Safariland kicks off first west coast LEO training conference (VIDEO)

Safariland Training Group has finally set its sights on the West Coast. The 51-year-old weapons training and manufacturing company kicked off its 37th conference on Tuesday at the Regional Public Training Center and the Silver Legacy Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada.

More than 200 law enforcement personnel — some as far away as Trinidad and Switzerland — attended the conference that featured a series of lethal and non-lethal Special Weapons and Tactics classes for ballistic shields, batons, pistols, rifles and breaching tools. Many of the attendees — representing various police and sheriff’s departments as well as the United Nations — were themselves experts looking to bring back to their agencies the knowledge gained from Safariland’s master trainers.

“When you talk about training the trainers … an instructor is only as good as the instructor that trains them,” said Chuck Martin, former Atlanta police chief and senior technical specialist for Safariland’s Monadnock line of batons. “I think often times in law enforcement we lose sight of the fact that that trainer is the one. There’s a tremendous amount of influence that the trainer has on his students. Whether it’s the end user at the patrol level, whether its a senior instructor training a first-time instructor or whether it’s a master instructor training his downline cadre.”

The first day of the conference started with classroom lecture and warmup. Martin and other baton instructors led several groups in warmup exercises before proceeding to let the trainees “beat on each other,” Martin said.

Another session, led by SWAT pioneer Ron McCarthy, was a lecture focusing on critical incident management. McCarthy stressed that individual thought, regardless of the chain of command, is important to an agency’s survival.

“Remember, you don’t go around the chain of command,” McCarthy said. “You know who came up with that? A bad leader. … I was the chief of tactical operations for the United States Department of Energy and I said to the people that worked with me, ‘If you go around me, it’s my fault, so go ahead.'”

It’s about ensuring the people in power don’t abuse that power to keep an agency honest, McCarthy said.

Other training courses running through Friday included tactical shield, PR24, covert searching, high risk prisoner transport, combat pistol and counter ambush tactics. Visit the Safariland website for a full list of courses and future conference dates.