Setting high standards for instruction, competency, documentation and positive regard are common goals of education and business entities. Few, however, get it right, and even fewer survive the test of time. Monadnock Lifetime Products
, best known for quality police batons, was one of the first in the world providing law enforcement with excellent products, support and standardized training.
Although all use-of-force instructors have their personal preferences regarding training and less-lethal weapons, few can argue that Monadnock has not defined the proverbial “bar” for high standards in training. Monadnock is now owned by BAE Systems Product Group, the third largest worldwide defense contractor. BAE continues to evolve to develop quality products and training for “those who protect us,” which was evident by the success of this annual conference.
The 28th Monadnock International Conference was held in Lowell, MA. More than 35 staff members from around the world facilitated the Boston-are training for more than 130 participants seeking certification or recertification in PR-24, Straight Baton, the Monadnock Defensive Tactic System or Defense Technology Aerosol OC Instructor courses.
Interestingly, although about half of the 130 attendees were instructors seeking recertification; those remaining were new instructor candidates. Of those new instructors, nearly two-thirds were seeking PR-24 certification, which could indicate resurgence in the popularity of the PR-24 as a control and restraining device. More Than Just Baton Training
According to Dave Stanton, international instructor and Advisory Board member, the strength of the Monadnock programs is that the training methodology has moved past unconnected individual skills and into a realm of linking all defensive tactics. The “protect and restrain” philosophy professed by Monadnock instructors has now evolved to “O.S.C.—overcome, stabilize to cuffing.” Instructors are encouraged to instruct and test their students employing realistic stressors and conditions.
During my evaluation of the breakout sessions, instructors were learning how to better instruct and evaluate their students in confined spaces, on the ground, in stairwells, cars and even toilet stalls! Although static training was used to develop the basic skills of the students, once basic proficiency was established, they were instructed to immediately monitor the response of the subject, and evaluate options of disengagement or application of linked skills to overcome resistance and handcuff. While speaking with staff member Doug Sprague about this change in evaluation compared to that of the past he said, “Linking all the skills is the proficiency.”
The Daily Routine
The Monadnock Seminar actually starts on a Sunday so that attendees can benefit from reduced transportation costs. The six-day conference format consists of four days of Monadnock Expandable Baton or Pr-24 programs, two days of Monadnock Defensive Tactics System programs and one day of Defense Technology Aerosol OC Instructor Training. The instructional groups were divided into teams with the instructor-student ratio averaging 1 instructor per 5 participants.
Each training day generally started out with the entire group of participants and staff meeting in a large ballroom for Active Isolated Stretching Exercises with longtime international instructor Jerry Konrad, following which students would report to their individual breakout groups.
After lunch, the participants were often reunited for mini training sessions on topics such as “Men Training Women; Women Training Men,” by international instructor Kat Kelly or “Hindi Baton Cap & the Police Duty Belt Safety and Survival System” by staff instructor Robert Hindi. Both of these presentations were highly regarded in seminar evaluations.
Following dinner, participants had the opportunity to attend personal and professional growth certificate programs in topics such as: Instructor Development, Managing the Silver Screen, the Golden Age of the MEB, the Golden Age of the PR-24, First Responder Crowd Management, AutoLock Service Kit and Behavior Analysis Screening System.
Hall of Fame
Midweek during the conference, the Monadnock Advisory Board, along with the Program Manager Terry Smith unveiled a new distinction within the Monadnock family the Hall of Fame Award, recognizing individuals who have significantly contributed above and beyond the call of duty to their bother and sister officers. Hall of Fame Awards were presented in the names of:
Lon R. Anderson (Posthumously)—Master PR-24 Instructor and Developer of the PR-24
Richard E. Bearor (Posthumously)—Founding Advisory Board Member Craig H. Best (Posthumously)—Canadian International Instructor Robert (Coach) Lindsey—Founding Advisory Board Member
Edward J. Nowicki—Founding Advisory Board Member, Director of the International Law Enforcement and Educators Training Association Arthur N. Sapp—Founding Advisory Board Member
Larry H. Smith—Founding Advisory Board Member
Terry E. Smith—Program Training Manager for Monadnock and Founding Advisory Board Member
Paul D. Starrett—Founding Advisory Board Member and former President of Monadnock Lifetime Products
Joseph J. Truncale—Founding Advisory Board Member
John P. Vazquez—Founding Advisory Board Member
The Monadnock International Training Conference is a one-of-a-kind experience. The intimate student-to-instructor ratio allows for personal one-on-one training with some of the most phenomenal trainers in the world! It is more than techniques and procedures; it’s about networking and family. Although formal instruction, followed by certificate programs, generally end by 8 p.m., it is not unusual to find attendees working into the night sharing “spitballs of wisdom” in hallways and open conference rooms throughout the facility.
Not Just Work…Some Play
On the fourth day of the conference, international instructor Art Sapp, who is well known for his innovative training methods and devices, set up a Monadnock Skills Competition. Each team elected one representative from its group who proceeded to a physically challenging gauntlet of fitness, agility, baton and defensive tactic skills.
The competitors crawled, ran and fought through 10 stations reminiscent of Olympic and Roman Gladiator events. Participants cheered on their colleagues as they battled the station challenges that capitalized on endurance, fine and gross motor skills, ending with control arm restraints into a handcuffing position. When it was all said and done, the victor was Mark Cassola of the Essex County (MA) Sheriff’s Department.
The Bottom Line
Overall the intensity and realism of the training has greatly improved to adapt to a changing society where less-lethal options are now expected to be deployed by law enforcement personnel. Although every attendee quickly learns the fundamentals of instructing a program that has become the “standard” for excellence, the real assessment is the knowledge that they walk away with and can pass on to save lives.
What sets Monadnock instructors apart is that they pride themselves in the interaction between the instructor and student. Everyone is valued, regardless of body size, language barriers or personal assignment. Instructors are coached on how to deal with instructor-trainee interaction, time constraints, civil liability and, most important, threats to the personal and professional survival of law enforcement officers.
The Monadnock Training Council and Seminar staff members have done their homework to make the seminar an intense, realistic and enjoyable training event. For first-time attendees, this seminar will not place you in a room with a multitude of internationally recognized experts in officer survival; it will expose you to a network of brother and sister officers who truly “share” their lessons learned the hard way in the streets, courts and classrooms of the world.
The 29th Less Lethal Instructor Conference will be conducted in September of 2009 and will be advertised through law enforcement periodicals and other electronic media. For further information, consult the Monadnock Web site or contact Terry Smith at (800) 772-4872.
Guy Rossi is the former program coordinator of Curriculum Development for Law Enforcement Training Programs at the Public Safety Training Center of Monroe Community College (Rochester, NY) as well as a sergeant with the Rochester Police Department. Rossi is a Monadnock international instructor and New York State Bureau of Municipal Police Master instructor. He can be reached through his Web site at www.guyrossi.com.