Check your work ethic and your integrity. I was offered my first job as a trainer back in the 1980’s after I had attended a class for women officers and made some suggestions on how the course might be improved. I had the “public speaking” part down, but coming up with a full day of original material was harder than I had ever imagined. One of my inspirations at the time was author, trainer and retired prosecutor Val Van Brocklin. More than twenty five years later, Val is still mentoring and inspiring me. She continues to create new material, research new topics, and her delivery style is unmatched. Find trainers whose topic and style you appreciate and attend their classes, read their articles, and quote them in your own training, but always give credit where credit is due. Make sure your material is your own or you are using someone else’s with permission.
A few more things to ponder. Your training career will probably ebb and flow with your police career and with your life. I had to cut back on outside training when my daughter was an infant. Traveling and training while working full time can be exhausting, but don’t wait until you’re about to retire to get out there. Establish yourself by writing articles, attending (and getting involved in) conferences and events, and plan on doing a lot of it for free. Make sure that you’re a role model for whatever you teach and don’t view yourself as a “woman trainer,” see yourself as a “trainer,” a professional who has something to offer. Law enforcement needs fresh, young talent, male and female, willing to devote their time and their efforts to making law enforcement a better, safer, stronger profession. I hope to see you out there soon!
About The Author:
Sgt. Betsy Brantner Smith is a 29-year veteran of a large suburban Chicago police department. Recently retired as a patrol supervisor, she has held positions in patrol, investigations, narcotics, juvenile, crime prevention and field training. As a sergeant, she supervised her department's K-9 Unit, served as a field training sergeant, recruitment team sergeant, bike patrol coordinator, the Crowd Control Bike Team supervisor, and supervisor of the Community Education/Crime Prevention Unit.
As a patrol sergeant, Betsy served on the Elderly Services Team, the Crisis Intervention Team, and was a supervisory member of the Honor Guard Unit. From 1999 - 2003 Betsy hosted various programs for the Law Enforcement Television Network and served as a content expert.
A graduate of the Northwestern University Center for Public Safety's School of Staff and Command, Betsy writes for numerous law enforcement and government publications including and is a regular columnist for many police websites including Police Link. A content expert and instructor for the Calibre Press "Street Survival" seminar since 2003, Betsy also serves as an on-air commentator and advisor for Police One TV and was a featured character in the Biography Channel’s “Female Forces” reality show. Betsy has been a law enforcement trainer for over 20 years and is a popular keynote speaker at conferences throughout the United States and Canada and beyond.
Betsy is the lead instructor for the Calibre Press “Street Survival for Women” seminar and manages Dave Smith & Associates. Together, Betsy and Dave teach courses through “Winning Mind Seminars,” an Illinois based company. She can be reached through her website at www.femaleforces.com.