JOINT BASE LANGLEY-EUSTIS, Va. --
The Federal Bureau of Investigation hosted a Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted conference Aug. 9.
The LEOKA conference provided Hampton Roads’ local and military law enforcement officers’ training, life-saving tips and networking to improve their readiness within the community.
“Allowing the group to co-mingle and enjoy the atmosphere can be an advantage for the community,” said Special Agent Michael Freeman, FBI training coordinator. “A lot of crime is multijurisdictional and having a partnership between officers could lead to more arrests and safer streets.”
With more than 250 Hampton Roads law enforcement participants, attendees such as Officer Shardae Guest, Department of the Air Force police officer, said she learned a great deal about officer safety through the experiences of the civilian law enforcement.
“Civilian officers encounter more complex situations on a regular basis than we do on military installations,” Guest said. “Even though we are in law enforcement, a majority of our officers are focused on installation security, so having this opportunity to learn how to keep our officers and community safe was truly beneficial for our team.”
Along with sharing local stories, the numerous participants were introduced to case studies and videos of offenders who critically assaulted law enforcement officers.
“When we interview offenders, we are looking for the ‘why,’” said Philip Wright, FBI LEOKA training instructor and liaison specialist. “In understanding offender’s mindsets, we can save the lives of our officers.”
Another dynamic covered was attention to detail. According to Wright, lack of such can lead to complacency in tasks such as handcuffing, noting officers just expect offenders to comply with an arrest, which puts officers at the most risk.
“The perception of safety feeds into complacency,” Wright said. “Officers need to invest time into their safety, take training seriously and remember everything they do is for their family. This is the best way to save lives -- especially their own.”
Since participating in the conference, Guest said she has become more observant and taking her time to think situations through completely while on-and-off duty. She also noted the training opened her eyes to parts of her job that could use improvement, such as practicing foot pursuits and how to de-escalate hostile situations.
“As officers, we have to understand that we control the pace of the situation,” Guest said. “This training just reminded me to take the time to think each situation through thoroughly and be constantly aware of people’s actions.”