Another benefit of interest is the VLEOA's first annual International Reserve Training Conference being held on February 19, through 21, 2010, at the South Florida Community College Safety Academy in Avon Park, Florida. From a straight line, the location is approximately 60 miles east of Tampa and 60 miles west of Vero Beach, just south of Space Coast, home to Cape Canaveral and the Space Shuttle program. The location offers those who are traveling from out of the area the opportunity to enjoy world class beaches and tourist attractions before or after the conference all within a few hours driving distance in what can only be described as some of the some of the finest tropical weather in the world that time of year. Planned courses of instruction for the conference include:
- Situational Use of Force
- Courtroom Demeanor and Testimony
- Practical Crime Scene Techniques
- Defensive Tactics and Ground Fighting
- and more...
While a number of states such as California have their own statewide non-profit reserve organizations which do a good job supporting their members, not all do or even offer one. For those who have no local or regional representation and feel left out or also want to be part of a national organization, the VLEOA might be a good organization to look at for the support, benefits and camaraderie they have to offer.
As we close out the year 2009, our nation has witnessed a horrific increase in the number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. According to preliminary statistics compiled by the NLEOMF, the number of officers killed in the line of duty by gunfire in 2009 increased 24 percent from 2008. In just two separate incidents alone, our nation lost eight police officers with the most recent tragedy occurring in Lakewood, Washington. While the loss of these officers is bad enough, we sometimes forget the total devastation these losses have on the families left behind and of course their fellow members of law enforcement who they so proudly called their brothers and sisters. Add to that the loss felt by those who knew these brave men and women from high school, college, neighbors, PTAs, church on Sunday, etc. and the devastation easily reaches into the thousands of people. While social scientist and mental health professionals conduct studies and ponder the reasons for the significant increase in violence against our brave heroes, the bottom line is, the streets of America are becoming more and more dangerous to patrol while enforcing the laws of our land.
Any thing that can be done to increase the number of officers, whether they are full time sworn or part time reserve and auxiliary officers is much needed. Considering the dire financial conditions that many of our cities and counties are facing, sadly the prospect of more full time officers is to far in the future to make an immediate impact on increasing officer safety. To that end, organizations such as the VLEOA whose mission is in part to advocate for and help increase the number of armed and sworn reserve and auxiliary officers is much needed. Perhaps one way we can help honor our fallen brothers and sisters of law enforcement is to help support organizations that strive to help protect those who are still with us, so they can continue to be with us, and live long, healthy and happy natural lives and enjoy the fruits of their labor long into retirement.
On a personal note, with this being my last article for the year 2009, I'd like to wish all members of law enforcement, full time, reserves, civilian volunteers, retired, etc. and of course all our brave men and women of the military along with their families a very Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a very safe and Happy New Year!