IADLEST 2016 Conference Update

More than 240 law enforcement executives gathered June 5-8, 2016 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, for intensive training, information sharing, fellowship and business networking during a conference hosted by the International Association of Directors of Law Enforcement Standards and Training (IADLEST). Attendees represented 42 states throughout the USA, as well as representatives from 14 other countries, including Albania, Algeria, Bosnia, the Dominican Republic, Lebanon, Philippines, Nigeria, Nepal, Mexico, Colombia, Kosovo, Indonesia, South Africa and Pakistan.


The conference is held annually to educate members and guests concerning the latest training methods, equipment and policies used at numerous police academies and other agencies to train all levels of law enforcement officers. IADLEST is an international association for the directors and administrators of law enforcement training facilities.

IADLEST Executive Director Michael N. Becar said the organization is known for being the catalyst for law enforcement improvement and each year the annual conference showcases that commitment by focusing on the most pressing issues for training managers and executives. This year, the IADLEST Conference in Grand Rapids, MI brought together fellow law enforcement executives, training managers, Police Officers Standards & Training (POST) directors and academy directors for a comprehensive 4-day program that featured:

  • Keynote Speakers with Panel Discussions

  • Training classes including the latest innovations on law enforcement training and technology as well as specifically designed training classes for POST Directors, Academy Directors and law enforcement trainers.

Scheduled round-table discussions to exchange ideas and experiences regarding standards, certifications, and course development. Attendees participated in their choice of the following round-table discussions: tactical issues, legal issues, educational issues and/or POST issues.

  • Social activities, such as the President’s Welcome Reception and an off-site dinner with entertainment and a live auction to raise funds for the Special Olympics. IADLEST donated all proceeds from the auction to the Michigan Special Olympics, which raised in excess of $3,100.

Exhibits showcasing state of the art products from more than 20 companies, organizations and government agencies featuring their latest products, services, programs, and/or publications.

  • Networking with some of the states’ leading law enforcement standards and training directors, academy managers, and other law enforcement trainers from throughout the USA and around the world.


The conference opened Sunday, June 5, at the elegant Amway Grand Plaza in downtown Grand Rapids. The day’s schedule included conference registration from 10am-1pm, a Personnel Committee meeting, the IADLEST Executive Board meeting and the President’s Welcome Reception that evening. Held in the hotel’s Imperial Ballroom, those attending the reception enjoyed hors d’oeuvres while socializing and networking.

Monday’s agenda kicked off with a private breakfast to welcome all new POST Directors and Academy Directors. The main meeting convened at 8am with the opening ceremonies and introduction of the morning’s keynote speakers: Matt Tomasic and Octavio “Chato” Villalobos, street cops for the Kansas City, Missouri, Police Department and partners in a relatively new program they helped jumpstart to address quality of life issues for neighborhood residents and improve relations between the residents and law enforcement officers.

Officer Tomasic is a 22-year veteran of the police department and a lifelong Kansas City resident and Kansas City Royals fan. After entering the police department, Matt spent a few years in patrol and then six years working as an undercover narcotics detective. In 2002, Matt took an assignment in community policing to work at the Westside Community Action Network (CAN) Center. In 2003, an effort to address neighborhood quality of life issues began on Kansas City’s Westside, resulting from a massive increase in migrant men. Matt started The Day Labor Center at the Westside Can Center, along with his civilian counterpart, Lynda Callon. The result of that approach was a 56% reduction in 911 calls for emergency service and a drastic increase in the quality of life for neighborhood residents. The relationship between the Westside community and the KCPD has never been stronger.

Officer Villalobos, or “Chato” is a 15-year veteran of the KCPD and has spent the last 10 years in Community Policing at the Westside Can Center and also worked in fraud investigation, assault squad and patrol. Tomasic and Villalobos were recently recognized with a proclamation from the Kansas City Mayor regarding the work they do with the Westside and immigrant communities through community policing. Under the leadership of Officers Tomasic and Villalobos, a Kansas City neighborhood has come back to life, and the hard work of these officers has not gone unnoticed. They, as well as the Westside CAN Center, were featured recently in the public television documentary, “Homeland: Immigration to America” in July 2012. Their work has also been featured in Al Jezeer America and the New York Times.

Attendees were treated to a special appearance in the afternoon session Monday when New York City First Deputy Police Commissioner Benjamin B. Tucker spoke on the NYPD Community Partner Program. Commissioner Tucker was appointed as NYPD's First Deputy Police Commissioner in November 2014. Commissioner Tucker joined the NYPD family in November 1969 when he was 18 years old. He was sworn in then as a police officer trainee and now holds the assignment that is second in command of the nation’s largest police force with a uniformed strength just shy of 35,000 officers, plus several thousand more in support staff.

The New York City Police Department recently began to expand its highly successful Community Partner Program, a newly created initiative which emerged from the mutual desire of police officers and community members for safer communities. By getting to know members of the community and the problems they face, the police are able to take the role of problem solver. Emphasis is placed on solving problems, not enforcing them. As a part of the Community Partner Program, officers learn about the physical, social, and historical characteristics of the neighborhoods they patrol. They learn about the specific problems that face the residents and business people, and become acquainted with community leaders and social organizations.

Community Partners are volunteers who collaborate with the local police to help officers understand what members of the public are looking for in their police. The Community Partners introduce officers to the people who make up the community and officers are encouraged to take the time to stop and talk to the public they serve and continue to build those relationships after the initial introductions are made. By building these relationships, officers learn what problems face the community, as well as gain an insight into what problem solving approaches are most appropriate.

Attendees learned how the New York City Police Department, which has a recent history of encouraging enforcement over engagement, has transitioned to become ingrained in the communities it serves. An emphasis is placed on the individual officers having a positive presence in the community, rather than being considered a negative force.

The IADLEST conference sessions continued Tuesday and Wednesday with break-out training sessions and a live auction that raised more than $3,100 for the local Special Olympics chapter. The organization also elected new officers for the 2017 fiscal year and outgoing IADLEST President David Harvey, of the
Michigan Commission on Law Enforcement Standards, turned the gavel over to the newly-elected incoming President, Brian Grisham, who heads up the Tennessee Law Enforcement Training Academy. Other board members and officers were duly elected and sworn in during Tuesday’s business meeting. International training classes also were provided throughout the four-day conference.

IADLEST 2017 Conference
May 21-24, 2017
Nashville, Tennessee

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