The goal is not mere survival, says Dave Spaulding. “We need to train our guys on the street to prevail.”
Attendees of Spaulding’s “Handgun Combatives” class nodded in agreement at the 2010 International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference. The lithe Spaulding, in his typical, intense fashion, paced before his audience and challenged them.
“If you look like prey,” he says, looking attendees in the eye, “you will be preyed upon. … You need to keep focus.”
For his focus on the training of officers and trainers in the art and science of armed combat, Spaulding was recipient of the 2010 Law Officer -ILEETA Trainer of the Year award.
“He was a natural,” said Ed Nowicki, ILEETA executive director emeritus. “After all he’s done, so freely, it’s what ILEETA is about.”
“This award was certainly one of the best surprises I have ever had,” says Spaulding. “As I walked around the conference and looked at all the skill and knowledge located in one place I was certainly humbled.
“Being a trainer is one of the most important positions one could have, as it’s the trainer that keeps the street cop alive and out of legal trouble. I’m so proud to be associated with this exceptional breed of man and woman.”
Law Officer Editor-in-chief Dale Stockton announced the award during the keynote ceremonies before a packed auditorium.
“What is recognized is repeated,” Stockton told the audience, and this is the reason for the Trainer of the Year Award.
“The truth is,” explains Stockton, “there was very little discussion this year. We had great applicants—all of them really phenomenal trainers. But Dave’s rapport was so solid with all of us, we just had to recognize that. He’s done so much to keep officers safe, for so long. It’s his passion. He’s the real deal.”
Spaulding is a firearms trainer and a 28-year law enforcement veteran who retired at the rank of lieutenant. He’s worked in all facets of law enforcement—corrections, communications, patrol, evidence collection, investigations, undercover operations, training and SWAT—and currently works for a federal security contractor. Spaulding is a Law Officer columnist and is also the author of the best-selling books Defensive Living and Handgun Combatives.
Law Officer and ILEETA select the winner after a careful review of applications to determine who has contributed most significantly to law enforcement training. Past recipients of the award, which Stockton affectionately calls “The Nowicki,” include Ed Nowicki (2007), Travis Yates (2008) and Jeff Chudwin (2009).
ILEETA Executive Director Harvey Heddon summed up his perspective: “Pay it forward. The guys you’re training now will in turn protect you and your families.”
For this, we owe Dave Spaulding congratulations.