State of the Art: The 2016 ILEETA Conference

March 31, 2016
Rosemont, Illinois was the site of the 2016 Conference of the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers annual conference. Filled with information and good instructors.

The art of policing that is.  Unlike other conferences which are long on social festivities and short on content, the ILEETA – International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association annual conference leaves you tired and brain drained – for all the right reasons.

Approximately 850 of the world’s top police trainers converged on Rosemont, Illinois for the conference which just concluded on Friday, 18 March having started on the previous Sunday this year.  The courses available leaves one in a quandary, how to make the decision on which excellent program to attend?

I attended classes throughout the week up until my departure time of 10 a.m. on Friday here’s a recap of what I experienced.

Brian Willis – retired Canadian lawman and instructor par excellence of Winning Mind Training and Excellence Training Academy presented, “What’s With All the Questions” a thought provoking course which fleshed out John Maxwell’s quote, “You only get answers to the questions you ask.”  Issues such as connecting with people, learning from others, building better ideas and challenging your own mind sets were questioned.  Brian presented John Maxwell’s questions which he asks luncheon guests in his quest to learn and grow:

  1. What is the greatest lesson you have learned?
  2. What are you learning now?
  3. How has failure shaped your life?
  4. Who do you know that I should know?
  5. What have you read that I should read?
  6. What have you done that I should do?
  7. How can I add value to you?

As trainers Brian asked us such questions as: What gaps exist in my training?  Is this time well spent?  What are your strengths as a trainer?  What is one skill you need to develop to become a better trainer?  Amongst many others.  Brian leaves attendees with questions that they need to ask themselves to grow, improve and advance their mission of improving law enforcement training and how to improve the quality of their lives.  Everything from Brian Willis is rock solid and recommended!

Ron Martinelli, Phd – I was introduced to Ron by a mutual friend and trainer (and that is one of the very cool things about the ILEETA Conference, the ability to network before, during and after class hours).  I had read some of Ron’s work previously as well as seen him on Fox News talking about various police issues.  Dr. Martinelli focused on the Black Lives Matter movement and traced its ideology through the three female founders and connections with big time financial supporters pushing the leftist anti-police rhetoric.  BLM poses serious issues to law enforcement and has traction in the current White House and Department of Justice.  Ron Martinelli has written a new book on the subject which should soon be available from .  In addition, Martinelli has broken down several police shootings which have made the headlines.  Should make for good, but frustrating, reading.

Jeff Chudwin – Our friend retired chief of police and attorney, Jeff Chudwin asked several use of force experts, myself included, to open his presentation with our thoughts on the PERF – Police Executive Research Forum’s new 30 Principles recently foisted on law enforcement.  From Jeff’s perspective, as well as our own, many of the 30 principles are common sense and have been incorporated into policing for years.  Others, however, defy explanation and consideration.  Chudwin and his four guests opined that the sanctity of life espoused by PERF unnecessarily exposed officers to more risk by virtue of promoting the notion that the lives of homicidal suspects who create the violent circumstances which police are confronted hold some kind of sanctity.  Certainly police have always prioritized innocent citizen life above even their own, but the notion that a suspect threatening or attempting to commit homicide or armed felonious assault should be considered as sanctitude is ludicrous.  Sadly as someone pointed out, PERF has put “zero” research into their 30 Points and in that, they committed a tremendous blunder.  Much more was covered by Chudwin and as always, his courses are worth the price of admission.

Mark Fallon – Fallon, a retired N.C.I.S. investigator whose previous counter-terrorism experience runs very deep and who has interrogated terrorists, presented a course on “Weapons of Influence” which applied Robert Cialdini’s Science of Persuasion to law enforcement training.  Mark outlined and then fleshed out the six persuasion principles Cialdini identified:

  • Reciprocity
  • Scarcity
  • Authenticity
  • Commitment and Consistency
  • Liking
  • Consensus

Applying the science of marketing and advertising to police training was a fascinating topic and worthy of more advanced study and consideration.  Certainly if our officers “buy into” our training programs and believe they are a part of the training process versus static targets of training programs, they will pay more attention and ultimately learn better and more.  Mark is a frequent news commentator on terrorism topics and the author of a forthcoming book on his amazing career.  You can follow Fallon on Twitter @glynco or check out his site Club Fed, LLC

John Bostain – John and I go back a few years when he worked at the Federal Law Enforcement Training Center.  A previous winner of the ILEETA Trainer of the Year, John’s forte is use of force and he now is partners with other former FLETC trainers Phil Carlson, Rich Judy, and Paula Carlson in Command Presence a contract training company offering an array of LE training programs.  At this year’s conference Bostain presented “Shots Fired, Suspect Down: Now What?” which focused on post officer involved shooting incidents and the investigative process.  John and I are of the same mind that these important incidents should not be “winged” or completed ad hoc.  John is a wealth of information on all things use of force and I am happy to call him a friend and colleague as well as the stakeholders in Command Presence!  Check their website out for a list of courses available.

Rich Nance – suspect control contributor Rich Nance presented “Firearm Retention and Disarms” it was, according to a new conference attendee who went to many hands-on defensive tactics courses, the best physical control course.  Rich’s four hour program is based on his new book gunFight!  Rich is an excellent instructor who has a serious command of his subject matter.  Having a pistol is one thing, being able to retain and employ that firearm while in “bad breath distance” is something else.  Check out Rich’s book and programs.  As a working police officer he is focused on what works, not some “chop-socky” or “martial-artsy” techniques.  I’ve known Rich for years but this was the first opportunity I’ve had to train with him.  I was impressed, check out for more.

Brian Hill – Brian is an unassuming trainer from Colorado who really knows the motivation factors of police training.  In a week filled with serious topics and discussions, Brian’s course “Training & Presenting from the Heart” examined how you can reach your students through caring and authenticity.  It is certainly true that our officers don’t “care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  Brian is a great facilitator and knows how to involve his students.  For most of us in police training fatigue and burnout are factors.  Going to Brian’s class I walked out, right after teaching my own two hour block, recommitted to my training mission.  Brian and his company Mental Ammo are a source for up-to-date police info on Facebook.  If you’re into that form of social networking, make sure you give the Mental Ammo page a “like.”  Tell Brian I sent you…


For my own efforts I taught two iterations of “Under the Microscope” which examined (and refuted) many notions of police use of force currently being promulgated by plaintiff’s expert witnesses against officers, former cops and the media.  I talked about policy and procedure and how more restrictive policies can reduce clarity in street officer’s minds and create hesitation and trepidation.  If changes in law enforcement need to be made, they need to be based on the law and solid research not the “politics of force” so prevalent today!  Additionally, I had the opportunity to be on Mas Ayoob’s “Deadly Force Panel of Experts” with such luminaries as Dick Fairbairn, John Farnam, Dr. Alexis Artwohl, Chuck Soltys, John Bostain, Rich Nance, Don Alwes, Bert DuVernay, Manny Kapelsohn and more.  The PERF report and its focus on use of force, edged weapons and police tactics was given intense focus.

The ILEETA 2017 Conference will be held in St. Louis and, like this conference and all before it, have become a “must attend” event for those in the police training business.  Save your pennies, make the trip, invest in yourself – make it to ILEETA and experience the “state of the art” in police training.

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