Anatomy of a convention

     Law enforcement conventions often are gatherings sponsored or convened by private businesses to benefit enforcement professionals. If they are successful, everyone leaves with something. If poorly planned, they look like an infomercial...


     Law enforcement conventions often are gatherings sponsored or convened by private businesses to benefit enforcement professionals. If they are successful, everyone leaves with something. If poorly planned, they look like an infomercial.

     In the past few years, conferences, seminars and trade shows for law enforcement had been enhanced by the inclusion of seminars and recertification. For example, at the Cygnus Law Enforcement Group's Enforcement Expo 2007 in Cleveland, Ohio, continuing education courses approved by the Ohio State Attorney General were available for attendees. Peace officers in Ohio could fulfill their continuing education units requirement while attending the regional show.

     Law Enforcement Technology had the opportunity to attend the 2007 TASER conference in Chicago, Illinois, which is designed for active law enforcement and military. This convention contained the correct amount of emphasis on training.

     The highlight of the convention was the product launch of the XREP (eXtended Range Electronic Projectile), TASER International's newest product, designed to be launched from a 12-gauge shotgun. This announcement was reserved for CEO and co-founder Rick Smith.

     Smith also announced the strategic alliance of iRobot, the TASER Shockwave and C2. The iRobot alliance will extend the tactical capabilities and officer safety by integrating an electronic control device (ECD) with a mobility platform. The Shockwave is an area denial device that utilizes an array of six TASER cartridges designed to fire simultaneously. The C2 Personal Protector is a TASER device appropriate for the civilian market.

     After announcing the iRobot alliance, attendees were given the opportunity to individually share their input on the best applications of the equipment.

     Apart from the XREP launch, the conference accomplished four important functions: training and recertification, information sharing, product feedback, and most importantly, networking.

     Smith, also functioning as keynote speaker, set the tone of the conference's mission: make law enforcement, military and security better, safer and more efficient. The vehicle for this mission is not equipment, but training. TASER's reputation for thorough training, data collection and end-user support has benefited law enforcement in 44 countries.

Training and recertification
     Forensic expert Dr. James Cairns provided attendees with a technical seminar on excited delirium, peppered with bold humor.

     Excited Delirium Syndrome (EDS) is a term usually associated with in-custody deaths following a prolonged or intense struggle. Cairns provided the audience with a comprehensive description of recognizing the danger signs of excited delirium and drove home the seriousness of the condition. He explained several unassociated conditions that may be contributing factors to EDS, including defining the group with the highest risk.

     Cairns' experience with excited delirium could be considered extensive after decades of investigations. He reinforced some of the published information about ECD use and EDS. For example, he stated that the ECD pulse waveform is similar to waveforms used for cardiovascular treatment.

     The Master Instructor Certification class, a certificate good for two years, followed the initial part of the TASER conference. It emphasized participatory training, guidelines for creating use-of-force policy, risk management and instructional techniques. The session went 5 days and required students to have a comprehensive understanding of behavior, dynamics and mechanics relevant to ECD deployment.

Information sharing
     Police efforts are commonly hampered by inaccurate media reports. Steve Tuttle, vice president of communications for TASER, demonstrated some of the media debunking strategies that keeps professionalism in the profession.

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