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Meeting Law Enforcement Educators & Trainers at ILEETA 2018

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To stay up to date with the leading training trends, you have to go where the experts are. For law enforcement, one of those places is the International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference & Expo in St. Louis. Over 800 attendees stay for a full week of learning, networking and exhibiting to listen as trainers from around the country share their insights. We got to talk with many of our friends, all who said that this conference is the single most important one of the year for them.

Training Topics, Old and New

ILEETA offers sessions across many different topics. One attendee told us his favorite session was about how the brain responds to stress. A few of the speakers focused on field training – right up our alley. While some sessions approached training at the 101 level, others dug deeper into the challenges that more seasoned trainers tend to experience.

One such session, The Transformational Trainer in Law Enforcement Training, reminded trainers to look beyond their subject matter expertise and dive into the actual science of learning. There are many common myths of adult learning, and speaker John Bostain exposed some of them. Like us, he says no “death by PowerPoint” presentations!

FTO Supervisor and Trainer Dan Green spoke on another topic near and dear to us – culture. Sgt. Green encourages others to be on the leading edge of culture changes as a field trainer. He talked about the new tactics, technology and techniques that are introduced to the law enforcement community daily. As law enforcement instructors, the responsibility to teach and train peers falls on the FTO’s shoulders, so it  is important to be on the leading edge of instruction. Dan spoke about adult learning philosophies, positive learning environments, 21st century expectations and the benefits of a defensible FTO program.

Agency360’s own Rachael Ibbetson was lucky enough to attend Sgt. Green’s session. Here are a few of her personal takeaways:

  • Law enforcement officers did not get into this career to be a teacher. Therefore, we have to teach them how to be teachers.
  • You can not teach with dictatorship.
  • Millennials expect more, but you can get more from them if you cater to their learning styles.
  • It’s important to stay unbiased from one trainee to the next.
  • Repetition is key. Expose them to the same thing in different ways multiple times.

We are also big fans of
Thom Dworak’s “Adaptive Decision-Making” workshops. He presented a research-based course to teach FTO’s how to become adaptive, agile decisions makers. Attendees heard about a decision-making model that is flexible, universal and legally sound. Thom also introduced a feedback method that is “millennial proof” and nurtures the probationary officers’ critical thinking skills.

One other session relevant to the FTO titled “Leadership and the FTO Unit” was led by Cmdr. Paul Hasselberger. Many administrators understand the importance of training new officers using a standardized training program. While this goal is certainly important, staffing the training unit with high quality trainers is universally critical. Paul’s discussion was unique in exploring the role leadership skills play in developing the talents of the training officers, and the benefits the development of these leadership skills has to the department, training unit and trainee.

A few other random takeaways from the Agency360 team:

  • We learned a ton from the ILEETA speakers and from talking to attendees in our booth. One common theme is that managing field training isn’t easy without a software that’s customizable.
  • We saw several Agency360 customers and got to catch up, which is always great.
  • Attendees were able to meet ILEETA authors and get an autographed copy of their books. Participating authors provide a donation to the ILEETA Scholarship Fund – very nice!
  • We loved the Union Station and the overall vibe of St. Louis – and will definitely be back.
  • Bonus: we also learned about policetraining.net which provides a listing of law enforcement classes and seminars. Check it out!

If you missed ILEETA 2018, don’t let it happen again. Hope to see you there next year!