2018 Washington State Chapter Conference Wrap-Up
I just wanted to take a few minutes to thank all of you who attended the 2018 WA-NAFTO State Conference. All-in-all it was a huge success. Recognizing some of the conflicts associated with this year’s scheduling issues, we had close to 80 attendees. These numbers do reflect a slight drop compared to last year.
Based on comments provided by some of you the presenters we very well received. Listening to the importance of teamwork and just how powerful your willingness to literally “stand” by a fellow officer in their time of need was powerful. Sgt. Paul Meyer’s, with the Portland Police Bureau, story is one that made all of us take a moment and reflect on just lucky we are. His struggle to come back to work after suffering a life-threatening, life-changing injury was remarkable.
For those of you who do not know Sgt. Paul Meyer, 47, beat the odds since his Nov. 19, 2012, accident, when a 110-foot tree snapped and fell on his head and upper back while he was doing ATV training drills with police on a remote part of Hayden Island. The blow cracked his helmet.
He returned to work part time 9½ months after the accident, confined to a wheelchair but working in the Police Bureau’s armory, repairing firearms, researching best police training practices and writing classroom instruction on use of force. About a year and a half later, he returned to work full time, assigned to the training division.
One of the things I took away from his testimony, was the fact that none of his message focused on him. Rather, on how grateful he was to be surrounded by those who cared for him and his family; he was consistently trying to say thank you to others. His message reminded us that our dedication and support to each other, the fact that because he knew he and his family would be cared for, no matter what happened, by his agency and his peers, aided in his ability to recover and ultimately return to work. Wow – it was a great presentation.
The second day featured two of Marysville officers who were first to arrive on October 24th, 2014 when a 15-year old student opened fire, killing 4 and seriously injuring another before taking his own life. Their story of how responding to these types of events has a long-term effect not only on you, but an entire community. How important it is to seek assistance when needed, offer assistance to those in need, and always be ready to be the one who recognizes when a brother or sister may need you to be that friend in need.
We had four break-out sessions dealing with Enhancing you FTO Skills, FTO Management, Evaluating S/O Performance and Common Errors on evaluation documentation.
We closed with Seattle Officer Steve Redmond founder of CODE-4 Northwest – “One call, A Community of Support.” His efforts have saved countless first responders, their jobs, families, and their lives. Their focus is confidential crisis response and referral for first responders who struggle with issues dealing with PTSD, Peer support, and drug/alcohol treatment. We were reminded of the number of self-inflicted casualties our brothers and sisters have suffered as a result of believing they have no where to turn. A powerful reminder of the responsibility we have to look out for ourselves, our own health and wellbeing.
I decided to run for one more term as your Director and was humbled by your supporting votes. I look forward to 2019 and plan on meeting with our Executive Board next month to begin working on our 2019 conference.
Treasurer, Officer Stephen Showalter also “agreed” to stay on for another term. Thank you Stephen!
Area Liaison Commander Mark Thomas of Marysville Police has decided to step down after serving WA-NAFTO for more than 10 years. Commander Thomas has been very active and supportive of WA-NAFTO over the years but it at a point in his career where his plate just cannot hold anything else.
Officer Brandon Lawrenson, interestingly enough also works with Marysville (how did that happen Commander?) “agreed” to step up and fill the spot. I have worked with Brandon on several FTO Schools and believe he will be an asset to our Board – Welcome aboard Brandon!
We are really excited that we were able to secure a date for next year’s conference. Thanks to Gregg Knapp, Commander Leibman and Assistant CJTC Director Rex Caldwell, 2019 conference will be March 11th & 12th.
As mentioned, if you have some comments on this past conference or suggestions on how we can improve your conference in 2019, please send me a message.
Please check our website during the year for updates.
2018 National Conference
We will be in Shreveport, Louisiana the week of June 27th – 29th, 2108. Lots of great topics designed to provide some updates and refresher classes to improve your skills as a trainer.
Great opportunity to meet other trainers from around the country and see what issues they experience, how they deal with many of the same struggles we experience here in the Pacific Northwest.
Get registered now! Hope to see you there.
Sgt. David J. Harris
Director – WA-NAFTO
Lynnwood Police Department