All seminars are located at the Kansas City Convention Center, unless otherwise noted.

Strategies to Keeping Law Enforcement Officers Safe

Monday, June 27, at 8:00am in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Sheriff (ret.) John Whetsel, NSA Traffic Safety Committee Chair

DESCRIPTION: Discussion of current officer safety issues and concerns with an emphasis on traffic related fatalities, which lead all categories of violent death. Particular concerns are struck-by and Move Over related fatalities and injuries that currently account for one half of all traffic-related deaths. Panel of subject matter experts and law enforcement leaders will discuss the current state of LEO fatalities, the potential correlation to an overall increase in roadway fatalities in recent years, and the various factors impacting officer safety.


Bulletproof Spirit: Trauma Recovery, Resilience, and Wellness

Monday, June 27, at 9:15am in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Dan Willis, / National Command College / International Academy of Public Safety

DESCRIPTION: This presentation details how our daily work traumas can not only injure an officer’s brain (causing post-traumatic stress and a host of other serious issues), but it can kill us (suicide – Officers’ annual #1 cause of death.) It provides several practical, proactive wellness and resilience strategies to strengthen officer resilience (and officer safety) and officer wellness; to enable recovery and to heal from traumas; and to enable professional, compassionate, and ethical service. It also discusses one of the most powerful treatments to heal from even the most severe trauma – EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing), which the instructor has experienced firsthand.


  • Attendees will gain an understanding of the nature of trauma – and how our daily work traumas can injure our brain and erode resilience.
  • Attendees will learn at least five evidence-based, practical wellness and resilience strategies to strengthen resilience and enhance fitness in mind, body, emotions, and spirit.
  • Attendees will learn about one of the most effective ways to heal from trauma

Building a Better Law Enforcement Mental Health Wellness Culture

Monday, June 27, at 10:30am in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: J. Mitchell Cunningham, Training Coordinator, Cape Fear Community College

DESCRIPTION: This presentation is based on a variety of sources to include the COPS Office 11 Case Studies of Police Agencies and a survey of relevant research sources. Attendees will learn about the neurological effects of trauma, effective treatment responses and ways to address a police culture resistant to mental health problems. These include reluctance to self report mental health problems, fear of confidentiality breaches, stigma around being considered “weak” and lack of knowledge about techniques ASICS as EMDR and Cognitive Behavior Therapy. Attendees will learn how to incorporate mental health experiences into hiring practices, promotional assessment centers and incentivize the agency to adopt mental health policies and awareness.

Physical Exercise and Emotional Resiliency

Tuesday, June 28, at 2:00pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: John Azar-Dickens, Ph.D., Police and Forensic Psychologist/Senior Instructor-Force Science Institute

DESCRIPTION: While the importance of physical exercise in law enforcement has long been discussed as important for the physical demands of the job and overall physical health, little is discussed about its role in emotional resiliency.  This seminar will focus on the impact of physical exercise on emotional resiliency in law enforcement officers.   Specifically, participants will learn how exercise impacts important neurochemicals associated not only with overall mood, but also its impact in helping officers build and maintain the emotional armor needed for officer wellness. The relationship between physical exercise and emotional wellness will be the central focus.  This will also include a focus on how exercise helps buffer officers against the inherent stress of law enforcement work.


  • Officers will learn about how physical exercise impacts neurotransmitters and other neurochemicals essential for emotional health.
  • Officers will learn about the important role of physical exercise and its relationship to emotional resiliency.
  • Officers will recognize the importance of physical exercise in not only reducing anxiety and depression issues, but also how exercise can serve a protective role in addressing the stressors of law enforcement work.

Safer Together: Strengthening the Foundations of Officer Safety and Wellness

Tuesday, June 28, at 3:15pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Vince Davenport, Associate Deputy Director, DOJ / Bureau of Justice Assistance; Sheriff Walt McNeil, Leon County (FL) Sheriff’s Office; Dan Hahn, Chief of Police (Ret.), BJA VALOR Program; and Chief (ret). John Bouthillette, Senior Research Associate/Manager, Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR)

DESCRIPTION: VALOR Safer Together is a bold new national strategy that recognizes and leverages the inextricable link between community trust and officer safety and wellness. It was developed in response to the events of the past two years to support officers and reinvigorate the ideals of community building. Among all safety and wellness factors, a healthy police-community climate may be one of the most important universal safeguards against the harmful stress and physical dangers that officers face.


  • Participants will learn how their interactions have reverberating results that can directly affect the safety and wellness of themselves and their fellow officers.
  • Participants will understand the challenges of changing the minds of community members and how trust comes down to visible and consistent actions over time.
  • Officers will be provided with proven strategies and value-added skills to foster trust during interactions.

Vicarious Trauma and the Path to Resilience

Tuesday, June 28, at 4:30pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Siobhan Seymour, Founder, Phoenix Resilience; and Marshall Spring, Founder, Phoenix Resilience 

DESCRIPTION: Instructors will share their personal stories of overcoming vicarious trauma, PTSD, TBI, survivors guilt, and suicidality and the processes they took to heal. Participants will learn about the impact that depression has on work productivity, acuity, temper and interpersonal relationships. This training is intended to assist participants in realizing the power of their own role in creating a culture of compassionate leadership in their agencies. This training will explore warning signs of acute depression and provide practical application exercises on supporting peers who are struggling.

We will provide techniques relevant to addressing suicidality interpersonally, with family, peers, subordinates, and on the job.

Further instruction will cover decision making, emotions, and general wellbeing. Participants will be taught about their nervous system and how to regulate it under stressful situations to help remain cognizant of the big picture and have access to more of their brain. Participants will also learn about useful mitigation tools that help decrease the impact of stress on the body and mind.

This presentation is focused around the science behind techniques such as gratitude, diet, movement, connection, and breath work. Participants can expect to leave empowered with knowledge around the efficacy of these tools as well as a framework on how to incorporate them into their daily lives.


  • The effects of stress and trauma on the body and mind.
  • Signs of acute depression, burnout and suicidality
  • Practical resilience models to assist with the mitigate of stress and trauma.

Combating Law Enforcement Suicide—Developing a Plan of Action

Wednesday, June 29, at 2:00pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Vince Davenport, Associate Deputy Director, DOJ / Bureau of Justice Assistance; Captain Brandon Post (Ret.), Senior Policy Associate, BJA Officer Safety and Wellness Program; and  Chief John Bouthillette (Ret.), Senior Research Association/Manager, Institute for Intergovernmental Research (IIR)

DESCRIPTION: The Department of Justice Suicide Awareness for Law Enforcement Officers (SAFLEO) mission is to heighten the awareness of suicide in law enforcement and prevent officer deaths by suicide. Effective suicide prevention training must be comprehensive in approach and focus on occupational risks and support from law enforcement agencies, colleagues, families, and friends. This goes beyond being an agency responsibility. We all must make this issue a priority; it could mean the difference between life and death.


  • A better understanding of the realities of the job and the risk factors that they create.
  • An increased understanding of how to develop healthy coping mechanisms that will assist them in dealing with the daily stressors associated with this job.
  • An increased understanding of how to access and use the resources that are available, both within and outside their agencies.

The Pathfinder Initiative: Focusing on the Safest Possible Outcomes for Everyone through Communication, Listening, Understanding, and Empathy.

Wednesday, June 29, at 3:15pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Todd Kessler, Corporal, Bucks County (PA) Sheriff’s Office; and Dr. Christi M. Smith, Fellow, Criminal Justice and Civil Liberties, R Street Institute

DESCRIPTION: The Pathfinder Initiative demonstrates the different paths available to law enforcement when responding to the dynamic needs of mental health consumers, individuals in crisis, juveniles and even our fellow officers. Law enforcement officers are faced with enormous challenges every day. Our responses to those challenges will determine the way we are perceived by the communities we serve. Now, more than ever, we need to train our mind to be better prepared to handle whatever life throws our way! You can’t control what the world gives you, but you can control how you respond.

In the current era of global illness, conflict and divisiveness in the community, mental health, substance abuse, and law enforcement distrust are on the rise. Similarly, officer wellness has never been more vital, as many departments report significant increases in staff burnout and related turnover, coupled with recruitment and retention challenges. Officers and the departments they work for are financially, physically and emotionally stretched beyond their limits. In order to ensure the safety and well-being of officers and the citizens they serve, physical and emotional health must be an individual and organizational priority.


  • How recognizing signs and symptoms of our emotional and mental health, as well as the emotional and mental health of our consumers, will lead to safer outcomes for Law Enforcement
  • How officers have the ability to control their responses by recognizing our emotions
  • How Law Enforcement can rebuild the trust in our communities through communication, listening, understanding, and empathy
  • The three dimensions of burnout
  • Individual, departmental and community costs of burnout
  • Acute and long-term stress and burnout mitigation strategies

The Top 15 LESSONS Learned in Psychological Survival

Wednesday, June 29, at 4:30pm in Room 2207

PRESENTERS: Dr. Troy Rodgers, Police Psychologist, Public Safety Psychology Group

DESCRIPTION: Over the last 20 years I have had the unique opportunity to work alongside and with hundreds of officers, deputies, supervisors, sheriff’s, and chiefs in their quest to provide support, protection, and leadership in their communities.  During that time, I have been allowed to see behind the curtain at what really happens to the emotional and psychological health of our first responders.  This class is a summary of the LESSONS Learned (both positive and negative) from those encounters and from the mouths of the first responders themselves.  It is designed as an interactive session which will provide guidelines on how to survive a public safety career and flourish in the midst of the chaos.

Leadership will be addressed to further the impact of these techniques and ideas.


  • To provide both public safety leaders and officers/deputies with 15 career saving tips to live by.
  • To identify red flags for emotional struggles.
  • To provide ways to mitigate the psychological damage often possible in a public safety career.
  • To have a candid discussion regarding resiliency and peak performance.