simultaneously, I have no doubt that there are top-tier classes offered that I haven’t attended or even met their instructors. However, should you attend next year’s conference as a newbie, I can wholeheartedly recommend those in this article.

Basic Survival Instincts
Lt. Jim Glennon (ret.) is a tactically sound, highly entertaining trainer that won’t be soon forgotten. His book, Arresting Communication, remains at the top of my recommended reading list for all officers. This year Jim presented a condensed, four-hour version of his highly acclaimed Basic Survival Instincts seminar. As one of my two-hour presentations ran simultaneously, I was unable to stay for much of his class. However, what I did see was typical of Jim. Technical perfection presented in a highly entertaining fashion that had the class riveted to his every word. It’s my understanding that Jim now offers this class as a daylong program on the road. You can get his book and learn more about his traveling classes at 

The Legacy of Lakewood
Lt. Brian McKenna (ret.) is a popular author in law-enforcement training circles, and arguably, the most dedicated researcher into the details of critical incidents that ever existed. Brian is probably best known for his Officer Down columns featured in Law Officer Magazine and on Brian also wrote for the now defunct Police Marksman Magazine from 1985-2007. Brian’s class was entitled The Legacy of Lakewood: Will We Rise to the Challenge? Brian methodically presented the events that unfolded (as best that is known) on Nov. 29, 2009, that resulted in the unprovoked, cold-blooded murders of Sgt. Mark Renniger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold and Officer Greg Richards. Brian respectfully discussed his opinions, and opened the floor for suggestions, on what we can do to prevent a similar tragedy from ever occurring again. I admire Brian highly, as he rejects the opinion that this was an unavoidable tragedy, and he absolutely refuses to let any officer die in vain. If there’s a lesson to be learned from any critical incident, Brian will search until he finds it. Visit his website at

The Path of the Warrior Mentor
Kevin Davis presented The Path of the Warrior Mentor. A well-known trainer and author, he did an in-depth look at how instructors must not only be teachers, but mentors and role models as well. The core element of Kevin’s presentation is a lesson that should be followed by not only police trainers, but by administrators as well. Kevin emphasized and explained that to be truly effective as an instructor, you must lead by example. The “do as I say and not as I do” method of teaching is never effectual. 

Secrets of Survival Thinking
Lt. Dave Grossi (ret.) presented The Winning Mind: Secrets of Survival Thinking. For me, this was probably the emotional highlight of the entire conference, and for two reasons. One, Dave’s presentations of Chuck Remsberg and Dennis Anderson’s collaborative work, while he was the lead instructor for the original Street Survival Seminar remains as a leading influence on my personal presentations. To this day if I have a question as to whether the quality of one of my slides is good enough, I always ask myself, “What would Chuck and Denny have done?” Secondly, I had the privilege of sitting through Dave’s presentation with the co-founder of the original Calibre Press, Chuck Remsberg. This stirred up many great memories and created another that I will treasure.

Other outstanding presentations that I caught at least part of:

  • Stephen Cliffe’s Designing Principle Driven Training – TAC2: Tactical Articulation Control Combatives.
  • Bob “Coach” Lindsey’s  Always the Warrior at Every Age.
  • Jeff Chudwin’s Police Use of Force/Training- Preparation.
  • John Bostain’s When The Smoke Clears: Preparing Officers, for the Aftermath of a Shooting. 
  • Joe Ferrera’s Understanding Reaction Time, Movement Time, and Response Time in L/E Training.
  • Jeffery Hall’s Finish the Fight!
  • Lou Ann Hamblin and Kathy Vonk’s Enhancing Motor Skill Learning.
  • Gary Klugewicz’s Verbal Defense & Influence: Expanding Dr. Thompson’s Legacy.

Below 100
Arguably the most important instructor class there was Below 100: Train the Trainer, presented by Travis Yates, Brian Willis, Jeff Chudwin and Law Officer Editor-in-Chief Dale Stockton. For the record, as I write this, law officer line-of-duty deaths are down 51% from last year. I believe the Below 100 initiative is helping keep this number low.

In Sum
I’d like to close this article with a big thank you. Not to the presenters or attendees, but to the ILEETA support staff.  Some are civilian volunteers, some are active law enforcement and others are retired officers. Nevertheless, all give up countless hours of their time to sustain the conference.

The magnitude of the logistics involved in the planning, and administrating ILEETA is beyond comprehension. The presenters get the most accolades for their work.  However, without the support staff, the ILEETA conference would not take place.  For any of the ILEETA support staff that may read this, please accept my deep and sincere gratitude for making one of the most important events in the world an annual success. The lives you indirectly affect in a positive fashion are countless.

See you next year!



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