Officers and Trainers Hone Skills, Learn New Techniques at ILEETA

Choosing what class to attend at ILEETA is like walking down the hallway of the theater ready to see a movie yet along the way you pass three others you really want to see as well but all are showing at the same time.

Wayne Parham Headshot Headshot


The 2022 International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) Conference & Expo in St. Louis, MO, this week is delivering a variety of training content, and fresh information so I found it hard to pick which classes to visit. It reminds me of being a kid and going to the movie theater. ILEETA is like walking down the hallway of the theater ready to see a movie yet along the way you pass three others you really want to see as well but all are showing at the same time.

I spent time in several classes/sessions yesterday. Here's a look at some of them.

4 Easy Takedowns all Cops Should Know

In this class, Charles “Bill” Anders provided instruction and then even added in a fifth, bonus, takedown technique. Anders holds master rank in two martial arts, taekwondo and Ryukyu Kempo. He is certified by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board and is the head instructor of Officer Safety Academy, LLC.  Anders serves as a special deputy for the Noble County Sheriff’s Department (IN) and was assisted in the class by Noble County Chief Deputy Chief Deputy Brian A. Walker. A mixture of officers ranging from a representative from the Spartanburg (SC) Police Department  to a Pittsburg, PA, constable learned new takedowns with Anders simplifying the techniques to the fewest moves possible.

Anders was gracious to take a few minutes with me after the class wrapped up and I was curious to learn just how his techniques differ from what most officers already know.

“They may have these, but I would be surprised though because generally speaking what we have found over the years is that the defensive tactics come directly from martial arts and most of the time they are more complicated, more complex, than what we are talking about here,” Anders says.

Anders and Walker first taught a simple head-turn takedown with a quarter turn from the front and then shifted gears slightly and taught a head-turn takedown from behind.

“The reason that we turn the head is because where the head goes the body follows,” he explains, as he details “hugging the head” to keep it close to your body and making a simple 90-degree turn.

The third takedown he taught he dubs the “lazy man takedown.”

“It is so simple,” Anders said. “I have never taught that and had anybody say, 'We learned that in the academy.'”

This is a takedown best used on a subject facing away from you with hands on a booking counter, front of a patrol car, or in a similar body position. With Anders’ technique, an officer grasps the subject and tucks his head close to the person’s body (preventing an elbow strike to the officer’s head) and then uses his own body weight to take the individual easily to the floor. Basically, for the officer, it is almost a sitting down move.

His fourth takedown was an arm bar, with a slight variation. Anders said he has often seen officers learn the wrong way to perform an arm bar takedown. With his version, Anders teaches it in simple form but kicks off the takedown with a quick strike and forearm move to the back of the suspect's upper arm as a distraction move before the arm bar.

With four takedowns completed and a few minutes left at the end of the session, Anders threw in a bonus takedown. For it, he taught how use the ear and the pressure points behind the ear to initiate a head turn leading into the quarter-turn takedown the attendees had learned earlier.

“It goes so quick that they will go down before you have a chance to get your other hand up there,” Anders said.

Although I ended my day with the excitement of all the takedowns, there were other slower-paced but really interesting classes earlier.

Chaos to Cohesion

At the start of the day, I listened to Stephen W. Entemen, of Code 4 Specialists, talk about leadership in a session he calls " Chaos to Cohesion: Building a Successful Team in the Private Sector." Entemen retired from the Arizona Department of Public Safety as a captain in 2016 and moved into the new private-sector career. He shared some leadership and management examples from that new career.

Entemen was called in to assist with a private security firm that was having ongoing problems with management and security staff at a high-end gated community. The 45-person private security team was led by a supervisory group comprised of one captain, one lieutenant, three full-time sergeants and two part-time sergeants.

When he was tasked to find solutions, he soon learned the challenges were complex. There were scheduling complications, no plans to mitigate overtime, toxic talk among the staff, favoritism, no onboarding process, no consistent communication from the manager to the team, inconsistent training, a lack of leadership, and the big problem – an ongoing pattern of the security officers calling in and not reporting to work. Just in his initial week of observations, there were seven “call offs” in a 24-hour period. That meant staffing problems for the team when many did not take reporting to work seriously.

Once he was picked up at one of the security gates by a sergeant and as they were riding together Entemen learned the sergeant, a supervisor, did not even know the name of the security officers working the gates. The retired Arizona DPS captain had his hands full but chipped away and built a new culture and shaped a team.

In shaping that change, he established regular communication with the team, explained the “why” behind things they needed to do in their work duties, created an onboarding process, and crafted ways to meet people’s (the staff) needs such as scheduling time off.

He also established calculated discipline. Small infractions, for which staff previously had threats of numerous related disciplinary actions looming over their heads, were left alone. However, call offs and unapproved absences were dealt with – first through a series of write ups and ultimately through termination. The security staff soon became more dependable as far as reporting for duty.

Entemen also created public recognition within the staff, such as pinning ceremonies for supervisors and each field training officer (FTO).

Also, as the new team took shape, the staff learned their leadership was listening and becoming responsive. If a vehicle was broken, it was now repaired. If a computer was problematic, it would be fixed.

Entemen’s presentation may have not been as dramatic or physical as watching officers learn new take downs, however it was fascinating to see the steps implemented by a veteran lawman and trainer as he drove change and turned around a problematic private security operation.

Dave Wright, chief master instructor for TASER training, demonstrates a technique with the assistance of Zach Zigterman, of the Plainfield (IL) Police Department.Dave Wright, chief master instructor for TASER training, demonstrates a technique with the assistance of Zach Zigterman, of the Plainfield (IL) Police Department.

TASER Retention/Managing Distance.

Dave Wright, chief master instructor for TASER training, led the class in high-energy, engaging fashion.

He stressed teaching how to manage distance, when to penetrate versus keeping distance, transitional use of force (UOF) as it relates to disputes, how to not allow your less-lethal devices to slow your reaction and recognition of deadly force, and more. Wright taught about slowing things down through distance and the need for an officer to watch a subject’s hands, pointing out the need to be watching the hands even while maintaining distance. He also stressed reality-based training and the need to train in the environment in which you work.

Wright and volunteer Zach Zigterman, of the Plainfield Police Department (IL), demonstrated how to keep training fun, challenging, and a little competitive as they matched high-speed hand taps to the knee, arm, side, and other spots and rapid blocks and reactions to each other. The class quickly caught on to Wright’s point.

When the class took a break, I had a chance to talk with Wright and asked what he wanted the attendees to take away from his class.

“Really training is first and foremost the responsibility of the officers themselves. They need to do stuff, take care of their physical fitness and training,” Wright says. “The second is the law enforcement agencies, from the government officials to the chief and everybody below, are responsible for making sure they have a well-trained police officer out in the field.”

Even though Wright is a trainer for TASER, he sees a bigger picture as he teaches officers to prepare for many variables when dealing with subjects and possible confrontation. Wright says he teaches when they should go to TASER, when they should go to pepper spray, when they should go to the baton, when to use force and how much to use, and more.

“My bottom line to me, personally, is I worry about the officer,” Wright says.

Michael Johnson, an instructor with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, talks about choosing a light in his Diminished Light Handheld and Weapon Light Skills class.Michael Johnson, an instructor with the Palm Beach County Sheriff's Office, talks about choosing a light in his Diminished Light Handheld and Weapon Light Skills class.

Diminished Light Handheld and Weapon Light Skills

To contrast where patrol light technology is now to where it was when he first became a law enforcement officer, instructor Michael Johnson from the Palm Beach County (FL) Sheriff's Office, started by pointing out he first carried an Eveready Watchman years ago. Nobody in the room really knew how many lumens that light had back in the day, but all knew it was dim compared to today’s options on the market.

He walked the class through decisions each will make when selecting a handheld light. One key choice is the selection of a design with a momentary switch for instant on versus one that clicks on and remains illuminated. Johnson pointed out a light with the momentary switch means “you control it” while one that clicks and stays on means “it controls you.” Seemingly nobody in the room favored the later choice of being controlled by their light.

He walked through the debate of battery-powered versus rechargeable lights, showing that each has advantages but also disadvantages. Likewise, choosing between a bulb or LED light source again means the two options will have both advantages and disadvantages in different situations. Yes, the old-fashioned non-LED bulb does have a few advantages such as better penetration through smoke or fog because it is a hard light and LED is a soft light, Johnson explains.

Johnson says when looking for a handheld light he wants a really bright hot spot and a really good and precise corona (the illuminated area from the outer edge of the hot spot to the edge of visible light) with a nice width.

As far as lumens, Johnson suggests anything between 300 and 900.

His tips for selecting weapon-mounted lights pretty much fell along the same lines as picking a handheld light, however, he talked about the differences between one mounted on a handgun and one mounted on a rifle. This brought the discussion of the light’s throw (distance) into the picture. For a handgun, Johnson suggests one with a good throw to 50 yards. For a rifle, he suggests 100 yards.

He transitioned part of the way through the class to move from the characteristics of a good light to talking about utility flashlight techniques and how procedures were first developed decades ago by the FBI. The initial FBI teachings, according to Johnson, were crafted by agents who back in the day were accountants and lawyers in the 1930s and 1940s. Those early techniques placed the light above the officer’s head, illuminating the sights and the subject but also making an officer an easy target.

He moved on to discuss, and with a volunteer’s assistance demonstrate, the more modern 90/90/10-degree FBI technique. The volunteer demonstrated how with the 10-degree wrist angle it can become instinctive to aim the light quickly at a specific point. Johnson also touched on the neck index technique and suggested an easy modification for the contact point to be at the side of the officer’s head. Again, a volunteer showed how easily this can be instinctive.

The instructor also discussed how to incorporate using a handheld light in Harries fashion, showing a slight modification and saying he uses his watchband as an anchor point of contact for the support side. As the session wound down, Johnson demonstrated several support grip techniques that can be used to hold the light and activate the switch.

He talked about handheld lights. He talked about weapon mounted lights. Then he stressed “Utility light is for searching. Weapon-mounted light is for shooting.”

As he closed the class, Johnson reminded the attendees he had demonstrated how easily an officer can train in the different handheld light techniques and challenged them to commit 10 minutes per month to drilling and practice.

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