Annual Conference

The Annual NAFTO Conference in Tulalip, Washington has concluded.

The Washington State Chapter of NAFTO hosted the 2015 National Conference.  There was some outstanding training at the 2015 National Conference. The training was designed to apply to Field Training Officers and Field Trainers who work in Patrol, Detention, Communications, Support Services, and EMT/Paramedics.

Greetings; I just wanted to take a minute and thank all of you and your agencies for such a great turn out for the 2015 NAFTO National Conference.  It has been many years since I have seen such numbers at the National conference. 

As most of you are aware the conference was held in the State of Washington.  I am pleased to announce there was a representative from every county in the state of Washington present at the conference!  We had 150 members, both current and new members, registered for the conference.  This includes  the NAFTO executive board and guest instructors.  The banquet saw an impressive 160 which included membership guests and speakers.  The Sheriff of Snohomish County Ty Trenery and Chief of Police for Marysville, Rick Smith provided insightful and heartfelt words prior to the banquet presentation.  Thank you to both Sheriff Trenary and Chief Smith!

WA-NAFTO also presented long time Executive Board member, Virgil McDonald  of the Seattle Police Department, with a plaque honoring his dedicated service to the Washington Chapter of NAFTO. 

It was an honor to host other state members as well as our neighbor to the north; Canada!  

I would like to thank LAPD’s Sergeant JoAnn Brown for nominating LAPD Officer Richard Melendez for Master FTO.  Richard was also selected by the Executive Board to receive the 2015 FTO of the Year Award.  Congratulations Richard! It was great to have them here and with Sgt. Browns’ help and persuasion, the Los Angeles Police Department may soon be a member of NAFTO.  LAPD currently has approximately 700 FTOs!

Congratulations are also in order for another California Police Officer for receiving the Master FTO Award.  Santa Ana Police Corporal Brett Nelson received the honor of Master FTO at the 2015 National Conference during the banquet. 

Not only did Brett receive the Master FTO award, but he was nominated and elected to the National Executive Board of NAFTO as Position Member-at-Large (B).  Good luck Brett!

Another Executive Board position was filled this year as well.  Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Doug St. Denis was elected to the Executive Board as well.  He holds the Member-at-Large (A) position.   Doug also serves as the webmaster for the NAFTO website and consults for the chapter websites.  – Doug things only get easier!

Thank you to those who took the time to complete the conference evaluations.  These are very important and we learned a lot of valuable lessons from the evaluations.  

Los Angeles Police Department’s Sergeant Odel’s class on Incident Command and Control seemed to be the most popular class of the conference!  A close second was Attorney Bob Christie’s class; “FTO on the Stand.”  Interestingly enough I instructed a Basic FTO Academy the following week.  Two of my students attended the conference and stated what an impression this conference left on them.. “The importance of fair, consistent and objective documentation.”  One officer commented that he would not be “Officer Savell”. 

All the other classes were also very well received and appreciated with only a few negative comments.

The Executive Board is already planning for the 2016 conference which will be held in Chandler Arizona in 2016.  The Colorado Chapter is looking to host the 2017 National Conference. 

Here in Washington State we are also beginning preparations for our state conference which will be held in March 2016, a mere 8 months away. 

Last and certainly not least, I would like to welcome the State of New Jersey as a new state chapter to the National Association of Field Training Officers.  I look forward to attending a National Conference in the Garden State!

I truly hope all those who attended the National Conference enjoyed themselves both during the conference and during some of the other activities.  I am very interested to hear your thoughts.  Please feel free to send me an e-mail at

Stay safe!

Dave Harris
Immediate Past President – NAFTO
Director – WA-NAFTO