On March 12, 2009 I attended the European Police Trainer Conference in Nurnberg, Germany sponsored by the Polizeitrainer in Deutschland (Police Trainers of Germany).
The conference started exactly at 0900 hours. Immediately following the welcoming address a one minute of silence was observed for those victims who lost their lives in the school massacre of the previous day, March 11, 2009. Approximately 300 law enforcement officers and military personnel from all over the world bowed their heads and remained in silence for one minute, me included.
The first word of warning of the conference began with a few words on the Mumbai, India terrorist attacks. The speaker warned that Germany, and the rest of the European Union, was ripe for a similar attack. He said, “Terrorist attacks like Mumbai are quite feasible anywhere in the European Union.” A few recent German police cases, such as the Rondoff and Bremen (2008), were given to illustrate that many young radical Islamic men are planning and carrying out their own self-initiated Jihad against German police officers and the United States military.
The second course, titled A SPONTANEOUS HOSTAGE TAKING taught by Bernd Pokojewski, was very informative. The most important point made was when he said, “Every special unit, as well as patrol officers, must be prepared for the suspect to take a hostage.” He contributes this to the “cornered animal syndrome” in which an animal when cornered turns around and attacks because the survival instincts are aroused.
Mr. Schmidt covered the physiological effect of conflict and how to make training as close to real life as possible. The teaching was in line with American Lieutenant Colonel David Grossman (retired United States Army) who wrote the widely read book ON KILLING, which I highly recommend to all of my Reality-Based Personal Protection students in my Level 1 courses. The session also covered tactical communication and never giving up a duty weapon.
The next course of instruction was very informative about THE STOCKWELL SHOOTING by Inspector Mike McBride of the Cheshire Police in the United Kingdom. This was the incident that was investigated by the IPCC (Independent Police Complaints Commission) where the London Metropolitan Police shot and killed a suspected suicide bomber on July 22, 2005. It turned out that he was innocent, but based upon the information the police had at the time, some miscommunication, and some strange behavior by the victim, this was a tragic situation that many lesson have been drawn from.
Next was PREPARATION FOR OFF DUTY ENCOUNTERS presented by John T. Meyer, Jr.
A couple of times I had been involved in off duty encounters when I was with the Costa Mesa Police Department (1988 to 1999), so I could identify with this course. Although my police academy had covered this subject (Orange County Sheriff’s Training Academy Class 104) Meyer went into great detail about situational awareness, non verbal communication, family member disengagement, decision making (to get involved in an incident or not), means of identification, off duty equipment, and tactical engagement.
Just before lunch was a lecture called DECISION MAKING UNDER FIRE taught by Steve Johnson, President of the International Association of Firearms Instructors. The subject matter covered conditions in cognitions, the Limbic System of the human body, and autogentic breathing in a tactical situation .
The following course and demonstration was RAPID BUILDING ENTRY FOR PATROL OFFICERS taught by Ty Weaver of Blackhawk. More and more police agencies are having breaching tools placed in patrol cars for emergency situations when there is not enough time to wait for a SWAT team.
Weaver showed the actual tools and demonstrated how they worked for mechanical breaching. This was a condensed version of a three day school that he teaches. This subject comprised most of the course, but Weaver also spoke on Explosive Breaching as well.
At the IWA 2009 Law Enforcement event I also had a chance to get some hands-on training in breaching common European Union doors. The boys at Gransfors Sweden showed me the tools, gave me detailed instructions, gave a couple of demonstrations and then let me pop open their Training Door. This was a valuable lesson because many European doors and door frames are made differently than North American doors. For example, in Sweden 80% of all home doors swing outward to the exterior, as opposed to inward in California where I am from. Also giving me further instructions was Jonny Mohlen of Gransfors Sweden that makes quality breaching tools. The breaching tools he showed me are also sold by Blackhawk.
The next lecture was given by Dr. Martin Lory of the Zurich Police, Switzerland (Wissenschaflicher Dienst der Stadtpolitzei Zurich) teaching on THE TASER DEVELOPMENTS AND FIELD EXPERIENCE IN SWITZERLAND. His agency has conducted both training procedures and medical research on Taser products independent of the Taser company. The entire lecture was about their findings.
In Dr. Lory’s opinion he believes the Taser is one of the best tools available to police officers. He said, “It is the most effective less-lethal tool with the least amount of danger.”
The final course of the day that I attended was THE USE OF LESS LETHAL DEVICES IN FRANCE by Harald Wilmin of the National Police School of Roven-Oissel. Projectile impact weapons, chemical irritants, and electromagnetic waves.
I enjoyed the conference both for the courses that I took and meeting with some of my good friends from the German Army with the WSV-Einsatztechniker (Military Police Unarmed Combatives Instructors), some of whom are my students, and German police friends. I also had the opportunity to meet many soldiers of the United States Army who are stationed in Germany. A couple of Military Police units were quite interested in me training them.
Copyright Jim Wagner 2003 - 2021 All rights reserved.