Mix a sixteen story hotel, filled to the brim with a diverse group of 700+ law enforcement trainers from all fifty states and three continents. Combine that with six days of uninterrupted training time. Add many trainers recognized as the “Who’s Who of Law Enforcement Training“ as teaching participants; and you get the best training event in existence.
For the week of April 20 through 26th, these elements combined in Wheeling, (Chicago) IL for the 12th annual Conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA). Which, as to be expected, continues to be the ultimate training event for law enforcement instructors from around the world. The opportunity presented for instructors to compare, contrast, and upgrade their skills and knowledge base has no equal. Scheduled classes run up to twelve hours a day some days, and the impromptu, lobby and hallway training dialogue continues perpetually. 150+ classes were presented: including live fire, hands-on, and lecture formats. Roughly two dozen were instructor or armorer certification schools, giving the attendees virtually limitless learning opportunities.
If there’s something you want to learn in the field of law enforcement training, chances are better than not, there’s either a class scheduled or someone in attendance that can teach you what you want to learn informally. ILEETA attracts the upper echelon of highly motivated, dedicated, professional police trainers. Egos are checked at the door, and everyone is there to assist each other in becoming the optimum trainer they are capable of achieving.
Numerous “trainers” do not attend ILEETA because their department will not send them. This is not a legitimate excuse for those that are really trainers. If that includes you, there’s two points to ponder on this subject. One, other people’s lives depend upon what you do as a trainer. How do you know if what you are teaching is the best way; if you don’t compare it to what is being taught by others across not only America, but the world? If you are a professional trainer, you should hold yourself responsible to attend ILEETA.
Two, the sad truth is, some the most competent, influential, and best-known international level trainers aren’t even acknowledged as trainers by their own agencies, let alone sent to ILEETA. Yet, these dedicated individuals are there every year paying their way while using vacation time. If you are truly dedicated to training, you’ll be there.
With the “baby boomer” generation of trainers rapidly retiring this decade, this year’s conference had approximately 300 first time attendees. Several that I talked to were there on their own dime and own time. Thank you for your dedication and welcome, as you will soon be bearing the brunt of the training torch’s weight.
Trainer Larry Smith was honored at the opening ceremony with a plaque in recognition of his fifty years of dedicated service as a police trainer. He’s also an accomplished martial artist and old-school motorcycle officer from San Diego, where Larry retired at the rank of Lieutenant. Larry is an icon, not only at ILEETA, but in the collective of the police-training world. Thank you Larry, you have made the world a better place and it is an honor to call you my friend.
In the last two ILEETA summary articles I’ve done, I’ve mentioned that the founder and Executive Director Emeritus of ILEETA, Ed Nowicki, was in poor health. I’m elated to report that Ed has made a miraculous recovery, attended this year’s conference, and raised everyone’s spirits in a way that only Ed is capable of. Ed is now running the Facebook page Police Supporter. Please go to it and show your support by liking the page.
I’ve expressed this in previous articles and this one, but it bears repeating. If you are a trainer in any facet of law enforcement training; you need to make attending ILEETA a top priority. There’s nothing else like it in existence, and nothing that gives you more opportunity to learn skills that you never knew existed. Keep an eye on ILEETA.org for the official announcement of the 2016 conference dates. Let the countdown begin.