Every POLICE-TREXPO trade show and conference is a little bit different than the last. This year's POLICE-TREXPO East 2011 was no exception. In the past the highlights of the show have usually been some cool item on the show floor or some riveting presentation by one of the keynote speakers. This year's show, held in Chantilly, Va., from Aug. 10 to Aug. 12, had those cool things and those powerful speakers, but both were eclipsed by the quality of the conference.
One of the reasons why this year's POLICE-TREXPO conference was so memorable was the quality of the instructors. The POLICE-TREXPO staff assembled some of the top educators and speakers in law enforcement to present a widely varied schedule of classes.
For the first time in POLICE-TREXPO's recent history classes were held offsite from the expo venue at the nearby Silver Eagle Group Training Facility. Although these classes at the range did not involve live fire, they still taught the attendees a great deal about firearms and firearms training.
Noted firearms instructor and "Top Shot" contestant Chris Cerino opened the range classes with "Building Shooters," a program designed to help officers learn to shoot more accurately under stress. Cerino started his class by asking the very important question, "Are we teaching officers how to shoot or how to qualify?" He elaborated that qualification is "a minimum display of proficiency."
Cerino emphasizes the fundamentals of shooting in his program. "There are no advanced techniques, only advanced applications of the basics," he says. "Shooters who have mastered the basics can apply them under stress."
He urged the attendees to be more than range officers and to be instructors instead. "We live and die by the decisions we make; the more training, the better decisions," Cerino said.
Also out at the range counter-terrorism expert and firearms instructor David Narkevicius presented a class on the use of the patrol tactical rifle. The class detailed the tactical advantages of patrol rifles and the need for them in police operations against terrorists and other heavily armed criminals. Narkevicius explained the selection of rifles, ammunition, and accessories.
After the conclusion of Narkevicius' and Cerino's classes, attendees were able to test some of the newest firearms and ammunition at the POLICE-TREXPO East Range Night.
International Cartridge Corp. demonstrated its latest frangible ammo for duty carry. Shots were fired into gelatin blocks and the ammo was clearly effective. Even more impressive was the company's frangible 12-gauge shotgun slug; it literally devastated the gel block.
California-based Royal Arms International followed with an impressive demonstration of its 12-gauge distraction device. The shotgun-launched flash-bang was stunning within the confines of the indoor range. Royal Arms makes 12-gauge standoff, breacher, EOD, and flash-bang rounds.
One of the more spectacular demonstrations at Range Night was staged by RUAG Ammotec USA. Company rep Ron Rogers fired multiple rounds of RUAG's Copper Matrix lead-free training ammo into a steel target at point-blank range. No debris splashed back on him from the rounds striking the target.
Chris Cerino completed the Range Night by demonstrating some of the shooting skills that helped him finish second on the first season of the History Channel's "Top Shot" competition. Cerino shot some rounds himself, but the main focus of his demo was showing how his techniques could help people in the audience shoot better.
Cerino, who is principle of Chris Cerino Training Group, showed how a few tweaks to a shooter's trigger technique or stance could yield instant results. Several members of the audience took him up on the opportunity to fine-tune their pistol skills.
Back at the show site, attendees could choose from a wide variety of courses in tracks such as Executive Protection, Officer Safety and Patrol Tactics, Tactical Medicine, and Defensive Tactics.
PoliceMag.com gang expert and retired Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department sergeant Richard Valdemar presented "Gangs & Domestic Terrorism." Valdemar explained how gangs and terrorists could usher in a wave of catastrophic attacks on the United States. Some of the major concerns, according to Valdemar, are the links between Muslim terrorist organizations, Mexican drug cartels, and transnational gangs such as MS-13. Valdemar said he also worries about the activities of gang members in the U.S. military and the conversion of prison inmates to radical Islam.
One of the better attended classes at this year's POLICE-TREXPO was the "Distraction Device Instructor Certification Class." Instructor Larry Beresnoy presented a half-day class on the safe and effective use of a wide variety of flash-bang devices. The class concluded with a number of live demonstrations in the parking lot outside of the expo center.
The most unusual class at this year's POLICE-TREXPO was also the most disturbing. Titled "Electronic Armageddon," this class examined the effects of either natural or manmade electro-magnetic pulses (EMP) upon the American electrical infrastructure. Multiple presenters detailed how an EMP would destroy much of the country's electrical grid and immobilize its vehicles. The class discussed how a massive EMP could occur as part of a solar event or as nuclear terrorism or war. The presenters painted a dire picture of what could happen and how public safety personnel would be affected.
As always there were numerous hands-on classes at this year's POLICE-TREXPO.
Martial artist and lead instructor for Combined Combatives Al Giusto taught two classes during this year's conference. The first was a course on "Countering Edged Weapons" that was open only to instructors. The second was an edged weapons program open to all attendees. Giusto showed the students what to do and what not to do when facing an assailant who is attacking you with a blade. The moves taught by Giusto are simple and easy to apply under combat stress.
Police instructor and 25-year law enforcement veteran Kevin Dillon taught a course in his L.O.C.K.U.P. police combat technique. Dillon, who has demonstrated some of his defensive tactics concepts on PoliceMag.com, focused on not just responding to attacks but recognizing them before they happen. Officers were shown ways to defeat and control suspects whether working alone or with partners.