Travis Yates Wins Instructor Of The Year at ILEETA

I just got back from the ILEETA (International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association) conference, and the level of commitment and service of the 800 trainers in attendance impressed me.

Most cops know staying sharp and maintaining an edge requires commitment and constant training. Unfortunately, some cops assume that after a few years of pushing a patrol car, they ve got the job down to a routine, and training is more of an inconvenience than an investment. That s why trainers roles remain vitally important to any agency and why we devote much of our magazine to providing training material.

As I went from classroom to classroom and visited with those in attendance at ILEETA, I was struck by how many people stayed long after the classes were over to ask questions. ILEETA really drives home how much commitment successful trainers must have. I ve never known anyone who got into the training role for the money. Most officers take on training as an additional duty and do it because they want to help other officers.

One of the things that continues to amaze me is the intensity of the training at ILEETA conferences and how many hours everyone invests. Classes begin at 0800 hrs and end at 2200 hrs for five days. In addition, many attendees come on their own dime and time, which is the ultimate commitment.

Example: A year ago, I met Eric Dickinson (one of our new contributors) and learned he drove five hours to attend ILEETA without support from his agency. This year, I met Sheriff s Officer 1st Class Sheridan Kuhn from New South Wales, Australia. Of the five years ILEETA has presented annual training events, this was Kuhn s fourth conference. And, although she d won a scholarship to attend one year, she attended the other three years at her own expense and on her own time 32 hours just to get to there!

ILEETA is also where we present our annual Trainer of the Year award. Last year, it went to Ed Nowicki, a man who has probably done more to professionalize and facilitate quality police training than anyone I know. It s only fitting that the honor is now known as the Nowicki Trainer of the Year award.

We received nearly 30 nominations for this prestigious award, and after a great deal of review, the honor went to Captain Travis Yates of the Tulsa (Okla.) Police Department. Yates was instrumental in bringing EVOC to ILEETA s membership and presented a class at this year’s conference. I had the honor of announcing Yates as the winner at the opening ceremonies, and as he walked up to the stage, he was honored by a sustained standing ovation. For more on his award, check out the story on p. 11.

So, here s a challenge: Think about an area of improvement or a new skill you d like to learn. Think about training in those areas as an investment in your future, and then engage, even if it means devoting a little of your own dime or time there will be a return on your investment.

Odds & Ends

Because this is our annual Buyer s Guide, you ll notice that some of the regular columnists are missing. Don t worry, they ll be back next month. Most of this issue s articles are geared toward helping you know what and how to buy because that s what a Buyer s Guide is all about.

And one last thing: If you haven t logged onto the new, you re definitely missing out. You ll find a lot of great material, access to Law Officer articles and 10 times more good stuff than we can put in the pages of the magazine.

Here s a tip: If you re a supervisor or trainer who s looking for good material to share at your next briefing, is probably your best resource. Tim Dees, editor of, knows how valuable information can be when it is delivered in quick, easy-to-understand segments. Dees has made an extra effort to ensure that the info on will fit the training needs of supervisors and trainers across the country who are looking to fill that five-minute training need that comes up at every roll call. Take a look, you won ‘ be disappointed.


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